- A favicon. For those unfamiliar, it's the little 16x16 or so image that shows up next to the address bar and on the tab next to the page title. I think everyone picks up on visual cues a lot more than they realize, so it's much easier to find the tab or page you want when there's a colorful, simple, icon by it. Plus, it means my bookmarks bar can look like this:
Bonus question 1: How many of these favicons do you recognize? Bonus question 2: Many of these favicons are letters. How can I rearrange them to spell something funny? Other than "WTF" which I already have.
- Simple URLs. The example which inspired me to write this is my friends Casey and DJ's new site for scientists, CoLab. The address for someone's profile is, for example, http://www.thisiscolab.org/researchers/profile/caseystark/, rather than http://www.thisiscolab.org/photo.php?pid=958307&id=1017661724&fbid=1313519230881#profile.php/?pid=238924769803?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_content=Google+Reader&feature=related. I don't know why but why I see lots of extraneous characters that don't mean much to me, in a URL, it gives me the sense that the site is overly complicated, was built without a simple. clear focus, and is going to break at any moment. Also, what with Twitter being all the rage nowadays, it's nice to have a reasonable chance at fitting a URL into a tweet without using a shortener. Even if you do have to shorten a URL, we put an extra strain on the URL shortening services when we try to shorten multiple copies of the same URL which don't look identical but actually are. For example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epUk3T2Kfno and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epUk3T2Kfno&feature=channel are exactly the same video, even though the URL is superficially different. Maybe I'm just being a little obsessive, but it's something I always notice.
There are a couple of things that I really like in a website. Neither of them really matters that much but they make me feel like I'm dealing with a nice, simple, easy-to-use website. Like Facebook, c. 2004. Or like Facebook now, except the exact opposite.