Alertbox: Tabs, Used Right

Allison Bloodworth abloodworth at berkeley.edu
Mon Sep 17 19:21:43 UTC 2007


He's right to some extent (if you want to be very strict about it),  
and I'm guessing that in the long term we will be moving away from  
tabs. However, I do think that metaphors change over time, and as he  
points out, large sites like Amazon have helped change the meaning of  
tabs (for better or for worse). Nielsen's a bit of a usability  
stickler and always thinks he knows best, but I've seen him fight  
against other trends which have overwhelmingly gone against his  
advice where he's ended up changing his mind (I think he's finally  
given up the notion that all links should be blue and visited links  
should be purple, for instance). I am actually a really strong  
advocate of looking to Nielsen for usability guidance. However, I  
often end up taking his advice with a grain of salt as I don't think  
it always makes sense to always follow such strict principles, which  
can stifle innovation.

In our case, it's not really innovation, but trying to do our best to  
make incremental changes which help our users. I do think that if we  
conceive of Sakai "sites" as distinct sets of grouped information,  
tabs work well. Again, however, long-term we may not think of sites  
that way...it may make more sense to give the user a more portal-like  
interface into the information in the sites. But portals often use  
tabs, too, which I think is a pretty standard practice for them and  
wouldn't fall under Nielsen's guidelines for tabs either. It almost  
makes me wonder whether his guidelines about tabs just apply to  
websites and not web apps. He also compares the tab interface to file  
folders, and physical folder contents definitely does *not* represent  
different views of the same information (a piece of paper can only be  
located in one folder at a time).

Allison

On Sep 17, 2007, at 11:18 AM, Moore, Kathleen E wrote:

> If we accept all of this, doesn't it imply that tabs are the wrong  
> solution for listing Sakai sites? They're certainly not different  
> views of the same information.
>
>
>
> Kathy
>
>
>
> Kathleen Moore
>
> Web Manager, Information Technology Services
>
> BU School of Management
>
> kemoore at bu.edu
>
> 617-353-2685
>
>
>
> From: fluid-work-bounces at fluidproject.org [mailto:fluid-work- 
> bounces at fluidproject.org] On Behalf Of Daphne Ogle
> Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 2:07 PM
> To: fluid-work at fluidproject.org
> Subject: Fwd: Alertbox: Tabs, Used Right
>
>
>
> This is a timely article on the use of tabs...
>
>
>
> Begin forwarded message:
>
>
>
> From: alertbox at nngroup.com (Jakob Nielsen)
>
> Date: September 17, 2007 9:00:00 AM PDT
>
> To: "Alertbox Announcement List" <alertbox at laser.sparklist.com>
>
> Subject: Alertbox: Tabs, Used Right
>
> Reply-To: bounce-alertbox-6665134 at laser.sparklist.com
>
>
>
> Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox for September 17 is now online at:
>
>> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/tabs.html
>>
>
> Summary:
>
> 13 design guidelines for tab controls are all followed by Yahoo  
> Finance,
>
> but usability suffers somewhat due to AJAX overkill and difficult
>
> customization.
>
>
> ----------------------------------
>
>
>
> User Experience 2007 conference
>
>
>
>> Barcelona, November 4-9
>>
>> Las Vegas, December 2-7
>>
>
>
> 31 full-day tutorials
>
> 2 keynotes: e-commerce, the state of usability
>
>
>
> Full program:
>
>> http://www.nngroup.com/events
>>
>
>
> ----------------------------------
>
>
>
> HIGH-ROI vs. LOW-ROI INTERNET MARKETING
>
>
>
> MarketingSherpa has released the results of a survey of 3,186 Internet
>
> marketers, who were asked about their ROI from various marketing
>
> techniques. (Yes, it's a survey, which is a bad way to get information
>
> about users and design, but this is about sales vs. expenses, not  
> about
>
> use.)
>
>
>
> Highest scoring was house email marketing, with 4 times as many
>
> respondents saying that they got strong or good ROI than people
>
> who said that it was a low-value tactic or hard to gauge.
>
>
>
> Lowest scoring Internet tactic was banner advertising, with
>
> 3 as many people saying "low" (or "hard to gauge")
>
> vs. respondents who said "good" (or "strong").
>
>
>
> Email is about 12 times higher rated than banner advertising for ROI.
>
> Allocate your budget accordingly: unless you spend many times more  
> on your
>
> newsletters then on online advertising, you probably have ROI  
> problems.
>
>
>
> These numbers don't surprise me, because our empirical observations of
>
> users' actual behavior show strong positive effects of email  
> newsletters
>
> and extremely strong banner blindness.
>
>
>
> Still, it's nice to see marketing managers come to the same  
> conclusions as
>
> the user research, regarding what works on the Internet.
>
>
>
> Email newsletters, user research findings:
>
>> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/newsletters.html
>>
>
>
> Banner blindness, user research findings:
>
>> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/banner-blindness.html
>>
>
>
> Marketing managers' ROI experience, survey findings:
>
>> http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.html?ident=30128
>>
>
>
>
>
> ---
>
> Nielsen Norman Group, 48105 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539 USA
>
> To subscribe send blank email to join-alertbox at laser.sparklist.com
>
> To unsubscribe send blank email to leave- 
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>
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>
>
>
> Daphne Ogle
>
> Senior Interaction Designer
>
> University of California, Berkeley
>
> Educational Technology Services
>
> daphne at media.berkeley.edu
>
> cell (510)847-0308
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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Allison Bloodworth
Senior User Interaction Designer
Educational Technology Services
University of California, Berkeley
(415) 377-8243
abloodworth at berkeley.edu




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