SlideShare a Scribd company logo

I'm with Stupid

Why smart people are so bad at computers, and what to do about it. (Keynote presentation, Arkansas Regional HighEdWeb conference, 2010)

1 of 43
Download to read offline
I’m with
Stupid
why smart people are so bad at computers
(and what to do about it)
Stephanie Leary, @sleary, sillybean.net
Texas A&M University
My “Stupid Users”
• faculty
• students
• authors
• Mom
Working with Mom
•“We go to great lengths to ensure easy
understanding. We make the button look
like something you can press.”
“Anatomy of a Noob”: http://tinyurl.com/noob-anatomy
Working with Mom
•“We use desktop as a reference,
windows, pull-downs, accordions, etc. We
call them metaphors, but very seldom do
we question whether those metaphors are
as intuitive and universally understood as
we assume.”
“Anatomy of a Noob”: http://tinyurl.com/noob-anatomy
Working with Mom
•“In the case of my mom, there is
obviously little connection between the
physical desktop and its digital
counterpart.”
“Anatomy of a Noob”: http://tinyurl.com/noob-anatomy
I'm with Stupid

Recommended

Nomenclatura quimica orgánica
Nomenclatura quimica orgánicaNomenclatura quimica orgánica
Nomenclatura quimica orgánicabernardocolumba
 
8th grade presentation for slideshare
8th grade presentation for slideshare8th grade presentation for slideshare
8th grade presentation for slideshareMarian Merritt
 
Special Topics Day for Engineering Innovation Lecture on Cybersecurity
Special Topics Day for Engineering Innovation Lecture on CybersecuritySpecial Topics Day for Engineering Innovation Lecture on Cybersecurity
Special Topics Day for Engineering Innovation Lecture on CybersecurityMichael Rushanan
 
Lesson 2_Rules_of_Netiquette.pptx
Lesson 2_Rules_of_Netiquette.pptxLesson 2_Rules_of_Netiquette.pptx
Lesson 2_Rules_of_Netiquette.pptxJoy Dugayo
 
Aggressive Driving Essay Persuasive. Online assignment writing service.
Aggressive Driving Essay Persuasive. Online assignment writing service.Aggressive Driving Essay Persuasive. Online assignment writing service.
Aggressive Driving Essay Persuasive. Online assignment writing service.Beth Garcia
 

More Related Content

Similar to I'm with Stupid

Machine Learning for Non-technical People
Machine Learning for Non-technical PeopleMachine Learning for Non-technical People
Machine Learning for Non-technical Peopleindico data
 
Introduction to Internet Safety, Social Media and Blogging
Introduction to Internet Safety, Social Media and BloggingIntroduction to Internet Safety, Social Media and Blogging
Introduction to Internet Safety, Social Media and BloggingJustinsite eLearning Solutions
 
Griffin Been technology Report
Griffin Been technology ReportGriffin Been technology Report
Griffin Been technology ReportMarq2014
 
Academic Paper Writing Services
Academic Paper Writing ServicesAcademic Paper Writing Services
Academic Paper Writing ServicesCristina Franklin
 
Technology Tips for Students-New Student Tech Camp
Technology Tips for Students-New Student Tech CampTechnology Tips for Students-New Student Tech Camp
Technology Tips for Students-New Student Tech CampStephanie Moore
 
Digital Natives: Growing Up Online
Digital Natives: Growing Up OnlineDigital Natives: Growing Up Online
Digital Natives: Growing Up Onlinebermandry
 
Software for women
Software for womenSoftware for women
Software for womenAshby Winch
 
2450 f15 03-norman2_as_delivered
2450 f15 03-norman2_as_delivered2450 f15 03-norman2_as_delivered
2450 f15 03-norman2_as_delivereddrewmargolin
 
who is writing my autobiography
who is writing my autobiographywho is writing my autobiography
who is writing my autobiographyLuca De Biase
 
