I'm Sad

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Though there is one chapter left, looking at the course outline showed that this was our last assigned reading of Don't Make Me Think.  I think that this was the best book that I was forced to read this semester in the most biased, unprofessional way possible.

"Take anyone you can get and grade on a curve."  This made the most sense to me out of all the things that have been said on usability testing.  If anyone in the world could be entering my site, shouldn't I make it more usable for anyone?  So why would I pick a group of people that limits my findings to their demographic?  Of course, this is for average websites.  If you were testing a website with brand new military secrets, you would not want to use average people, you would want to use scientest to do the testing.  You probably would want to design the so only scientists could use it, and not regular citizens.  But if it is an average website, designed for the (falsely named) average user, then why not go ahead and use people from all different walks of life.  I can guess who is more likely to visit a site, but I cannot know exactly who is there now.

The "Reservoir of Goodwill" brought up many bad memories of filling out financial aid forms in the last six months, as I am sure that many other members of the class can attest to.  It is so confusing to have three or four different forms, all with the same name, but fifteen different pins, passwords, and "Forgot your password?" questions.  And the thing that really irritates me is the arrogance of it all.  It seems like the government is saying that they do not need to test the usability because it is the government; if they tell us to do it, we will do it no matter how annoying and difficult it is.  It just does not seem like the government has any compassion or empathy towards the people filing for student loans and grants.

The final chapter (that we read) did not make a lot of sense to me.  I was not sure where Krug was going with his "buttered cats."  I think that I did understand the main concept, though.  If your website is easy for a person with a disability to use, then imagine how easy it is for someone without a disability.  I also thought that it was interesting how even blind users scan documents and pages.  I never really thought about the blind using computers until this book.  It brings up the idea of why no one bothers to invent a screen reader that emphasizes bold keywords and hyperlinks.  Those are my thoughts anyway.

4 Comments

Jackie Johns said:

Like you, I never thought about the blind or otherwise disabled people using the web. It's a pretty major issue though, and something I think needs more attention and dedication to developing better technology. I think that's why Krug wrote this chapter from a "for now" perspective; these suggestions will work for now, but he foresees more sweeping improvements in this issue in the future.

Daniella Choynowski said:

Yes, it was the best book we were FORCED to read. Krug's personality made up for the fact that much of the book was devoted to corporate web designing, something many of us may never plan to pursue. However, most of his rules about design and layout apply to personal websites as well.

Though your subject matter may be designated for s specific audience, they are not the only ones who will see it. The key is to present specific information in a general way so that outsiders can understand. I had to read a ton of books last semester about subjects I wasn't familiar with. But I understood the material because of the way it was presented.

Oh, the joys of FAFSA. Did you know there's a paper worksheet you can get that really helps. You essentially fill in the blanks that correspond with the #'s on the electronic form.

I know so many people who didn't even go to college because the online form was to complicated for them to understand. It is a major problem, and now that I think about it, I'm kind of shocked our government hasn't done any usability testing.

Butter cats. It's one of those logical phallasies (spelling?)

Aja Hannah said:

About the butter cats. I actually tried this when I was young. I put toast on my cat and dropped her. I also did several tests on the toast, buttering it and dropping it. (My parents weren't home.) The cat landed on her feet safely each time and some of the time so did the butter when I dropped it seperatly also.

I wish cats could float though. Just a thought.

Jed Fetterman said:

Aja,
That both frightens and disturbs me. I am glad that you are an English major and not going into one of the sciences.

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