Thank You Steve

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"Don't make me think."  If only college worked that way.  But he makes a valid point.

I would rather be doing something mindless instead of writing this blog on a Sunday afternoon.  And it is not as if I cannot do it, I just like when things are as efficient as possible.  I especially want that out of the internet because I just want to get in and out as fast as possible.

The book has done a good job, so far, of making me question the structure of websites that I visit.  For instance, the point he raises about the drop-down menus in the search bars always aggravate.  You spend all of that time categorizing your search for the author, and the first item that comes up in the search is something with the author's name in the title.  So much wasted time.

The question I find myself asking, though, is how I should go about avoiding these pitfalls.  Right now, it seems the only way to avoid these problems is to either be an expert designer who knows every little convention, or do complex usability tests.

Still I like the concise style and humor of the book.  Don't Make Me Think has made me think...but in a good way.

To EL236.


Jed, while complex usability tests will catch more errors than simple tests, the simple tests will catch more errors than no test. And, since you learn something from every test you run, every test brings you just that much closer to being an expert designer.

Most of us who started writing for the web before books and classes existed on the subject just paid attention to the design of the sites we ourselves liked using, and tried to duplicate the best things about those designs.

It also helps to think of your designs as never quite finished -- I hope you'll continue to revise your resume, or any other page that you really care about, as you continue to learn in EL236.

Jed Fetterman said:

Thanks Dr. Jerz,
I guess that is a tip that I can take into all of my writing, even the creative stuff, because the works continue to evolve until they are published. And even after that, how people look at them will always continue to change. I even think that it would be interesting to get a group of people to analyze an uncompleted novel and write the ending based off of the reviews. I am liking this section the best, so far, because there are so many possibilities open to me in this field.

Alex Hull said:

I found a lot of truth in what he said about the drop-down menus in the search bar on book store sites. Even though it is meant to make the search results more specific, it just take more time and has never seemed to help me much.

I really like your idea of starting a novel and finishing it then based on what reviews you get. If you start this project and you need a test reader, let me know.

Jessie Krehlik said:

I agree with your statement that more books should be written like this one. But, I think Krug uses his design to prove his point. Too much fluff is just overlooked, so why include it? By limiting the amount of text on his pages, Krug makes the book less intimidating, and thus, readers are more likely to read the entire text.

Jed Fetterman said:

Thanks Alex and Jessie,
I think that a lot of the problem with academic writing is that the authors do not care about the readers time. There almost an arrogance there that says, "I'm so smart that I can put in all sorts of fluff and you'll still read the entire 500 page book." When you don't do that, it shows a lot of consideration to the reader; the only things that will take up your time are the things that matter.

As far as the affectionately titled "Usability Novel," it is a long way off. First, I have to create my own style and say what I want to say, but after the novelty has worn off (which I hope it never will) it will be something to make things interesting. Thank you Alex, I will keep that in mind.

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