Pragmatic Designer's Guide to Identity on the Web
Pragmatic Designer's Guide to Identity on the WebPragmatic Designer's Guide to Identity on the Web
Pragmatic Designer's Guide to Identity on the WebJamie Reffell
 
Tech Support Is Reference
Tech Support Is ReferenceTech Support Is Reference
Tech Support Is ReferenceMary Kelly
 
The Human Intranet
The Human IntranetThe Human Intranet
The Human IntranetAndy Gibson
 
Privacy and libraries
Privacy and librariesPrivacy and libraries
Privacy and librariesDorothea Salo
 
Ethics and ux ux sofia nov 2018
Ethics and ux ux sofia nov 2018Ethics and ux ux sofia nov 2018
Ethics and ux ux sofia nov 2018Eric Reiss
 
Blue team responses to people who "hack like a girl"
Blue team responses to people who "hack like a girl" Blue team responses to people who "hack like a girl"
Blue team responses to people who "hack like a girl" Kate Brew
 
Corp Web Risks and Concerns
Corp Web Risks and ConcernsCorp Web Risks and Concerns
Corp Web Risks and ConcernsPINT Inc
 
Cloud Computing
Cloud ComputingCloud Computing
Cloud Computingsmoreland
 

Similar to I'm with Stupid (20)

Machine Learning for Non-technical People
Machine Learning for Non-technical PeopleMachine Learning for Non-technical People
Machine Learning for Non-technical People
 
Introduction to Internet Safety, Social Media and Blogging
Introduction to Internet Safety, Social Media and BloggingIntroduction to Internet Safety, Social Media and Blogging
Introduction to Internet Safety, Social Media and Blogging
 
Griffin Been technology Report
Griffin Been technology ReportGriffin Been technology Report
Griffin Been technology Report
 
Academic Paper Writing Services
Academic Paper Writing ServicesAcademic Paper Writing Services
Academic Paper Writing Services
 
Technology Tips for Students-New Student Tech Camp
Technology Tips for Students-New Student Tech CampTechnology Tips for Students-New Student Tech Camp
Technology Tips for Students-New Student Tech Camp
 
Essay On My Internet Experience
Essay On My Internet ExperienceEssay On My Internet Experience
Essay On My Internet Experience
 
Digital Natives: Growing Up Online
Digital Natives: Growing Up OnlineDigital Natives: Growing Up Online
Digital Natives: Growing Up Online
 
Software for women
Software for womenSoftware for women
Software for women
 
2450 f15 03-norman2_as_delivered
2450 f15 03-norman2_as_delivered2450 f15 03-norman2_as_delivered
2450 f15 03-norman2_as_delivered
 
03 dllo davidlafontaine
03 dllo davidlafontaine03 dllo davidlafontaine
03 dllo davidlafontaine
 
who is writing my autobiography
who is writing my autobiographywho is writing my autobiography
who is writing my autobiography
 
Pragmatic Designer's Guide to Identity on the Web
Pragmatic Designer's Guide to Identity on the WebPragmatic Designer's Guide to Identity on the Web
Pragmatic Designer's Guide to Identity on the Web
 
Programming by Heart
Programming by HeartProgramming by Heart
Programming by Heart
 
Tech Support Is Reference
Tech Support Is ReferenceTech Support Is Reference
Tech Support Is Reference
 
The Human Intranet
The Human IntranetThe Human Intranet
The Human Intranet
 
Privacy and libraries
Privacy and librariesPrivacy and libraries
Privacy and libraries
 
Ethics and ux ux sofia nov 2018
Ethics and ux ux sofia nov 2018Ethics and ux ux sofia nov 2018
Ethics and ux ux sofia nov 2018
 
Blue team responses to people who "hack like a girl"
Blue team responses to people who "hack like a girl" Blue team responses to people who "hack like a girl"
Blue team responses to people who "hack like a girl"
 
Corp Web Risks and Concerns
Corp Web Risks and ConcernsCorp Web Risks and Concerns
Corp Web Risks and Concerns
 
