Beware of false bottoms

You don't control how much of your web page any particular site visitor is looking at. What they see depends on their monitor size, their screen resolution, and the size of the window they have open.

Over and over in usability testing, I've seen people stopped by a horizontal line or a block of space at the bottom of their screen. Even if the scroll bar shows that there's much more, the message that the horizontal line - and even more a large block of space - seems to be sending overwhelms the message of the scroll bar. For example, the Franklin Institute page in Figure 7-11 is likely to lead many people to conclude that the site has no search function.

The screen ends here at 800 x 600.

Figure 7-11 Think carefully about how your use of space might create false bottoms and mislead people to think that the page is finished. sin.fi.edu/

The Search box should be r ji \ up here. That's where most people look for it.

The screen ends here at 800 x 600.

People may be misled by r^jthe spacing. They may not scroll, and, then, they would not find the Search box.

Figure 7-11 Think carefully about how your use of space might create false bottoms and mislead people to think that the page is finished. sin.fi.edu/

Don't create false bottoms on web pages. Don't put a horizontal line or large blocks of space across the page. They stop people. Check out your site on different size monitors, at different resolutions, and in different browsers to be sure that your spacing is not likely to mislead people.

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