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SCAN Web Design Principles

April's bringing a four-post series about interface design (primarily for websites). There's a mental checklist I run through when building a new site, and while formalizing the idea the acronym SCAN stuck with me. I encourage comments on any of my blog posts, but if you have anything to add to this design series, I truly hope you leave a comment. Enjoy!


Website visitors do not read websites they come across for the first time. They scan quickly, and if they don't see something they need, they hit Back and move on. S is for SCANNING discusses how visitors scan sites, offers questions to consider while scanning your own site, and provides visual examples of websites that are easy to scan. Knowing how to scan your own website will help you design in a way that places important information where it will be seen and reduce bounce rate.

Read S is for Scanning.

C is for CONTENT

Catching a visitor's eye is only the first step — you must also present valuable information. Solve your visitors' problems quickly and thoroughly, fill their needs, give them what they want. Whatever the purpose of your website, knowing how to create, organize, and present content will increase returning visits.

Read C is for Content.


Accessibility isn't just catering to disabilities. Tons of companies have restrictive firewalls that block most (or all) JavaScript. Some may block images outside certain domains, others may even block CSS. You can't control what behaviors are allowed client-side, but you can make sure that all clients can access your valuable content. Build a robust site that can stand on its own, even when one or more of its pillars fall.

Read A is for Accessibility


Navigation is the method you present for finding information in your website. Whether that information is on the same page or another page, help your visitors find it easily and quickly, or you'll lose those visitors. Don't trap people in dead-end pages or frustrate them: provide navigation, make it easy to use, and provide feedback that tells them where they are in your site.

Read N is for Navigation

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