In the age of UX it is no longer ok to create a beautiful flash site that no one can use. In fact, given the choice, most users will use a not-so-pretty usable site over just a pretty face. I mean look at craigslist. It is about as plain jane as you can get. No “look and feel” to speak of. Which, for me, proves the importance of User Experience (UX). It is more important to pay attention to user needs than have a beautiful website. So, if you have to pick (ideally you can do both), spend time on user research and not as much on brainstorming the look and feel… Because good UX is good design…
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Steve Jobs said that.
“Don’t make me think” Steve Krug said that (another smart Steve).
I love this quote by Albert Einstein because it is true and relates directly to one of my favorite subjects, Web User Experience (UX).
I recently finished my last class towards my UX Analyst certification and passed my certification exam, so I am now a Certified Usability Analyst. I took all my classes through HFI, http://www.humanfactors.com/certification/CUA.asp, and it has been a very good learning experience. I have learned a lot about how to figure out what users want in a website, how to test if a website works for a user and how to fix it so it does. I can’t wait to apply all the principles I’ve learned to a few projects that are coming up at work.
Readability is the ease in which text can be read and understood. Making something “readable” isn’t just for the web, it is for any communication you are creating. I am a total geek for this concept. One of my favorite parts of my work day is when I get to take some content and make it easier for the reader to digest. Below are some helpful resources that I reference regularly…
- Usability.gov is a site I use a lot to reference usability best practices. This particular page is a great reference for understanding how to write a page so it is “scannable”
- Believe it or not, there is a company out there that does “readability” for a living!… some good before and after samples here to show how readability improves a document or web page… they also have training classes.
- The gurus, NNGroup, have a great study on how to make communications more readable… they also have training classes.
- A book or two that you might enjoy… my personal fav is Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, which I have in my office if you want to borrow… but there are plenty of others.
Hope this is helpful! Enjoy!
Some great writing tips for dealing with the online reader’s tendancy to scan not read…
…just go to Usability Week.
Seriously. You will walk out of this conference with a list of amazing ideas for your website (or your client’s website).
I have attended the Nielsen Norman Group Usability Week since 2009 and I always leave with a list of 10 quick fixes to make our websites easier to use and a much longer list of great ideas to implement later.
I love that what they teach is based on real, cumulative learnings from usability tests that they have conducted for their many clients around the world. The guidelines they share at the conferences are tested and easy to implement.
So go. Get ideas. Learn. And take off those glasses. Except if you need them… then leave them on. I don’t want you to get hurt. That wouldn’t be smart.
…you might ask. Or you may think something like, “your last post was June 2011, lame-o!” Or you may not care at all. Whatever you’re thinking… it’s ok because I have been in baby bliss. Early last July I had another baby boy and it has been a wonderful time for our family. He is cute and little and smells good and makes silly sounds and… did I mention cute? He is 6 months old now so I am just now coming out of the infant fogginess… so back to blogging about things other than poop and naps… hope you find them useful! 😉