Web 2.0 Design Guide

The list below is a summary of many of the common features being used on “Web 2.0” sites.

Clearly, a site doesn’t need to exhibit all these features to work well, and displaying these features doesn’t mean your site will look Web 2.0.

  1. Simplicity
  2. Central Layout
  3. Fewer Columns
  4. Separate Top Sections
  5. Solid Areas of Screen Real-estate
  6. Simple Navigation
  7. Bold Logos
  8. Bigger Text
  9. Bold Text Introductions
  10. Strong Colors
  11. Rich Surfaces
  12. Gradients
  13. Reflections
  14. Cute Icons
  15. Star Flashes

Source: http://2-0.net

Interesting facts about Google

Some interesting facts about user experience at Google

  1. The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn’t know HTML and just wanted a quick interface. Infact it was noted that the submit button was a long time coming and hitting the RETURN key was the only way to burst Google into life.
  2. Due to the sparseness of the homepage, in early user tests they noted people just sitting looking at the screen. After a minute of nothingness, the tester intervened and asked ‘Whats up?‘ to which they replied “We are waiting for the rest of it“. To solve that particular problem the Google Copyright message was inserted to act as a crude end of page marker.
  3. One of the biggest leap in search usage came about when they introduced their much improved spell checker giving birth to the “Did you mean…” feature. This instantly doubled their traffic, but they had some interesting discussions on how best to place that information, as most people simply tuned that out. But they discovered the placement at the bottom of the results was the most effective area.
  4. The infamous “I feel lucky” is nearly never used. However, in trials it was found that removing it would somehow reduce the Google experience. Users wanted it kept. It was a comfort button.
  5. Orkut is very popular in Brazil. Orkut was the brainchild of a very intelligent Google engineer who was pretty much given free reign to run with it, without having to go through the normal Google UI procedures, hence the reason it doesn’t look or feel like a Google application. They are looking at improving Orkut to cope with the loads it places on the system.
  6. Google makes changes small-and-often. They will sometimes trial a particular feature with a set of users from a given network subnet; for example Excite@Home users often get to see new features. They aren’t told of this, just presented with the new UI and observed how they use it.
  7. Google has the largest network of translators in the world
  8. They use the 20% / 5% rules. If at least 20% of people use a feature, then it will be included. At least 5% of people need to use a particular search preference before it will make it into the ‘Advanced Preferences‘.
  9. They have found in user testing, that a small number of people are very typical of the larger user base. They run labs continually and always monitoring how people use a page of results.
  10. The name ‘Google‘ was an accident. A spelling mistake made by the original founders who thought they were going for ‘Googol
  11. Gmail was used internally for nearly 2 years prior to launch to the public. They discovered there was approximately 6 types of email users, and Gmail has been designed to accommodate these 6.
  12. They listen to feedback actively. Emailing Google isn’t emailing a blackhole.
  13. Employees are encouraged to use 20% of their time working on their own projects. Google News, Orkut are both examples of projects that grew from this working model.
  14. This wasn’t a technical talk so no information regarding any infrastructure was presented however they did note that they have a mantra of aiming to give back each page with in 500ms, rendered.
  15. Quote: Give Users What They Want When They Want It
  16. Quote: Integrate Sensibly

Most Popular Web Browser Toolbars

A toolbar sits on your web browser and facilitates quick access to many useful functions making online surfing easier. Here is a list of popular toolbars for your web browser.

Popular Browser Toolbars

Google Toolbar – Search with Google from any web page, block annoying pop-ups and automatically fill out forms are just few of the popular features. Check spellings, Auto link and see the page Rank. It also provides quick access to all major Google services.

Yahoo Toolbar – It allows searching the web with pop-up blocker, Anti-Spy Window Spyware protection, Quick access to Yahoo services, and add fresh content to My Yahoo! easily to name a few features. And now available with tabbed browsing in IE.

Windows Live Toolbar – It is available with tabbed browsing in IE, form filler, pop up blocker, multiple search options, self updating and feed detector.

MSN Toolbar – Browse smarter with tabs and switch between websites within the same IE window. Search the Web and easily locate documents, e-mail messages etc. Fill out online forms and one click Access to MSN services.

Alexa Toolbar – A free search and navigation companion that accompanies you as you surf, providing useful information about the websites you visit including traffic info. and contact info. Find related links for each page and share opinions.

