You shouldn't have to think...it's common sense

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Krug Intro-3

Finally, a book that is as entertaining as it is educational. Krug realizes his readers don't want to read a tedious, overly-professional book. Whereas Kilian (I'm not bad mouthing) was dry, Krug mixes education with humor. The movie quotes, cartoons,and references to his own life, pop culture, as well as "Far Side" comics (I love those) make the book not seem like a chore to read. I'm surprised at how fast I read it.

"like a lot of common sense, though, it's not necessarily obvious until after someone's pointed it out to you" 5

We tend to be so blind to our mistakes. I know I spend a lot of time trying to perfectly craft every project I complete, only to sometimes be surprised at how people actually view it. I guess you can compare the creator-creation relationship to a parent-child-relationship: some parents believe their kid is perfect. But perfect is so subjective.

"If it's short, it's likely to be used" 6

Krug's taken his own advice and made his text short and sweet. We use the internet because it saves time. Most of us don't have time to spend hours in the library combing through books or reading entire newspapers. The world is fast-paced, and we're constantly on a time-clock: every minute counts. So when the internet doesn't turn out to the the speed demon of information we expected it to be, even more time is spent than if we were to do things the old-fashioned way.

"when we're using the Web every question mark adds to our cognitive workload, distracting our attention from the task at hand" 15

Last week, one of the assignments in CA 100 was to review a corporate website. We had to asses the usability of the website (Nike) based on the list of information we were supposed to find. Let me tell you, I spent a good hour trying to find the dang mission statement. The point of Dr Klapak's assignment was that the user shouldn't have to dig for the important information. Over half the website was flash-created advertisements. I understand Nike is trying to sell a product, but there is such a thing as too much "in-your-face". If I were Nike's web designer, I would make the product information more prevalent and wouldn't have a slideshow of a row of shoes as the central focus on the homepage.

here's a sample from my critique:

okay, criticism alert!!!!! This corporate website violates several guidelines as set forth in Crawford Kilian's Writing for the Web 3.0. The visitor should not have to dig and dig for information. A first time visitor should have no more difficulty navigating than a seasoned customer. Fluff is unnecessary-and Nike is full of flashy fluff. No one likes to download PDF files-they are really slow. There are way too many ads and not enough information about products (there's certainly superficial information). Also, there is not a link back to the homepage on every subsequent page, which is a cardinal rule. If going to point F, the customer should not have to have trouble getting back to point A. There is also a lack of blurbs, little 1-2 sentence teasers about what the page offers. The use of bulleted lists to state objectives and goals would also help break up the white text pargraphs. The Nike website would be considered a “hit-and-run”. There sure is information, but its at least 4-5 links away (real content).


"amazon.com, on the other hand, doesn't even mention the author-title-keyword distinction" 17

Who else gets infuriated when it's time to shop for used books? It takes a good 4 hours to find everything. There's all these search terms (ISBN, author, title, etc.) to take into consideration. Amazon doesn't always have the best prices, so I try some other sites. The books may be cheaper, but the other sites are often hard to use. I find myself using Amazon.com as a reference point for the book information because it is so easy to use.


"when we're creating websites, we act as though people are going to pore over each page, reading our finely crafted text, figuring out how we've organized things, and weighing their options before deciding which link to click" 21

And the creator bias rears its head again. Just because we spend hours creating something does not mean people are going to examine every inch of it. A website is not a research paper: the reader is not going to painstakingly comb over every word. I hate to use this phrase, but I think it accurately describes users:

"I don't care how it was created, I just care that it works"

many users do not care about the process of creating a website. They just want to use the end result. I'm not saying don't put all of your effort into creating a site-just don't marry your work.

"it becomes clear that some of them think Yahoo is the internet, and that this is the way you use it" 27

"once we find something that works-no matter how badly-we tend not to look for a better way" 28
I am one of those yahoo people. Even though google is supposedly faster and better, I always default to yahoo. And google is the default page on firefox. When I was first introduced to internet search engines back in 4th-5th grade, we were taught to use yahooligans. it became engrained that search=yahoo. "Googling" means yahoo.com to me. Maybe I would use google more often if it had a fantastic news feed like yahoo does (see? see the appeal of a flashy yet informative homepage???)

"the more important something is, the more prominent it is" 31
back to Nike: the flash slideshow that was the center focus of the homepage was just a bunch of shoes and clothes set to some pseudo-rock. It has since changed to a timeline of an athlete's life. Neither has much to do with what should be the mission of the site: to provide easy access to product/purchasing information. That is at least 3-4 clicks away.

"when a page doesn't have a clear visual hierarchy...we're reduced to the much slower process of scanning the page for revealing words and phrases, and then trying to form our own sense" 33

Dr Klapak said in class that the evaluation should take 15 minutes. Well it took about 2 hours to find everything (which proves the point the assignment was trying to make). After a while, all the information began muddling together. The back buttons were practicaly hidden, so it took even longer to return to a previous page and review something. I began to question whether I was even doing the assignment right. Much of my evaluation was constructive criticism, because Nike's site has some of the lowest usability I have ever seen.



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