Thursday, August 02, 2007

Your 10 Rules To Follow To Ensure Usability

Ten rules to ensure usability ...

"Everyone has their own way. I’ve been around many development environments and witnessed or experienced the blood, sweat and tears borne by the web development team. Sometimes it feels they get no support or respect.

Someone came to Cre8asiteforums, a community largely made up of search engine marketing practitioners, asking for Your 10 Rules To Follow To Ensure Usability.

I was wondering members’ views on what their 10 definite rules would be to ensure, or at least strive for, good usability. I’m not talking about Nielsen’s heuristics etc. I mean 10 (current and relevant) easy to follow, actionable points that the general developer could follow.

Because he asked for the non-heuristics side, not wanting a re-hash of the zillion lists you see around the Internet on “Top 10 Things to Do To Make Your Website Usable”, we were able to have a different kind of conversation. The responses ignored link colors and font sizes.

Examples:

Unless specifically directed otherwise I develop with the goal to have 100% functionality without having to rely on:

* CSS
* client-side scripting (JavaScript etc)
* plugins

Usability doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s not just your site’s usability. Users are comparing your site against the easiest sites they’ve used …even if they are not in your industry or developed by a much bigger company.

I took the liberty of having a little fun with it:

1. Ignore everything everybody ever told you about what you SHOULD do.

2. Start all over and work out the top business requirement for building it. Hold onto it for dear life. Make every function, every link, every sentence and every breath a page takes traceable back to the original business requirements. This will support you when stakeholders start begging and flirting with you about the cool things they hope you slip in there for them. Just Say No.

3. Decide who it is for and design it for them. Don’t pick the least common denominator. Understand your users and build it for them."    (Continued via Cre8pc)    [Usability Resources]

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