Human Factors International rounds up ten usability principles for web design. Nothing completely earth shattering. Numbers 8 and 9 more of the clients I work with need to take to heart:
8. Know user tolerances Users are impatient. Design for a 2-10 second maximum download. Reuse header graphics so they can load from cache. Avoid excessive scrolling.
9. Multimedia – be discriminating Good animation attracts attention to specific information, then stops. Too much movement distracts, slowing reading and comprehension.
And I like their inclusion of using a stats package to measure performance. There’s a whole series of articles buried in that recommendation. Basics like what you can’t readily/really measure based on logfile data – metrics like time spent on site, time spent per page, number of actual people visiting, etc to how to interpret the numbers you get, how to group metrics for different audiences, and maybe even technical writeups about how to use specific packages for this.
10. Use a stats package Monitor traffic through your site. Which pages pique user interest? Which pages make users leave? Adjust your site accordingly.