Usability and Design MEGAN MCKEEVER INFORMATION CULTURE OCTOBER 22, 2012
Design v. Usability: Who will win? Many graphic/web designers cringe when they hear the words accessibility and usability, but I think there can be a happy meeting ground. There are small things that can be changed to make a site more usable and easier to navigate that won’t overhaul or disrupt design.
Hyperlinks Make clickable buttons large enough to click. Elderly users or people with mobility issues may have trouble clicking small targets.
Titles and Headers Uses page titles and headers and make them count Page titles should be fairly concise and explain what the user can find on each page DON’T use your web address in a page title DON’T use a filename DON’T use a one-word title, i.e. DO use context, i.e. Lilly’s Vineyard – Wine Tasting Reservations – Finger Lakes, NY This will allow users to quickly figure out if they are in the right place
Be Consistent Consistency and standards - Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform conventions. (Nielsen) Make colors consistent as well. If the previous screen has a green continue button, don’t make the next one purple. Use plain language.
Give Feedback Keep users informed of what is going on. Was their upload successful? Did you receive their applications?
Don’t require registration … At least not immediately. User participation is affected by the number of barriers on your site. When you force users to log-in, you may lock away features that don’t really need user identification Pixlr
Once you need users to register Keep it short and simple. Long registration forms may drive away users. Ask only for the information you need. You can always give users the option to update their profile once they are a member. Don’t include optional items in the form. Users may not notice the un-asterisked lines and think it is all required.
Recognition vs. Recall “Minimize the users memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another. Instructions for use of the system should be visible or easily retrievable whenever appropriate.”
For additional Info:Check out Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics Visibility of system status The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time. Match between system and the real world The system should speak the users language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order. User control and freedom Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue. Support undo and redo. Consistency and standards Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform conventions. Error prevention Even better than good error messages is a careful design which prevents a problem from occurring in the first place. Either eliminate error-prone conditions or check for them and present users with a confirmation option before they commit to the action. Recognition rather than recall Minimize the users memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another. Instructions for use of the system should be visible or easily retrievable whenever appropriate. Flexibility and efficiency of use Accelerators -- unseen by the novice user -- may often speed up the interaction for the expert user such that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions. Aesthetic and minimalist design Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution. Help and documentation Even though it is better if the system can be used without documentation, it may be necessary to provide help and documentation. Any such information