Man, with Kim down to part-time, I'm going to have to pull my weight! Darn it. I just wrote a long essay on writing, but I'm going to have to carefully proofread it again before I can post it. (All because of a corollary of Murphy's Law-- whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the most embarrassing time. The one time I make a really blatant typo will be in an essay on the importance of proper spellchecking.) I know you're all drooling with anticipation. And firing up your spellcheckers, you jackals. ;)
So, in the meantime, I shall step in as the Cre8asite beat reporter and point out a thread there I've been enjoying immensely, started by the moderator Grumpus, who doesn't usually do usability stuff. Neither do I, generally, but this really struck a chord, and ended up being a colorful, interesting thread on not only usability, but also more about the purpose of a website as a whole, and various methods for making a website suit its purpose more fully. Kim gives loads of excellent insight into what usability testing is all about, so maybe this will tide us over for a while. It's a thread that's still active, as well, so who knows where we'll go next?
Then, I saw it. In bright blue letters taking up a good 50% of the viewable surface of the lid were two words: "TWIST OFF."
[...] And so, here I sit taking this site for granted - just as I did my peanut jar.
Good web designers, like good writers, must be able to recognize their own blinders if they are to remove them.
[...] webdesign-- walking the fine line between putting everything precisely where the user expects it, and making it so they have to actually look at your page.
Communication is about the other person getting the message. If they didn't, then the communicator remains as the person with the problem.
Usability: The ability to easily learn and use a site with a minimum of obstacles.
Marketing: The ability to direct the user's attention to where you want it to go.
One of the dangers of striving for usability is applying a label of usable on habitual behaviour.
Well, certainly the user is vital, but even more vital is achieving the aims of the company. If the site somehow satisfies users but does not achieve the company's aims, what good is it to the company?
When you take draconian measures to get someone's attention, you are presenting them with an implication that you will make it worth their while. It's an unwritten contract.