We Have New Standards

We all need standards.  After all, who wants to marry someone who thinks “Desperate Housewives” is a good way to live or that personal hygiene should be optional?

Users need standards and conventions to make the web more accessible.  I’m not suggesting that we never add spice to the meal, but sometimes we need a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich to cleanse the palette.  If pots had no handles, we would get burnt more.  The standards and conventions that we find on web sites give us a road map, and just like paper maps have evolved into GPS navigation, web standards and conventions need to evolve.  We have new standards.

My newfound eye for standards and conventions has been honed by the sharp edge of ICM 512 User Centered Design.  I have noticed a few new web site standards and conventions that are beginning to emerge, and I wanted to proclaim them from the rooftop (or at least, from Quinnipiac’s Interactive Media Community Page):

  1. Social Media Presence on The Home Page – This can be in the form of social media links or feeds.  The important thing is to let users have a chance to join in on the conversation.
  2. Pronounced Image on The Home Page – This may be more of a convention than a standard, but it is a quick way to make your site more personable to the user or put visuals to the story you want to tell.  This pronounced image at the top of a home page is often just one of several included in a JavaScript slider.
  3. Footer Navigation – I’m not saying its right, but it’s your last chance to find what you are looking for.

Please proceed with caution.  Following standards and conventions may be comforting to users, but breaking free from standards helps the Internet evolve.  As interactive designers, it should be our challenge to create new standards that reach audiences in ways no one has thought of before.

Peanut Butter and Jelly may cleanse the palette, but who wants to eat it every day for lunch and dinner?


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