Did you know that the Federal Government provides an excellent website design manual for free?

If you want to understand what makes a website successful, I recommend this book. “Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines” is its title. This 232 page book is an excellent resource, with thorough research to substantiate each guideline. What makes this book more impressive is that the Federal Government makes it available for download free of charge (PDF size : 20Mo). If you prefer, you can also buy the book at Amazon. However, unless you have a need for the print version, I recommend downloading the free copy.

Download the 2010 edition at: Usability.gov

You will find the following guidelines in this book:

  • design process and evaluation
  • optimizing the user experience
  • accessibility
  • hardware and software
  • the homepage
  • page layout
  • navigation
  • scrolling and paging
  • headings, titles, and labels
  • links
  • text appearance
  • lists
  • screen-based controls (widgets)
  • graphics, images, and multimedia
  • writing Web content
  • content organization
  • search
  • usability testing