Enter the maze

Pretty, Perfect Web Pages?

The golden ratio, the number 1.618... may be the basis of great art as Leonardo Da VInci thought; it may be the basis of what humans think of as a beautiful face; it may even be the dimension that make windows look "right" but it seems that doesn't mean that everything should be designed around it! Paul van Schaik of the University of Teesside set up an experiment to find out what if any effect the golden ratio had on website design. People may or may not find websites with proportions designed around the golden ration aesthetically pleasing, but does that help people find information?

He divided just under a hundred students into groups and gave them tasks to find information on different web sites. For one group the navigation bar of the website and the rest of its content were proportioned using the golden ration whereas the others were not. He found that the golden ratio students were on average several seconds slower and also looked at more pages to get the answers.

So unfortunately being pretty doesn't mean being perfect, at least for web pages.