"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few."

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"We're all beginners under the skin."
Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug

No matter how experienced of an expert one might seem, he or she is still a beginner in some way. I thought that this was valuable information for usability testing. We might be tempted to get experts to review our site, and that's great. But when experts aren't readily available, it's ok to use ordinary people. In fact, it's just as good. They are still people with opinions that can offer you insight about your web page.

Usability testing should be done, and can be done, on any budget! You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to get feedback. You don't need fancy set up to get results. You need people to test the site and other people to observe. Simple. There is really no excuse for not doing a few usability tests.

I never thought about this point before, but your website should hold a user's goodwill, as Krug called it. If it seems that the site is trying to hide something, the user will not feel that the site does not take into consideration the users' interests. There are different things to raise the goodwill of your users. A designer must not forget this.

[I loved the sign that Krug used as an example for good design and usability. It was a sign in a taxi. It was written out to read and plexiglass with Braille lettering was placed over top. I found this to be an excellent idea of accomplishing two things at once.]

EL236 has a lot to say.

Title quote by: Shunryu Suzuki

5 Comments

Aja Hannah said:

I also liked how he explained the concept of goodwil thoroughly. At first, I didn't know what it was, but with his examples and pictures I could figure it out. And, he took into account the different factors that play into the amount of goodwill a person has entering your site.

He also responded to these factors by adding suggestions of how to increase, not just decrease goodwill. To me, it shows he really does know all about his job and cares enough to share the knowledge of the good and bad with everyone.

Alex Hull said:

That is one reason that I like Krug's book. He knows what he is talking about and is able to present it in a clear, consise, and entertaining manner.

Tips on what is good AND what is bad is a great idea too. Not only does he show us what to do but what not to do. That is more helpful than most would realize.

Jessie Krehlik said:

I really liked the section concerning the user's goodwill. One of the most frustrating parts of surfing the web is not being able to find something. If I visit a website that I frequently visit and cannot find a link that I usually use, I know that I get frustrated and usually just give up. Krug makes a good argument about hiding too much information on websites.

Maddie Gillespie said:

You both point out excellent facts/ways of operating in Krug's book. Alex, I especially liked your title quote; that was a unique way of tying two things together and actually having them work!

You made the argument that ordinary people are just as good as experts when testing a site. I would probably prefer that I have an even mixture of both experts and ordingary people. Experts minds may be closed by all of their knowledge, but I've heard it said that if you're minds too open...it'll fall out.

David Wilbanks said:

I agree with what you said about the cost of usability testing. I think in most cases experts aren't the best people to have do the test, non-experts are more likely to experience problems that other users will have. For this reason it seems that spending huge amounts of money on testing is a bit silly. It would be pretty easy, at most offices, to borrow a few people from different departments, or the cleaning staff, security guards or someone else, and have them spend an hour trying out the website. No one complains about a paid break.

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