Sunday, January 28, 2007

Usable for you or for users?

Designing for the user, not for you ...

"One of the worst mistakes you can make is to think a web site is easy to use and understand, because you and your design team can understand, operate, and navigate it. Non-invasive user observation tests will reveal the true user-friendliness of a web site, not assumptions based on personas or hunches.

This is the most common general I have seen in 6 years of web usability analysis and non-invasive, uncouched user observation testing. It's the underlying cause of the majority of dysfuntionality and incoherence in web sites.

You think your web site is fine. But that's because the wording, categories, nav tools, visual content, and topics are in tune with your company's goals and hierarchy constraints. You fail to see that users may not, and usually don't, know nor care a fig about your view of the product or your organizational structure.

Inert, non-responsive, clueless web sites are called "brochureware" or "dumb-and-dumberware". Your web site can't simply appear in cyberspace, and expect any traffic, notoriety, or results. It's a digital illusion, an island without inhabitants, some chunk of code clusters that nobody will ever care about.

Customers and web visitors only care about one thing. And it's not you."    (Continued via User Centered)    [Usability Resources]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article. My company is currently adjusting for this. In our case, however, it is a case of product usability, not web.

We often assume incorrectly that our product is fine, but if we're honest with ourselves we know that the customer has a different perspective on how they would use it, and how useful they find it.

We have gotten a lot of direct feedback from our beta users, and are working hard to make the proper adjustments. However, I wish there was a service like ReviewMe for software usability. (As far as I know, it is targeted only at websites.) Anyone know of some similar resources to get usability feedback?

-Jeff Carpenter

4:38 AM  
Blogger Eddie said...

Jeff- I don't know. I also had someone post about, I'm not sure how similar it is to "review me." but it appears to be mostly websites as well. BUT! they do have a "Mac application of the week..." section which leads me to believe they'll check your app for you as well.

2:45 PM  

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