Friday, June 22, 2007

The simple way to increase site usability

An interview with Steve Krug ...

"IDG News Service recently had a chance to talk to site usability expert and consultant Steve Krug about best practices and major mistakes in Web design. Here is an edited transcript of the chat with Krug, who runs a one-man consulting firm called Advanced Common Sense in Boston, has a Web site called Sensible.com, and wrote a book titled Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.

IDGNS: What are some major Web site usability best practices?

Krug: The main one is to make sure you've done some user testing. Bring people in and have them use the thing while you watch. That's the best practice. Do that throughout the design cycle. Start doing it early. Don't wait until you have a finished new design.

As a designer, you know too much about the site. You have to bring in people who don't know anything about the site and have them try and use it. That's my single best practice.

IDGNS: How is user-generated content affecting design and usability decisions? What's the right way to incorporate those features into your design?

Krug: It has become one of those things which everyone now feels compelled [to include on their sites]. You can imagine the conversations in boardrooms with bosses saying, "We've got to have social networking on our site." Because it's worked well for some people, there's a rush for everyone to incorporate it, and that's usually not a good thing. You don't want to have an attitude of "we've got to have it whether or not it makes sense for our organization."

I don't think there are as many usability issues as there are tactical or strategic decisions related to whether incorporating social networking into your site is going to help or hurt. The usability and design issues aren't nearly as important as the issues of whether it's appropriate for the organization and whether you're going to be willing to put the resources into it to manage it. It takes an awful lot of work."    (Continued via InfoWorld)    [Usability Resources]

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