Web Usability


Monday, October 08, 2007

Know Thy Users....

I have been watching Cadbury's and Kurkure Commercials since few months and have observed that the companies are Involving users in each and every phase to make the brand more succesful and satisfy large chunck of customers.

Cadbury's shows half the ad and ask users to submit their views on what happen next,Its not that they have already decided what the next scene would be,its like they expect users to respond to situations and get the best out of it.

Same goes with Kurkure.They are asking users of all the recipes users can make using Kurkure and promising to put their picture on the wrapper making them feel Important.

The Reality shows like Indian Idol and SaReGaMaPa is running on the same path.They ask users to send SMS,call and Vote for the favorite participants..making users feel that their opinion counts.

Every Business nowdays is getting used to Involving users in the process of designing a product,process,website and even Commercials so as to get maximum business as well as customer satisfaction benefits.

so all I would say is KNOW THY USER...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mission Driven Navigation

Most of the designers and developers design websites with the option to give users the option to:
1) Move anywhere from everywhere
2) Highlighting main sections of the websites
making each page a traffic junction to move anywhere using the navigation signs.

When user goes into a particular website,they browse the website having a specific goal or mission in mind.
According to Jakob Nielsen
"For almost seven years, my studies have shown the same user behavior: users look straight at the content and ignore the navigation areas when they scan a new page."

"if a page does not appear relevant to the user's current goals, then the user will ruthlessly click the Back button…"

This tells that every page has some purpose to serve and its goal driven.
User comes on it with a goal in mind and this goal drives the kind of navigation they prefer.Either they click on link or click back button to take another option.

In Mark Hurst's opinion designers put too much effort into content organisation and design of navigation systems. Organising a site into sections and subsections does not by itself create a good user experience. What matters is whether users can quickly and easily advance to the next step in the pursuit for their goal.
He suggests a three step strategy to design for the click-link-or-hit-back-button behaviour:

a) Identify users' goals on each page
b) De-emphasize or remove any page elements (or areas of a site) that don't help to accomplish the goal
c) Emphasize (or insert) those links, forms, or other elements that either take users closer to their goal, or finally accomplish it.

Mark Hurst also strikes a blow against consistency. In his opinion, it's silly to add navigation elements to a page just because it's consistent with the rest of the site. Consistency should not be the ruling principle. He encourages designers to instead focus on the users' goals and the flow they go through to get there.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Defining background color

Lots of website forget to define the background color of the site or does not define it assuming the user have set their browser colors to use windows default white color.But this is not the case,many users change their browser colors to whatever they like.
Best example of this could be http://www.yahoo.com
They have not defined their bgcolor for home page and this is how it looks if the user have changed its browser color to purple:

Result,Users are not able to see the links and ADs.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Web 2.0 - Nothing but a State of Mind

Web 2.0 is the stuff that allows anyone in the world to Interact,suggest,edit or comment from the website.
There are three parts to Web2.0 technology:

RIA - Rich Internet Application - Flash and Ajax - how do we bring the experience from the desktop into the browser.Whether its from Graphical point of view or Usability point of view.

SOA- Service oriented architecture - Feeds,RSS,Web Services,Mash-ups - how the application expose the functionality so that other application can leverage and integrate the functionality providing a much richer set of applications

Social web - Web2.0 tend to interact more with the end users.End user is not just the user but the participant.
Tagging,Wiki,Podcast are part of social natures of the application.
The end user is an integral part of the application providing feedback allowing the application to leverage for the users using it.

Look at the Attached Video which says The machine is using us

Friday, June 29, 2007

Human Factors

Last week I went to attend a Usability Course conducted by Human Factors International.
Self sponsored,so just attended two modules of the course (User Centered Analysis and Conceptual Design) and (The Art and Science of Effective Web and Application Design).
I must say the HFI course is really worth the money they charge.
The course has been designed keeping in view even the small and tiniest informations which a developer or designers might not think of.
Since the day I have done this,Iam practicing it so that I can follow the standards in my work :)