Cloud Computing
Cloud ComputingCloud Computing
Cloud Computing
 

More from Stephanie Leary

Writing for the Web in Government and Education
Writing for the Web in Government and EducationWriting for the Web in Government and Education
Writing for the Web in Government and EducationStephanie Leary
 
Content Strategy for WordPress: Case Study
Content Strategy for WordPress: Case StudyContent Strategy for WordPress: Case Study
Content Strategy for WordPress: Case StudyStephanie Leary
 
Content Strategy for WordPress
Content Strategy for WordPressContent Strategy for WordPress
Content Strategy for WordPressStephanie Leary
 
There's a Plugin for That
There's a Plugin for ThatThere's a Plugin for That
There's a Plugin for ThatStephanie Leary
 
The WordPress University 2012
The WordPress University 2012The WordPress University 2012
The WordPress University 2012Stephanie Leary
 
The WordPress University
The WordPress UniversityThe WordPress University
The WordPress UniversityStephanie Leary
 
WordPress Hidden Gems (July 2011)
WordPress Hidden Gems (July 2011)WordPress Hidden Gems (July 2011)
WordPress Hidden Gems (July 2011)Stephanie Leary
 
WordPress Tips and Tricks (DFW Meetup)
WordPress Tips and Tricks (DFW Meetup)WordPress Tips and Tricks (DFW Meetup)
WordPress Tips and Tricks (DFW Meetup)Stephanie Leary
 
What's New in WordPress 3.0 (for developers)
What's New in WordPress 3.0 (for developers)What's New in WordPress 3.0 (for developers)
What's New in WordPress 3.0 (for developers)Stephanie Leary
 
Social Media for Researchers
Social Media for ResearchersSocial Media for Researchers
Social Media for ResearchersStephanie Leary
 
WordPress as a CMS (short version)
WordPress as a CMS (short version)WordPress as a CMS (short version)
WordPress as a CMS (short version)Stephanie Leary
 

More from Stephanie Leary (19)

WordPress for the 99%
WordPress for the 99%WordPress for the 99%
WordPress for the 99%
 
Content First in Action
Content First in ActionContent First in Action
Content First in Action
 
Writing for the Web in Government and Education
Writing for the Web in Government and EducationWriting for the Web in Government and Education
Writing for the Web in Government and Education
 
Getting to WordPress
Getting to WordPressGetting to WordPress
Getting to WordPress
 
Content Strategy for WordPress: Case Study
Content Strategy for WordPress: Case StudyContent Strategy for WordPress: Case Study
Content Strategy for WordPress: Case Study
 
Content Strategy for WordPress
Content Strategy for WordPressContent Strategy for WordPress
Content Strategy for WordPress
 
There's a Plugin for That
There's a Plugin for ThatThere's a Plugin for That
There's a Plugin for That
 
The WordPress University 2012
The WordPress University 2012The WordPress University 2012
The WordPress University 2012
 
Keeping It Simple
Keeping It SimpleKeeping It Simple
Keeping It Simple
 
The WordPress University
The WordPress UniversityThe WordPress University
The WordPress University
 
WordPress Hidden Gems (July 2011)
WordPress Hidden Gems (July 2011)WordPress Hidden Gems (July 2011)
WordPress Hidden Gems (July 2011)
 
WordPress Tips and Tricks (DFW Meetup)
WordPress Tips and Tricks (DFW Meetup)WordPress Tips and Tricks (DFW Meetup)
WordPress Tips and Tricks (DFW Meetup)
 
Tricky Migrations
Tricky MigrationsTricky Migrations
Tricky Migrations
 
Importing & Migrating
Importing & MigratingImporting & Migrating
Importing & Migrating
 
WordPress Hidden Gems
WordPress Hidden GemsWordPress Hidden Gems
WordPress Hidden Gems
 
What's New in WordPress 3.0 (for developers)
What's New in WordPress 3.0 (for developers)What's New in WordPress 3.0 (for developers)
What's New in WordPress 3.0 (for developers)
 