Stumble Upon – Lets you surf, review and share great webpages while meeting new people. Vote sites you like and read reviews about them.

Wikipedia Toolbar – The Wikipedia Firefox extension makes editing of Wikipedia pages easier by adding a new toolbar to your browser and by providing new menu items in the context menu (right mouse key).

So which toolbar you consider essential?

Important reasons for using web standards

For web programmers who are already using web standards, this list may come in helpful when you want good arguments and feel free to add any extra benefits you can think of. If you’re new to the idea of web standards and are unsure on whether you should spend the time to study all about them or not, here are some of the most important reasons for doing so.

Get better search engine rankings
Well-written content delivered through clean, well-structured, and semantic markup is delicious food for search engine spiders and will help our rankings. This will lead to increased traffic, which is what most website owners want.

Maximize website visitors
You don’t know which browser visitors will use to access your site. The only thing you can be logically sure of is that they are using something that can parse HTML. By using web standards properly you make sure that you have completed your job in making your website work with the largest possible number of browsing devices.

Faster page loading
Clean and well-structured HTML that separates structure and content from presentation will be smaller and faster for visitors to download.

Accessibility
Web standards do not guarantee that all features of our website will be accessible to people with disabilities, but it is a very good start. Make sure your html documents are valid, well-structured, and semantic, and you’re well on the way towards having an accessible website.

Make our HTML easier to maintain
When we need to update our website then we will like to browse through a clean and well-structured document. Using CSS to organize layout also makes it much easier to make overall website design changes.

Look professional
Our colleagues, competitors, friends and potential employers will be able to look at our work and know that the person likes to keep up with changes in technology and make sure that his knowledge and skills are always current. It will make us look like a real web professional.

Making our clients feel good
Use web standards combined with best practices for accessibility and give your clients a chance to talk about how they cater to all people, and how they find it important that everybody can use their services or find information about their products. You will also avoid the bad publicity that can be caused by shutting out visitors like disabled people, Mac users, and mobile phone users.

Future-proof content
If we separate content from presentation and use current web standards, we have done the best we can to ensure that our website content can still be read even after fifty years or hundred years.

Good business sense
Any business owner will like to have more visitors, a faster website, improved search engine rankings, potential good publicity and it does make sense to do so.

Accurate way to do things
Web standards provide the way to build the web from the beginning and now that we can surely do something the right way and have a really important reason to feel good about ourselves.

Alternative Browsers

Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari lead the market, but there are other browsers out there for PC and Mac users which can be better then the one you’re using now.

When Microsoft, Mozilla or Apple comes out with a new version of Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari, it makes news, mainly because most of us use one or more of these three Web browsers. In fact, with the exception of Google’s Chrome (which made a big splash, mostly because it came from Google), most of the alternative browsers out there tend to get lost in the shuffle and it’s too bad, since some of these relatively unknown browsers are good, and could be better for some users than the ones they’re already using.

Check these browsers out; one of them may work for you.

Camino
It is an open-source browser based on Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine, is clearly designed to be a simple, user-friendly, yet fully functional browser. With a look and feel very similar to Safari and Firefox, almost anyone will find it easy to work with in seconds.

Maxthon
It’s got just about every feature built into competing browsers, and many that you won’t find anywhere else, such as a “file sniffer” that makes it easy to download YouTube videos and a popup notepad for pasting or dragging text you want to save. Power users will love it. Those who like sleek design will turn away.

OmniWeb
OmniWeb’s best features include extensive ad-blocking, auto-saved Web browsing sessions and site specific preferences. From the unique tab drawer to support for browsing Web pages using OS X’s built-in Speech Recognition, OmniWeb’s hold of Mac specific technologies wrapped in a clean and uncluttered interface makes the product a delightful browser alternative.

Opera
Opera 9.6 for Macintosh is a fast, option-laden browser that represents a formidable entry in an extremely competitive product category. Its standout features are Speed Dial startup page, extensive search engine support built into the browser and it also offers support for widgets.

Shiira
Like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome, Shiira is based on WebKit. One of the first unique interface elements was Shiira’s PageDock which provides the same functionality as tabbed browsing, but with complete thumbnails of every page that is opened. Other features includes the menu items for automatically e-mailing the URL or entire contents of a page with a single click, and a very effective full-screen-mode option that would be perfect for presentations or watching video.

Which is the finest?
It all depends on what you require from a browser!