Friday, October 12, 2007

30 Usability Issues To Be Aware Of

Usability rules to remember ...

"You don’t have to agree upon everything. As a professional web developer you are the advocate of your visitors’ interests and needs; you have to protect your understanding of good user experience and make sure the visitors will find their way through (possibly) complex site architecture. And this means that you need to be able to protect your position and communicate your ideas effectively — in discussions with your clients and colleagues. In fact, it’s your job to compromise wrong ideas and misleading concepts instead of following them blindly.

In this context nothing can support you more than the profound knowledge of fundamental issues related to your work. But even if you know most of them it’s important to know how to name these concepts and how to refer to them once they appear in the conversation. Furthermore, it’s always useful to have some precise terms ready to hand once you might need them as an argument in your discussions.

In this article we present 30 important usability issues, terms, rules and principles which are usually forgotten, ignored or misunderstood. What is the difference between readability and legibility? What exactly does 80/20 or Pareto principle mean? What is meant with minesweeping and satisficing? And what is Progressive Enhancement and Graceful Degradation? OK, it’s time to dive in.

Usability: Rules and Principles

7±2 Principle
Since human brain has some limits on its capacity for processing information, it deals with complexity dividing information into chunks and units. According to George A. Miller’s studies humans’ short term memory can retain only about 5-9 things at one time. This fact is often used as an argument for limiting the number of options in navigation menus to 7; however there are heated debates about The Myth of “Seven, Plus or Minus 2″. Therefore it’s not clear how the 7±2 Principle can, could or should be applied to the Web. Miller’s studies.

2-Second-Rule
A loose principle that a user shouldn’t need to wait more than 2 seconds for certain types of system response, such as application-switching and application launch time. The choice of 2 seconds is somewhat arbitrary, but a reasonable order of magnitude. Reliable principle: the less users have to wait, the better is the user experience."    (Continued via Smashing Magazine)    [Usability Resources]

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