Usability Web design

Forget “#”

By Mainak Biswas August 27, 2007 - 1,534 views

Sometimes we click on some buttons or links of many websites but nothing happens. It sometimes just takes you to the top of the page (if you are somewhere below on the page). I am sure everyone has experienced this at some point of time, in one or the other website. If we see carefully, a “#” symbol is visible on the left of the browser’s status bar on moving the mouse over that button or link. It signifies that the button or the text-link is not connected to any page or section. The creator has just placed that for future work. May be the designer is working on the page to be linked and once it is done, the file will be uploaded and link will be updated with the real one (xyz.html etc.).

It’s an example of poor experience design. It just makes the visitor feel frustrated. If your page is not ready, simply don’t put the link on the button or text from where it will be linked. You can link it later when you have the file ready for the visitor. We see the same thing in case of navigation bar. If you have to design the navigation bar and you don’t have a few pages ready to be linked, simply omit those navigation items. You can update the navigation bar later and do a “find-n-replace” through out the website. If you are lazy enough to do that or feel it will look odd, just give a clear “coming soon” message when people mouse-over the item.

Sometimes designers handle it in an other way too. When the page is not complete they use a general template and put “data coming soon” on the content area. This is also a bad practice. Why taking a visitor to a page where you have nothing to say? You can say it before he goes there by putting a simple “coming soon” tool-tip kind of stuff on the related link or navigation item!

It might be a small thing to you, but think about a person who is not as “tech” as you are. He or she might feel that there must be something wrong and try clicking randomly to find the information he/she is looking for, but in vain!

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