Yup. No-one wants to use your software – they merely want to get their work done. When will software designers realize, that they are NOT the experts when it comes to design? Usability is one of the few areas where the customer is indeed always right. Granted, a few seem to get it, but most still seem to think that since they are the tech experts, they somehow know how to do everyone’s job – and they never seem to tire of telling them they’re doing it wrong.
And yet, all the time, we say ‘It does’t matter, we’ll sort that out with training’, ‘Call the tech writers, we’ll make a manual for this system’, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll inflict this piece of crap on our employees, unlike our customers they’re stuck with us’.
Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition – this applies in any kind of UX design:
Usability means making sure something works well, and that a person of average ability or experience can use it for its intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated.
Web applications should explain themselves.
As far as humanly possible, when I look at a web page it should be self-evident. Obvious. Self-explanatory.
Don’t Make Me Think
As a rule, people don’t like to puzzle over how to do things. If people who build a site don’t care enough to make things obvious it can erode confidence in the site and its publishers.
Don’t waste my time
Much of our web use is motivated by the desire to save time. As a result, web users tend to act like sharks. They have to keep moving or they’ll die.
Users still cling to their back buttons
There’s not much of a penalty for guessing wrong. Unlike firefighting, the penalty for guessing wrong on a website is just a click or two of the back button. The back button is the most-used feature of web browsers.
We’re creatures of habit
If we find something that works, we stick to it. Once we find something that works — no matter how badly — we tend not to look for a better way. We’ll use a better way if we stumble across one, but we seldom look for one.
No Time for Small Talk
Happy talk is like small talk – content free, basically just a way to be sociable. But most Web users don’t have time for small talk; they want to get right to the beef. You can – and should – eliminate as much happy talk as possible.
Don’t lose search
Some people (search-dominant users), will almost always look for a search box as they enter a site. These may be the same people who look for the nearest clerk as soon as they enter a store.
We form mental site-maps
When we return to something on a Web site, instead of replying on a physical sense of where it is, we have to remember where it is in the conceptual hierarchy and retrace our steps.
Make it easy to go home
Having a home button in sight at all times offers reassurance that no matter how lost I may get, I can always start over, like pressing a Reset button or using a “Get out of Jail free” card.