The fact is that most people do not use the web for visual stimulation. People use the web to buy things, find information, make contacts, and what they notice is whether they can successfully buy things, find information, and make contacts. They do not notice the well-thought-out tag line or the expensive logo they’re just window dressing, just frosting on the cake. In fact, all the fussing we designers do to draw attention to our work often winds up just getting in the way.
Archive for 2002
“Technical accessibility is not enough to make a website easy to use,” Nielsen said. “The real question is whether users can get what they want from a website in a reasonable amount of time and whether the visit is pleasant for them. Users with disabilities are humans and need easy and simple user interfaces just like anybody else.”
A content inventory is a decidedly human task. In fact, we find that the process can often be as valuable as the final spreadsheet. If you invest the time in scouring your Web site and deconstructing every page (or at least a good selection of pages), you will end up as the uncontested expert in how it all goes together. And that’s invaluable knowledge to possess when redesigning your site.
Today, some search engines still look at metatags, but increasingly they put much more emphasis on both visible text on the page and “off-page factors” (popularity, linking structure of the Internet, etc.) to measure page relevance. Google doesn’t bother with metatags – it doesn’t even incorporate the description tag in the summary of page contents, preferring to grab text from the page itself.
Maps are one of the most basic (and informative) infographics. The simple map. A rectangle with a few lines, some labels, and an X can impart what it would take hundreds of words to describe. Maps are an abstraction of our world, a representation of space. At their most basic, they tell us where. If tweaked and tuned properly, they can tell us where, how, and even why.
The average U.S. corporation spends a small fortune each year constructing a virtual fortress around its information assets, but no security technology can prevent an unsuspecting employee from being duped into letting the enemy in through the front gate.
To save costs, some companies are outsourcing Web projects to countries with cheap labor. Unfortunately, these countries lack strong usability traditions and their developers have limited access — if any — to good usability data from the target users.
Every site has structure, and visitors will form their first and most lasting impressions of that structure by looking at the links, buttons, tabs, and other controls that form the “navigation.”
Consider the humble URL. In a few short years it’s become so ubiquitous as to be rendered invisible. It’s hard to imagine a world without it, and it’s hard to remember that there was once a time when not having a uniform means of locating resources was considered a fundamental stumbling block to the deployment of any large-scale hypertext system never mind a world-wide one.
Think of what some of the best bloggers could do if they were financially able to do focused, full-time blogging? Pick a topic you’re interested in, now imagine someone had 40 hours per week to cover everything related to that topic, and you get the idea.