Social Media for Researchers
Social Media for ResearchersSocial Media for Researchers
Social Media for Researchers
 
WordPress as a CMS (short version)
WordPress as a CMS (short version)WordPress as a CMS (short version)
WordPress as a CMS (short version)
 
WordPress as a CMS
WordPress as a CMSWordPress as a CMS
WordPress as a CMS
 

Recently uploaded

VM Migration from VMware to CloudStack and KVM – Suresh Anaparti, ShapeBlue
VM Migration from VMware to CloudStack and KVM – Suresh Anaparti, ShapeBlueVM Migration from VMware to CloudStack and KVM – Suresh Anaparti, ShapeBlue
VM Migration from VMware to CloudStack and KVM – Suresh Anaparti, ShapeBlueShapeBlue
 
Establishing data sharing standards to promote global industry development
Establishing data sharing standards to promote global industry developmentEstablishing data sharing standards to promote global industry development
Establishing data sharing standards to promote global industry developmentThorsten Huelsmann
 
Building Bridges: Merging RPA Processes, UiPath Apps, and Data Service to bu...
Building Bridges:  Merging RPA Processes, UiPath Apps, and Data Service to bu...Building Bridges:  Merging RPA Processes, UiPath Apps, and Data Service to bu...
Building Bridges: Merging RPA Processes, UiPath Apps, and Data Service to bu...DianaGray10
 
AI for Educators - Integrating AI in the Classrooms
AI for Educators - Integrating AI in the ClassroomsAI for Educators - Integrating AI in the Classrooms
AI for Educators - Integrating AI in the ClassroomsPremsankar Chakkingal
 
ChatGPT's Code Interpreter: Your secret weapon for SEO automation success - S...
ChatGPT's Code Interpreter: Your secret weapon for SEO automation success - S...ChatGPT's Code Interpreter: Your secret weapon for SEO automation success - S...
ChatGPT's Code Interpreter: Your secret weapon for SEO automation success - S...SearchNorwich
 
Unleash the Solace Pub Sub connector | Banaglore MuleSoft Meetup #31
Unleash the Solace Pub Sub connector | Banaglore MuleSoft Meetup #31Unleash the Solace Pub Sub connector | Banaglore MuleSoft Meetup #31
Unleash the Solace Pub Sub connector | Banaglore MuleSoft Meetup #31shyamraj55
 
Elevating Cloud Infrastructure with Object Storage, DRS, VM Scheduling, and D...
Elevating Cloud Infrastructure with Object Storage, DRS, VM Scheduling, and D...Elevating Cloud Infrastructure with Object Storage, DRS, VM Scheduling, and D...
Elevating Cloud Infrastructure with Object Storage, DRS, VM Scheduling, and D...ShapeBlue
 
Mind your App Footprint 🐾⚡️🌱 (@FlutterHeroes 2024)
Mind your App Footprint 🐾⚡️🌱 (@FlutterHeroes 2024)Mind your App Footprint 🐾⚡️🌱 (@FlutterHeroes 2024)
Mind your App Footprint 🐾⚡️🌱 (@FlutterHeroes 2024)François
 
Improving IT Investment Decisions and Business Outcomes with Integrated Enter...
Improving IT Investment Decisions and Business Outcomes with Integrated Enter...Improving IT Investment Decisions and Business Outcomes with Integrated Enter...
Improving IT Investment Decisions and Business Outcomes with Integrated Enter...Cprime
 
PrismCRM-RealEstate-SalesCRM_byCode5Company
PrismCRM-RealEstate-SalesCRM_byCode5CompanyPrismCRM-RealEstate-SalesCRM_byCode5Company
PrismCRM-RealEstate-SalesCRM_byCode5CompanyMustafa Kuğu
 
CloudStack 101: The Best Way to Build Your Private Cloud – Rohit Yadav, VP Ap...
CloudStack 101: The Best Way to Build Your Private Cloud – Rohit Yadav, VP Ap...CloudStack 101: The Best Way to Build Your Private Cloud – Rohit Yadav, VP Ap...
CloudStack 101: The Best Way to Build Your Private Cloud – Rohit Yadav, VP Ap...ShapeBlue
 
