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October 22, 2008

Not a novel - it's a website

"Don't Make MeThink," by Steve Krug, our current reading for class, gets better with each chapter. Yes, of course some of the stuff that he talks about is just the same old thing that we've heard over and over in the past journalism-style writing courses. But if you put what he's talking about into the context that he's writing for (as in...not our class) than his book is great!

Some things that I learned/relearned through chapters four and five...

  • Limit the amount of clicks your reader would have to take to find what they're looking for.
  • Don't make your reader confused if they don't fit into a certain criteria (ex. if they work from a home office, don't make them choose between home and office).
  • Omit needless words. Websites are more like a news article (short and to the point) than a research paper that you pull an all-nighter for.
  • Get rid of the fluff and the instructions. No one likes them.

Now for a venting session about chapter six...

  • Not that I didn't like chapter six, I have no real problem with it - it just reminded me of Griffin Gate and how dumb it is.
  • Griffin Gate (for those of you outside of the Seton Hill Community) is basically how students and teachers see grades, course schedules and university announcements as well as I'm sure a ton of other things that no one knows abotu because no one knows how to find it.
  • Breadcrumbs are supposed to be your saving grace in this situation, but with Griffin Gate the breadcrumbs are useless and don't explain the page you were just looking at properly.
  • I always find myself stumbling upon something great on Griffin Gate - which is what Krug tells you NOT to let your reader do.
  • Honestly, if the back button worked and the labeling of things made sense of Griffin Gate, no one would hate it. Maybe whoever made that site should take a look at this book.

Keep up the good work Krug.

4 Comments

I wonder if the back button is disabled for maliciously planned reasons? It forces you to spend more time on Griffin Gate because you are constantly stuck on the current page, or going back to home. I do not know why the administrators would want you to spend more time on the site, but it is a conspiracy theory, it doesn't need to make sense.
I also wonder if there is anyone who does not get the urge to kill when using Griffin Gate. I only use it when I absolutely have to becuase I would be wanted for involuntary manslaughter if I went on it everyday. That's a lot of embellishment, but it comes close to the way I feel about Griffin Gate.

"Great things" on GriffinGate? Who knew?! I don't even spend enough time on there to stumble onto helpful tools. I spend the most time just looking at the red text that says I've been redirected to them homepage for some-reason-or-another. And the thought of having to schedule my spring classes via GriffinGate in the near future is a scary one. Like Jed, I only use it when I absolutely have to.

Also, I did the exercises at the end of chapter six, which had you evaluate different sites for major navigation criteria in a glace (ID, sections, subsections, "you-are-here", search, etc.) And I tried the same thing with GriffinGate. Some things I noticed: Although they have a clear ID in the upper-left corner of the site and page titles, the navigation is spread out all over the place. Even though I use it, I'm not quite sure of the visual/logical hierarchy.

It's no wonder that the university was holding all those griffingate training sessions. It took me weeks to figure out how to check my account balance. Everything seems so buried.

a couple of days ago, I was viewing my unofficial transcript when I stumbled across a really neat tool: GPA calculator. It can take final grades as determined by you and calculate your expected GPA. The tool would be really useful if someone was worried about whether they were going to be able to keep their scholarships next semester.

Wow, a GPA caculator would be wonderful! I should go play around on Griffin Gate some more to stumble upon that, what a great tool...that no one can find, at least that's the first I've heard of it.

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