Hansel and Gretel Go to College

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"In general, I think it's safe to say that users don't mind a lot of clicks as long as each click is painless and they have continued confidence that they're on the right track..."
-Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug

After reading chapter 4 about having links, clicks, that make sense to the reader, I thought about Hansel and Gretel. They had no problem following the breadcrumbs as long as the breadcrumbs were actually there. The same is true for website users. They have no problems following the links through the pages to get where they need to be as long as they know that they're following the correct links.

And you may find yourself, in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, Well... How did I get here?
-Talking Heads, "Once In a Lifetime"

Krug uses this quote from a Talking Heads song at the beginning of chapter 6. It is a perfect illustrator of how website users should not feel when using a website: how did I get here?

The reason I used the reference to Hansel and Gretel in conjuction with college is because I find evidence of these points on college websites. I have been browsing through quite a few college websites recently, and most I've used are confusing. I don't know where to look for the information that I want to find. Following the breadcrumbs may never lead me to the information I was looking for. Even the search feature can be misleading.

I clearly can see Krug's point in making the navigation clear and easy to follow just by using college websites. Don't make me think about what to do next. Show it to me plainly.

Krug, Ch4-6 ... classmates' comments.

3 Comments

Jed Fetterman said:

I think the real thing that Krug is trying to illustrate is the idea that if your users do not know how they reached a page, no matter how good it is, they will not return. It is impossible to return to a place when you do not remember the directions to get there, unless you go through the same haphazard steps you did the first time. And even if you follow those steps, after a while, you will have expended so much energy that it will cease to be worth your time anymore. I have had this problem before. Most of the time, I will just say that it is not worth the energy to look for the page and give up.

Alex Hull said:

I agree with the comment that you're making Jed. I'm usually able to find what I'm looking for by luck on most college sites. The next time I go to look for the same information, I can never seem to be able to find it again.
Just like you, I often say it's not worth my energy and give up.

Aja Hannah said:

But, its college! Of course, its worth it!

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