(The following list was extracted from the L577 redesign projects.)


  • Clients need to identify their goals, audience, long-term plan. A long term plan is especially important if much of the work is done by short term employees or in short term projects.

    Design in general

  • Structural elements should correspond to content elements (eg. use of colors, groupings, etc).
  • Use of metaphors: if a website represents functions that users are already familiar with off-line, the on-line representation can make use of metaphors. For example, an on-line website of a library could follow organizational structures used in traditional libraries.
  • Use neither too much structure (eg. many levels of a hierarchy, multiple windows) nor too little structure (eg. flat hierarchy)

    Design of single pages

  • All pages of a site should have a consistent design, eg. consistent graphics; links in similar positions; consistent navigation etc.
  • The front page should not have too much white space, should have neither too many nor too few links, neither too much nor too little information.
  • Standard information should be at the bottom of a page (eg. copyright, "last updated") and should be appropriately labeled.


  • Sitemap software can be used to automatically generate a graphical display of the current navigational structure.
  • If the website employs mainly a tree hierarchy, there should be navigation bars (or some other tool) on every page that facilitate navigation to related pages without having to backtrack to the top.
  • The logical structure and the file structure of web sites are separate issues. The logical structure provides the navigational structure for users. The file structure can reflect the socio-technical background of an organization, eg. if different departments are responsible for different parts of the website these could be arranged in different file folders.
  • If a complicated file structure results in duplicate, redundant or lost pages, it needs to be simplified.

    Navigational information on single pages

  • If there are many links on a page, they should be grouped in a meaningful manner.
  • Single pages should have navigational information that indicates their location within the overall structure of the website and how to navigate to other places (eg "back", "home", related pages).

    Labeling and Icons

  • Appropriate labels and icons (i.e. those which are familiar to users and/or commonly used on the WWW) should be used.

    Tests that should be performed on the website: a) easy ones

  • Test ADA compliance, HTML verification, broken links, whether index.html files are in every directory, etc.
  • Check whether appropriate tools (search engine, sitemap, help etc) are there, are labeled correctly and follow common practices.
  • For forms: check security; forms should follow common practices.

    Tests that should be performed on the website: b) time-consuming ones

  • Test the usability of the layout of single pages; of tools (search engine, forms, etc); and of the navigation.

    Other topics

  • If pages are personalizable or require a login, the username and a logout button should be displayed in an obvious manner.
  • If the website includes an intranet, the different pages should be properly separated and labeled.
  • If pages use large graphics or non-printable script functions, there should be alternative pages provided that are printable.