A person who comes to the Internet for the first time will feel like a child in an amusement park. There are so many rides to choose from that he/she would not be able to decide where to go first. If you are an experienced web user, then you may know better where to look for information first, but you might still find yourself lost. Imagine how your grandparents feel when they sit in front of the computer.
Web ergonomics should be the hero of the day. The purpose of ergonomics is to make things better. Thus, the principles, when applied to web design, rearrange the Internet in a way that users will find surfing more accessible and more intelligible.
You will hear the word “efficiency” almost immediately after someone mentions web design ergonomics or ergonomics in general. They are not interchangeable, however, because efficiency is an element of ergonomics. Every part of a web ergonomics checklist should aim for user satisfaction and ease from top to bottom.
There are certain factors, call them criterions if you will, that a designer needs to take into account when developing a website or the web in general. Those are:
- Age – Nowadays, the users are as young as five years old and as old as they can get. A designer should know what kind of audience is going to look at the object of creation.
- Habits and knowledge – These two are somehow related to the age of the user, but not entirely. They define how experienced the user is and how well would he know his way around.
- Interests – Naturally, users go online for different reasons. Their lives will be made much easier if the web navigates them to the places they want to visit.
The Perfect Web Design
Now that we have the factors, we can make a checklist of essential characteristics and logistics, just like professional web designers. At first, they might seem obvious, but people do not recognize them when they surf the web. The basics of web design ergonomics should not grab your attention. Instead, they are the invisible signs that carry the efficiency of the Internet on their backs.
- The homepage should contain enough links and routes to take you to different pages. It is the first thing that a user sees, and it should be clear what it is there for – introduction and entry.
- The sections of the menu should be in the order of importance and easy to access. The menu itself needs to be clear, free from any unnecessary tabs.
- One of the web's most prominent traits is that it remembers what your preferences are. It gives you easy access to previous things you have looked at or to similar searches.
- All titles and settings must have simple names with apparent purposes. A confusing name leads to hesitation.
- The user should always know where he/she is and how to find the way back to either the homepage or the search engine.
- Predict the errors that might occur.
There are subsections to each of these key requirements, of course, but the basics are clear. If the web design leads the user to reach his/her goals, then the principles of ergonomics have been efficient.