Usability Institue Logo- A bolt that can be fastened with any of 4 tools
Reducing Training to Its Sensible Minimum: Zero...
Inexpensive, Independent Usability Consulting by Jack Bellis
Home Page- List of All Content Home Page- All content, in date order Resources: page describing tools you can use Morsels: just our short articles and blurbs Just our Before&After Articles Site Reviews and Critique About: details on who I am and what I do Address, phone, number,  and so on

Website State of the Art
A Categorical Listing of Models for Web Design, Content, and Navigation

To nominate a site, just email me.

  • A list of websites that are models at what they do. Keep in mind, this is not "the best place to go to do XYZ," but rather a site to model after if you're in the XYZ busy-ness. None of the pages, particularly the applications are suggested to be "the best," but just good examples I happened to come across.
  • Because creativity's great stuff, except most of the time. For instance, do you want to read a phone book that puts peoples' names in order of, on, let's say, familiarity to the person who did the graphic design? After visiting a great website for the township where I work, I got motivated to finally start publishing this list.
  • Read it. Pick a site with a similar purpose. Copy their navigation. Send them a nice thank you.
  • 2006-Jun


Category Address Comments
Art Creation

Online corporate identity artwork. Looks like you can step through it pretty far before paying.

Check Purchasing, typical e-commerce for a customized product.

Good example of options and many steps. Important design because they must make the process as easy as possible or you'll go to another vendor. You can see a lot of functional pages without committing. Notice how they handle the classic Add/Edit/Delete choices once you've got a table of items to deal with.

Email Oversize Attachments Enables you to send files of up to 1GB, probably using an FTP solution. Also includes backup service. Free option.
Help Desk Help desk software.
Form Building, a tool to create remotely hosted databases, centered around the tool that creates the data entry forms.

The demo page is apparently all that's ready at this time (June 31, 2006) but it's a pretty awesome thing.

Home Page Building NetVibes, pretty incredible home page builder, with lots of great content you can add.
Invoicing, Timesheets, full-featured invoicing system with other bookkeeping apps, support tickets, and document upload.

I did a detailed case study of this site's techniques for instant usability. You can use practically this entire system for free, no strings, no spam. Only if you want to upgrade your logistics do you need to pay for a premium plan.

Office Tools/Mail

Zimbra Suite, sort of like MS Outlook but a web/Ajax alternative.

From choose "Hosted Demo" to get into an actual sample of the app.

Restaurant Reservations, e-commerce for logistical (time, space, people) functionality.

Reserve a table at a restaurant. The Reservation Page is where the functionality starts.

Remote Control Free online app that enables you to connect to someone else's computer and control it remotely, while they watch.
Search Indexing Service, one long, complex application page.

This is a service that enables you to provide a Search capability on your website, and really has to accommodate complex user benefits without causing a support nightmare. Free for basic use, so you can use the functionality end-to-end without committment! This is one of my favorite sites because it flies in the face of the dumb notion that long pages are a no-no.

Search System Combination of categorical filtering and text-wise search. For example, click Denon, then enter the search term "5-disc."
Social Networking Make your own social networking site online, for free.
Spreadsheet Spreadsheet functionality right in the browser. Here's a calculator example.
Video Broadcasting Like youtube in that you upload video, but this a full business model and software infrastructure for producing, publishing, and getting advertising revenue from your video content.
Web Menu System Creation, online creation of menu code that you can place in your web pages. Ostensibly one of the powerhouses in this field.

Totally free online option. (They also sell the workstation program.) NOTE: This app seems to have been unlinked from their site, but my old link to it still works. I suspect that they superseded the product on which it is based so they orphaned the online version. As of June 2006, the old link was still active.

Content-Centric Sites

= Indicates a link that opens in a new window. I believe (and the world is slowly coming around to my correct logic) that pages that act primarily as tables of contents that one goes back and forth to, should open most links in a new window. This may change when pages truly work at RAM speed.

  • Government
    • Country
    • Township/Municipality
        • Great site. I wanted to request that a a new street sign be installed. I found a form and posted a request without a single misstep. Needs proportional typefaces.
    • State Indicates a link that opens in a new window
      • A little cluttered, but that might be expected for such a broad scope. I'll gladly replace it with a better state's navigation scheme (there's only 49 or so more, so suggest one), but right now it's the best I've got. The last time I renewed my car registration it worked flawlessly
  • Business
  • Information
    • Contact Page
    • Search
    • Reference
    • Directions:
    • Music
      • Sheet Music Viewer: There are a zillion sites for sheet music. This one has a custom (ActiveX) control that shows you the first page, lets you choose an instrument and key, and steps through the song as it plays it. A little intimidating to allow the ActiveX control, but looks like a legit business, so they probably haven't sold my personal information to more than a few hundred thousand credit card companies.
    • Map

Revisionist History

  • 2007-Mar-11: added
  • 2007-Mar-3: Contact page added
  • 2006-Jun-22: Maps added
  • 2005-Oct-8: Just got started and already it looked great.

"My interest in usability arose from the pain and tears of patching the wounds of suffering interface designs with the inadequate bandages of help files and user guides." — Daniel Cohen

2002,   All Rights Reserved
Any and all content may be reused without prior consent if you simply acknowledge the source,