15 July 2013

13 years later: Web Site Vistor's Bill of Rights

In 2000, the folks at Giga Information Group (now part of Forrester Research) published this document, mostly as a PR stunt, but also to foster better information design on Web sites. Thirteen years later, this list still has the power to shame Web site owners who still make it hard to figure out who they are and what they do or even how to have a conversation with them. 


In fact, before posting this list, I checked over my own site and made a couple of tweaks to be in compliance.

The Web Site Visitor's Bill of Rights

While all Web sites are not created equal, every Web site visitor deserves an acceptable measure of usability, functionality and privacy. In order to form a better user experience, we, the Web users, analysts and advisors of Giga Information Group, do ordain and establish the following unalienable set of rights for Web site visitors:

The Right to Accessible, Basic Company Information
Visitors have a right to:



  • A company profile link
  • The legal name and ownership visible on the home page
  • Notification of the geographic areas served
  • A link to the company's legal information on the home page
The Right to Accessible, Basic Contact Information
Visitors have a right to:

  • A "Contact Us" link on the home page
  • A physical mailing address for the primary office available on the contact page
  • A phone number for the primary office on the contact page
  • An electronic contact feature for the primary office on the contact page
  • A link to the general feedback, questions and comments feature
The Right to Know What Can Be Done on a Site
Visitors have a right to:

  • A description on the home page about the major objectives/tasks/actions that can be accomplished while on the site
  • A direct link to accomplish these goals and objectives
  • Purposeful, direct language that sets a clear expectation when a link is selected
 The Right to Know if a Site is Applicable to a Visitor's Goals or Interests
Visitors have a right to:

  • An easily identifiable description on the home page of how content is segmented to cater to various audiences visiting the site
  • A home page designed so that visitors will be able to tell right away if the site contains applicable information
 The Right to Essential Navigation Tools
 Visitors have a right to:

  • Global navigation bar(s) on the home page that are consistently formatted and placed throughout the site
  • Page titles available in the body that effectively describe the page content 
  • A home page link on all interior pages
  • Alternate text under all static images
  • Alternate text under all applets, programmatic objects and scripts
The Right to a Consistent Usable Page Design
 Visitors have a right to:
  • HTML page titles that clearly describe each page's content
  • Font colors that enhance the readability of the Web site's text
  • Font sizes that enhance the readability of the Web site's text
  • Underlines only used for linked text
  • Colors for links that change after they have been visited
  • Colors chosen for the link states that are readable against the Web site's selected background
The Right to Basic Site Support Tools
Visitors have a right to:
  • A site map that contains active links to the content listed, and is linked from the home page
  • A link to the site's search tool from the home page
The Right to a Detailed Accessible Privacy Policy
Visitors have a right to:
  • A link to a privacy policy from the home page and every page that requires or accepts data
  • The word "Privacy" in the link name that leads to the privacy policy
  • A privacy policy that identifies exactly how (e.g., cookies) and what (personal information) data is being collected
  • A privacy policy that identifies the intended use of the collected data
  • A privacy policy that addresses whether the receipt of customer data is an integrated part of the company's business model
  • A privacy policy that addresses the option of having personal information used for sending unsolicited materials by the company (e.g., mailing lists or any other marketing targeted back to the consumer)
  • A privacy policy that addresses whether personal information is disclosed to third parties and the option and instructions to decline any third-party disclosures
  • A privacy policy that addresses third-party privacy policies (e.g., third parties are governed by the same privacy policy or are not the responsibility of the site)
  • A privacy policy that addresses whether personal information is stored on a secure server or whether its server is inaccessible from the Internet
Source: Giga Information Group

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