Transcript: Trending now: Book subjects on the move in the Canadian market - ...
Transcript: Trending now: Book subjects on the move in the Canadian market - ...Transcript: Trending now: Book subjects on the move in the Canadian market - ...
Transcript: Trending now: Book subjects on the move in the Canadian market - ...BookNet Canada
 
Centralized TLS Certificates Management Using Vault PKI + Cert-Manager
Centralized TLS Certificates Management Using Vault PKI + Cert-ManagerCentralized TLS Certificates Management Using Vault PKI + Cert-Manager
Centralized TLS Certificates Management Using Vault PKI + Cert-ManagerSaiLinnThu2
 
Microsoft x 2toLead Webinar Session 1 - How Employee Communication and Connec...
Microsoft x 2toLead Webinar Session 1 - How Employee Communication and Connec...Microsoft x 2toLead Webinar Session 1 - How Employee Communication and Connec...
Microsoft x 2toLead Webinar Session 1 - How Employee Communication and Connec...2toLead Limited
 
The Art of the Possible with Graph by Dr Jim Webber Neo4j.pptx
The Art of the Possible with Graph by Dr Jim Webber Neo4j.pptxThe Art of the Possible with Graph by Dr Jim Webber Neo4j.pptx
The Art of the Possible with Graph by Dr Jim Webber Neo4j.pptxNeo4j
 
My Journey towards Artificial Intelligence
My Journey towards Artificial IntelligenceMy Journey towards Artificial Intelligence
My Journey towards Artificial IntelligenceVijayananda Mohire
 
Q4 2023 Quarterly Investor Presentation - FINAL.pdf
Q4 2023 Quarterly Investor Presentation - FINAL.pdfQ4 2023 Quarterly Investor Presentation - FINAL.pdf
Q4 2023 Quarterly Investor Presentation - FINAL.pdfTejal81
 
Low Latency at Extreme Scale: Proven Practices & Pitfalls
Low Latency at Extreme Scale: Proven Practices & PitfallsLow Latency at Extreme Scale: Proven Practices & Pitfalls
Low Latency at Extreme Scale: Proven Practices & PitfallsScyllaDB
 
software-quality-assurance question paper 2023
software-quality-assurance question paper 2023software-quality-assurance question paper 2023
software-quality-assurance question paper 2023RohanMistry15
 
Enterprise Architecture As Strategy - Book Review
Enterprise Architecture As Strategy - Book ReviewEnterprise Architecture As Strategy - Book Review
Enterprise Architecture As Strategy - Book ReviewAshraf Fouad
 

Recently uploaded (20)

VM Migration from VMware to CloudStack and KVM – Suresh Anaparti, ShapeBlue
VM Migration from VMware to CloudStack and KVM – Suresh Anaparti, ShapeBlueVM Migration from VMware to CloudStack and KVM – Suresh Anaparti, ShapeBlue
VM Migration from VMware to CloudStack and KVM – Suresh Anaparti, ShapeBlue
 
Establishing data sharing standards to promote global industry development
Establishing data sharing standards to promote global industry developmentEstablishing data sharing standards to promote global industry development
Establishing data sharing standards to promote global industry development
 
Building Bridges: Merging RPA Processes, UiPath Apps, and Data Service to bu...
Building Bridges:  Merging RPA Processes, UiPath Apps, and Data Service to bu...Building Bridges:  Merging RPA Processes, UiPath Apps, and Data Service to bu...
Building Bridges: Merging RPA Processes, UiPath Apps, and Data Service to bu...
 
AI for Educators - Integrating AI in the Classrooms
AI for Educators - Integrating AI in the ClassroomsAI for Educators - Integrating AI in the Classrooms
AI for Educators - Integrating AI in the Classrooms
 
ChatGPT's Code Interpreter: Your secret weapon for SEO automation success - S...
ChatGPT's Code Interpreter: Your secret weapon for SEO automation success - S...ChatGPT's Code Interpreter: Your secret weapon for SEO automation success - S...
ChatGPT's Code Interpreter: Your secret weapon for SEO automation success - S...
 
