Article: Galleries: The Hardest Working Page on Your Site

Jared Spool

November 30th, 2005

UIEtips 11/30/05: Galleries: The Hardest Working Page on Your Site

Earlier this week, I talked about the 8 types of navigation pages and mentioned how galleries were the most critical link on the user’s chain of finding their desired content.

In this week’s UIEtips, I talk about how hard galleries have to work to help users succeed, with examples from Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

Read the article here.

Have you seen any well-designed galleries? Have you struggled with designing your own? What kind of results have you seen? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

11 Responses to “Article: Galleries: The Hardest Working Page on Your Site”

  1. Kathleen Pierce Says:

    I have always admired the International Herald Tribune site ( The layout is simple and easy to understand (although a recent redesign made the page appear more dense). The nav bar remains the same wherever you are in the site, so you stay oriented. And, the items on the nav bar make sense; they correspond to the way most newspaper readers envision the content areas.

    Many other news sites that I’ve seen look jumbled, crowded, and noisy– I feel tense as soon as I see them, and usually want to get off the page as quickly as possible. The IHT site enables you to focus on the news.

  2. DeWayne Purdy Says:

    We struggle all the time with our gallery pages, mainly the ones linked directly off our home page ( We adjust the categories, test different graphics, put links in the fluffy marketing text, and we recently added what we call “featured links”, the yellow boxes right under the fluffy marketing text. I’ll be testing (via redirects) which links people are using on the pages and the areas in which they appear to see if any are overtly more effective.

  3. Daniel Szuc Says:

    We have also heard users complain that *comparing products* is hard work (near impossible) because the right content is not displayed on Gallery pages.

    Suggest part of this is because there is only so much content you can display on a page (available real estate) and partly because the wrong or no content is presented to help users compare.

  4. Andy Law Says:

    This is an interesting article, since one of my recent project was to develop an virtual fine art gallery ( ). I would be interested in any feedback.

  5. Sue Saeger Says:

    This article could not have been timed better! We just released a new Digital Camera page on November 18 ( that is what you are classifying a Gallery page. However, internally we would never call this a Gallery page because it would potentially get confused with our EASYSHARE Gallery.

    We ran a usability study prior to the release and found that the participants found the information they need much easier. We are currently watching web stats to see if we have minimized some of the pogo sticking that we were seeing on several of our product pages.

    We have received some very positive feedback both from internal folks and visitors about the usefulness of this page. It would be great to hear what all of you think. Did we hit the mark? The downside is the amount of time it takes to load and it is a tough sell when it comes to maintaining a second version of this page in a more static format.

  6. Wyn Says:

    Would this gallery page of mobile phones be an example of what a gallery page is supposed to do?

  7. Sara Ulius-Sabel Says:

    A comment for Sue Saeger about the Kodak site:

    I think that you have gone a long way towards providing a lot of information at a “gallery” level page. While it took a second to realize the additional information that was available when mousing over the cameras, once I found it I thought that it was a great way to quickly scan through the various options.

    As far as feedback goes, I would suggest keeping your information in the same place for each camera (zoom, megapixels, etc.). I found that these tidbits moved around a bit, which made it more difficult to make as rapid of a comparison. For example, if “zoom” were a key criterion for me in making my camera selection, I would want to be able to focus my attention at one point on the screen (the area that contained the zoom level) as I moused over the camera options.

  8. Frances Says:

    The Kodak cameras page seems to me a very good solution to the gallery page conundrum. The change is big enough for it to be immediately apparent as soon as you mouseover a camera. As a Flash solution, it isnt great for attracting search engines attention though, but I guess that could be worked out with javascript.

  9. Todd Follansbee Says:

    Careful prototype testing focused upon customer expectations and needs with probing questions, accompanied with face time with sales and customer service personnel should reveal primary and secondary questions essential to the product information set (essentially what consumers need to know to make a purchase, and yes this varies). Addressing the primary questions on the gallery page, including properly designed product selection wizards (which reveal rather than obscure the information behind choices) go a long ways towards building more successful gallery pages in my experience.
    Direct user site testing in this approach is always best begun at Google rather then the doing basic task analysis on subject site since it is important to index and understand frustration levels and body language indicators before you get much into the testing. I find that relying on test subject verbal feedback is always risky when testing issues like this.
    As always I look forward to learning more about your test results and Kudos for attacking this is important usabilty and persuasion issue.

  10. Christian Watson Says:

    I’m surprised that so little has been written about the design of these types of pages considering their importance. As a reference, I’ve put together a collection of 50+ well designed product gallery pages on my Elements of Design website.

  11. Christian Watson Says:

    Ack — here’s the link:

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