Steve Krug is in the business of making websites as awesome as possible. And he wrote a great book called Don’t Make Me Think about how to make websites that don’t frustrate or confuse people!
Here are a few super cool things I learned:
1) Steve Krug is a web usability consultant; people hire him to make sure that their websites are in tip top shape – they look good, work well, and make sense to the people who end up using the website. Here’s his website: http://www.sensible.com/. I have to be honest and say that while his website definitely doesn’t frustrate or confuse me, I think it could do with just a little bit more pizazz and a little less ‘this is completely practical looking’.
2) Web usability is all about making a website as awesome as possible. Everything should pretty much be intuitive – so that you can find the thing you’re looking for on a website as quickly and easily as possible. So you don’t have to dig around for five minutes just to find out much shipping costs are on your favorite clothing website (I hate doing that). Or so that the search box isn’t the effing most complicated thing you’ve ever seen (with seven drop down menus and buzz words you’ve never heard of). Or even so that you have the option to make the text on a website bigger if you want. The only way to tell if your website works the way you want it to is to do a “usability test.”
3) You can do a usability test on anything, but in the case of websites we’re just checking what works and what doesn’t for your site. To test a website, we show it to people who have never seen it before and ask them some simple questions, like “What is this website all about?” Or, you can ask them to do a simple task like “find the shipping costs for the item you would like to buy” and see if the website confuses them or makes them feel frustrated. If the answer is yes, you have to consider changing something, so that you don’t make your customer or website user think too much – or at all! Lather, rinse, repeat – keep doing your usability testing every small step of the way so that you can take care of those errors in your website as efficiently as possible.
Of course, there’s more to it than what’s written in the book, and certainly MUCH more to it than what I wrote above – but that’s basically what it’s all about.
I think it’s really cool!! Because I have definitely been to websites that make me so mad just by being really confusing, having a horrible color scheme that hurts my eyes, or even by purposefully hiding information from me (like shipping costs) in the hope that I’ll buy something from their site.