Unleash the Solace Pub Sub connector | Banaglore MuleSoft Meetup #31
Unleash the Solace Pub Sub connector | Banaglore MuleSoft Meetup #31Unleash the Solace Pub Sub connector | Banaglore MuleSoft Meetup #31
Unleash the Solace Pub Sub connector | Banaglore MuleSoft Meetup #31
 
Elevating Cloud Infrastructure with Object Storage, DRS, VM Scheduling, and D...
Elevating Cloud Infrastructure with Object Storage, DRS, VM Scheduling, and D...Elevating Cloud Infrastructure with Object Storage, DRS, VM Scheduling, and D...
Elevating Cloud Infrastructure with Object Storage, DRS, VM Scheduling, and D...
 
Mind your App Footprint 🐾⚡️🌱 (@FlutterHeroes 2024)
Mind your App Footprint 🐾⚡️🌱 (@FlutterHeroes 2024)Mind your App Footprint 🐾⚡️🌱 (@FlutterHeroes 2024)
Mind your App Footprint 🐾⚡️🌱 (@FlutterHeroes 2024)
 
Improving IT Investment Decisions and Business Outcomes with Integrated Enter...
Improving IT Investment Decisions and Business Outcomes with Integrated Enter...Improving IT Investment Decisions and Business Outcomes with Integrated Enter...
Improving IT Investment Decisions and Business Outcomes with Integrated Enter...
 
PrismCRM-RealEstate-SalesCRM_byCode5Company
PrismCRM-RealEstate-SalesCRM_byCode5CompanyPrismCRM-RealEstate-SalesCRM_byCode5Company
PrismCRM-RealEstate-SalesCRM_byCode5Company
 
CloudStack 101: The Best Way to Build Your Private Cloud – Rohit Yadav, VP Ap...
CloudStack 101: The Best Way to Build Your Private Cloud – Rohit Yadav, VP Ap...CloudStack 101: The Best Way to Build Your Private Cloud – Rohit Yadav, VP Ap...
CloudStack 101: The Best Way to Build Your Private Cloud – Rohit Yadav, VP Ap...
 
Transcript: Trending now: Book subjects on the move in the Canadian market - ...
Transcript: Trending now: Book subjects on the move in the Canadian market - ...Transcript: Trending now: Book subjects on the move in the Canadian market - ...
Transcript: Trending now: Book subjects on the move in the Canadian market - ...
 
Centralized TLS Certificates Management Using Vault PKI + Cert-Manager
Centralized TLS Certificates Management Using Vault PKI + Cert-ManagerCentralized TLS Certificates Management Using Vault PKI + Cert-Manager
Centralized TLS Certificates Management Using Vault PKI + Cert-Manager
 
Microsoft x 2toLead Webinar Session 1 - How Employee Communication and Connec...
Microsoft x 2toLead Webinar Session 1 - How Employee Communication and Connec...Microsoft x 2toLead Webinar Session 1 - How Employee Communication and Connec...
Microsoft x 2toLead Webinar Session 1 - How Employee Communication and Connec...
 
The Art of the Possible with Graph by Dr Jim Webber Neo4j.pptx
The Art of the Possible with Graph by Dr Jim Webber Neo4j.pptxThe Art of the Possible with Graph by Dr Jim Webber Neo4j.pptx
The Art of the Possible with Graph by Dr Jim Webber Neo4j.pptx
 
My Journey towards Artificial Intelligence
My Journey towards Artificial IntelligenceMy Journey towards Artificial Intelligence
My Journey towards Artificial Intelligence
 
Q4 2023 Quarterly Investor Presentation - FINAL.pdf
Q4 2023 Quarterly Investor Presentation - FINAL.pdfQ4 2023 Quarterly Investor Presentation - FINAL.pdf
Q4 2023 Quarterly Investor Presentation - FINAL.pdf
 
