Sunday, February 04, 2007

Guidelines meant to be followed--and broken

Successful sites not following the guidelines ...

"I've been thinking a lot about usability since my e-mail interview with usability expert Jakob Nielsen two weeks ago.

Why do some Web sites still make their visitors squint just so they can read the text on the site? And why do some sites make it difficult for users to get the information they want quickly?

Web usage and interaction may have evolved quite a bit, but Nielsen's list of Web usability guidelines hasn't changed much in the last six years. We can talk all we want about Web 2.0, but Web site creators still continue to make these fundamental mistakes.

As Nielsen points out, the fundamentals of ensuring visitors at a Web site have a good experience are still the same: design according to how the human brain works. Check out his biweekly column where he pens his views on current issues.

But, Nielsen's guidelines are just that--guidelines, and sometimes, what's so wrong can be so right, too. For example, social networking site breaks all the usability guidelines but has emerged a commercial success. Nielsen says: "MySpace is probably the most famous anti-usability site that's also successful. The site is horrible, but it works because it's not trying to attract customers or help users accomplish a task such as home banking." is an example of how some rules, or guidelines, aren't meant to be followed religously. By all means, refer to the guidelines but exercise common sense and don't forget a dose of creative thinking to move beyond the tried-and-tested, to create a breakthrough customer experience. Do you know of any other site that breaks the usability rules to achieve success?"    (Continued via ZDNet Asia)    [Usability Resources]


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