Usability = “A person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can figure out how to use the thing to accomplish something without it being more trouble than it’s worth” (Krugg, 9).
Chapter 1: Don’t make me think!
- This is Krugg’s first law of usability
- Web Pages should be self-evident, obvious, self-explanatory
- People don’t like to question how to do things
- Why is it important? People aren’t going to look at sites as long as we think so it has to work quickly, at first glance.
These examples were a helpful demonstration for me:
Chapter 2: How we really use the web
- What is the typical process for using a website?
– Glance at each new page
– Scan some text
– Click on the first link that catches their attention
- 3 Facts of Life
1. We don’t read pages. We scan them.
– We want our information and we want it fast
– We know we don’t need to read it all
– We’ve become good at scanning with lots of practice
2. We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.
– We’re in a hurry
– Nothing bad happens if you guess wrong
– Taking time to choose may not help if it’s a bad website
– Guessing is fun…adds an element of surprise
3. We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.
– It doesn’t matter to us… the “how” is not important
– We find something that works and stick to that
Chapter 3: Billboard Design 101
- Follow the existing signs or design patterns—conventions
- We know a stop sign means stop and green means go because that’s the way it has always been
- Website conventions: people begin to expect certain things to be located in certain places and work a certain way
- IMPORTANT RULE: Clarity trumps consistency.
- Move something if you want, but make sure people know what it is
- Create effective hierarchies:
– The more important something is, the bigger and more obvious it should be.
– Things related logically are related visually.
– Things are “nested” with like things to show what belongs to what
- Break up pages to make it more user friendly
- Make it obvious what can be clicked
- Keep the noise down:
– Avoid shouting (when everything on the page is screaming for your attention)
– Avoid disorganization (everything should be aligned and flow clearly)
– Avoid clutter (don’t put information on the page that doesn’t need to be there)
- Support scanning:
– Hopefully, this post is an example
– Lots of headings, short paragraphs, use of lists, highlight important stuff
Chapter 4: Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?
- Doesn’t matter how many clicks it takes to get somewhere but how hard it is to choose what to click
- By following all the rules mentioned above, this should happen naturally, but sometimes that’s not enough
- Guidelines for guidance:
– Brief: smallest amount of information possible to help
– Timely: available right when I need it
– Unavoidable: formatted so I can’t miss it
Chapter 5: Omit Needless Words
- Apparently Krug only learned 5 or 6 things in college, but this is one of them (must be important, huh?)
- Why get rid of words?
– Declutters the page
– Make information you need easier to find
– Makes the page shorter so users can see more at one glance
- What do we need to get rid of?
– Happy Talk: introductory text to make users feel welcomed and appreciated
– Instructions: users should be able to figure it out on their own if we have followed the other steps
These chapters were very helpful to me in thinking about how to design a web page that will be most effective to users. I tried to use the concepts I learned in the reading in the way this post was written and designed.