Low Latency at Extreme Scale: Proven Practices & Pitfalls
Low Latency at Extreme Scale: Proven Practices & PitfallsLow Latency at Extreme Scale: Proven Practices & Pitfalls
Low Latency at Extreme Scale: Proven Practices & Pitfalls
 
software-quality-assurance question paper 2023
software-quality-assurance question paper 2023software-quality-assurance question paper 2023
software-quality-assurance question paper 2023
 
Enterprise Architecture As Strategy - Book Review
Enterprise Architecture As Strategy - Book ReviewEnterprise Architecture As Strategy - Book Review
Enterprise Architecture As Strategy - Book Review
 

I'm with Stupid

Editor's Notes

  1. I’ve worked in the A&M Health Science Center, the System Offices, and now the Writing Center, a tiny office staffed mostly by student workers. I do freelance work for authors, mostly in science fiction and romance. I also do my mom’s business site.
  2. “Anatomy of a Noob: Why Your Mom Sucks at Computers” is a great article on the way real people use computers, and why the standard desktop-and-mouse interface just doesn’t work for many people.
  3. The whole article is well worth reading, as are the comments on Hacker News in response.
  4. How many times have you heard this one?
  5. My students have a habit of not telling me about a problem with their profiles or Word or the scheduling app or whatever... until they find out that someone else is having the same problem. If one person has the problem, even if it happens every day for two weeks, they’ll think they’re doing something to trigger it.
  6. When we-the-geeks see an application crash or toss an error message onto the screen, we understand what’s happening. Our users don’t. They’re walking a tightrope every time they log in, and anything unexpected makes them fall off, leaving them completely helpless.
  7. For those who didn’t hear about it, a few months ago, a news site called ReadWriteWeb had an article that, for some reason, became the #1 Google result for “Facebook login” within hours of its publication. The article has hundreds of comments from annoyed Facebook users who thought this article was a redesigned login page.
  8. I noticed this five years ago when I was working at the System Offices. That’s the umbrella administration over all ten Texas A&M Universities and its seven state agencies. When we surveyed our readers prior to redesigning the site, many of them told us we were missing information on specific degree programs, campus maps, and bus routes. Despite the different logo, URL, and site design, most of them had no idea they weren’t on the main campus website. People can’t see websites holistically any better than they can desktops. They’ve developed sidebar blindness in addition to banner blindness.
  9. If you aren’t familiar with Readability, you should check it out. It’s a bookmarklet that strips ads and design elements from newspaper articles and blog entries and reformats the text according to your preferences. Why aren’t we designing pages like this in the first place?
  10. These comments generated a lot of derision from alpha geeks who didn’t understand why someone would Google for the Facebook login page every time they wanted to use the site, rather than typing in the URL or using a bookmark. People don’t understand the difference between the two text inputs at the top of their browser windows, but they do know that the one on the left generates an error message if you mess something up, whereas the one on the right understands what you ask it for and offers corrections if you misspell something. (Incidentally, I can think of three reasons people don’t use bookmarks: they’re accustomed to losing them when something goes wrong with their roaming profiles or when they switch or upgrade browsers; they know that when the website gets redesigned their old bookmarks will no longer work; and they don’t know how to get into the bookmark manager to delete or update old bookmarks.)
  11. People use the more forgiving input, the search box, because they know bad things will happen if they make a mistake. They’ll see an error message that seems to be yelling at them, or they’ll go to the wrong page.
  12. I read this article about seven years ago, and I’ve often joked about it to my Windows-using friends, but really, it’s true for all of us. Mac users might not get slapped around quite as much unless we’re using Adobe products, but we’ve all grown accustomed to lost data, applications that crash, and error messages that don’t tell us how to fix or avoid the problem.
  13. Obviously, this is an exaggeration -- we don’t fear for our physical safety when using a computer! -- but it does provide a useful model for understanding how our users think.
