Lists are commonly found on Web sites.
These may be lists of, for example, people, drugs, theaters, or restaurants. Each list should be clearly introduced and have a descriptive title. A list should be formatted so that it can be easily scanned. The order of items in the list should be done to maximize user performance, which usually means that the most important items are placed toward the top of the list. If a numbered list is used, start the numbering at ‘one,’ not ‘zero.’ Generally only the first letter of the first word is capitalized, unless a word that is usually capitalized is shown in the list.
Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines
Order Elements to Maximize User Performance
Guideline: Arrange lists and tasks in an order that best facilitates efficient and successful user performance.
Comments: Designers should determine if there is an order for items that will facilitate use of the Web site. If there is, ensure that the site is formatted to support that order, and that all pages follow the same order. For example, ensure that lists of items, sets of links, and a series of tabs are in a meaningful order.
Where no obvious order applies, organize lists alphabetically or numerically. Keep in mind that it is the user’s logic that should prevail rather than the designer’s logic.
Sources: Bransford and Johnson, 1972; Detweiler and Omanson, 1996; Engel and Granda, 1975; Evans, 1998; Flower, Hayes and Swarts, 1983; Halgren and Cooke, 1993; Morkes and Nielsen, 1998; Nygren and Allard, 1996; Ozok and Salvendy, 2000; Redish, Felker and Rose, 1981; Smith and Mosier, 1986; Spyridakis, 2000.