  14. In response to the ReadWriteWeb/Facebook fiasco, a guy named Ed Finkler from Purdue wrote an article called “We’re the Stupid Ones.” He said at first, he laughed along with everyone else at the silly people who use Google to find Facebook every day... but then he realized that we’ve failed as developers. He wrote, “When folks need an elevator, we should give them an elevator, not an airplane.”
  15. “We’ve been giving them airplanes for 30 years, and then laughing at them for being too stupid to fly them right.”
  16. If these PhDs, these students with amazing resumes, are “stupid users,” then I’m with stupid.
  17. How?
  18. The first step is to make it easier to ask for help or report a problem.
  19. There’s been a lot written about 404 error pages, so you’re probably already doing a couple of these things. Start with the language. Most 404 errors say something like, “The file you requested could not be found.” Do you hear how passive that is? Take ownership of the problem! “I’m sorry. I couldn’t find the page you wanted. However, I searched for the words you entered, and I think one of these pages might be the one you were looking for...”
  20. But what about those other error messages? Don’t let the server defaults appear here. Give people alternative ways to accomplish their tasks when the computer fails them.
  21. Admit imperfection on every page. Invite people to tell you what’s wrong, and do the hard part for them. It should be trivial to include the referring URL in a hidden form field.
  22. Make yourself available. Add phone numbers everywhere! Don’t hide behind the mean machine.
  23. Don’t rely on volunteers; they’re the ones who AREN’T afraid of the computer.
  24. Grab people who didn’t come in to your office with the intention of helping out with the website. Ask them if they have two minutes to see how the website works for them, with you looking over their shoulders. Ask your new hires. They don’t know where anything is yet. Do you have any retirees who’ve come back to work part time? They have very different perspectives. Get the accident-prone users to test your web apps. They’ll find out what happens when you press the submit button forty times in two minutes. When you ask to meet with a group to go over their web content, most likely you’re going to be talking to the person in charge of the group and maybe some subject matter experts. Are you also talking to the people who actually answer the phones? They’re the ones who know what questions aren’t being answered on the website and which forms people can’t find.
  25. I don’t mean lower the bar; I mean, look at your organization’s strategic goals and see if ANY of them are based on your users’ needs, and not your own.
  26. This stuff is super basic. Is it in your strategic plan? Do you just assume you’re going to do this stuff, or do you spell it out and measure your progress toward these goals? Do you have an ongoing process to identify tasks that can’t be done online and make sure they get automated? Our strategic plans tend to look like, “We want a 20% increase in visitors every year for the next three years.” But what good does that do if we don’t provide them with the things they need once they get there? We have to flip the priorities around. We have to privilege the users’ goals over our institutions’ -- otherwise the things our bosses want to push onto our users will take priority when budgets get cut. These goals I’ve listed are generic. Figure out what users want out of YOUR website and put those things into the strategic plan.
  27. After you’ve done those other things, and you’re down to the metaphors you really do need to use, explain them. Don’t assume that everyone knows what to do.
  28. How many of us slap a feed icon on a blog sidebar and expect our readers to know what to do with it? On all the sites I work on, our feeds are used more internally, as a way to shunt information around between silos, than they’re used by our readers. When we add a small link explaining what a feed is and how to use it, and we offer an option to subscribe by email instead, use of feeds increases. Feedburner offers a feed-to-email service. Several email marketing companies do, too. I know MailChimp is one of them.
  29. I love using microformats. They’re a wonderfully easy way to convert web content into files that can be used in desktop applications. But you have to explain them! They aren’t mainstream yet -- and anyway, your users don’t really get the desktop apps in the first place.
  30. To sum up... Don’t offer seventeen ways of doing something. Figure out the best way, the one that serves most of your users, and do it that way.
  31. Users are blind to the peripherals, so leave them out! Do we really need sidebars full of links on either side of the president’s blog?
  32. Every time you add something, ask: Is this really necessary? Will people really use it? Do our readers understand why this is here?