Posts About Usability

The confusion of new custom top level domains

Interesting ICANN announcement that anyone will be able to create their own custom top level domains (TLDs). So I would be able to buy a domain name like www.webdeveloper.chrispeters.

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How SEO helps with Information Architecture

SEO is indeed related to other user experience disciplines: usability, accessibility, and search usability. In my final part of this series, I would like to talk about how it gives a helping hand to Information Architecture (IA). Strap in for one last look at a more altruistic view of SEO. You may not see anything positive about SEO again for a while!

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PDF is overused on the Web; let’s blame content management systems

Probably the biggest annoyance in developing government web sites has been the overuse of the PDF format. But the problem extends beyond government sites. On the web are hordes of PDFs. I’ve been taught over the years that PDF is not optimal for delivering content over the Web, but I’ve recently discovered more information that backs this notion.

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Book Review: The Invisible Computer

The Invisible Computer by Donald A. NormanI love Don Norman’s The Invisible Computer. It is packed with so many great ideas and observations that I cannot share them all with you without writing a book myself. So here are the basic points of the book.

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The human-centered view vs. the machine-centered view

Don't design for a cyborg. Design for a human.Don Norman makes a great observation about the mindset of most of today’s technology professionals at the end of Chapter 7 in The Invisible Computer. Most technology professionals still look at technology solutions from a machine-centered point of view. Norman suggests a solution by pointing out a different point of view where the human wins.

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Target equals blank must die!

Your user’s leaving your site is not a reason to use target="_blank" in your anchor tags. Your user’s switching to a different server or application on your company’s web site is not a reason either. Give it up. Find a new attribute to use in your <a> tags. Maybe the title attribute? Hmm?

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Usability testing presentation at Spring

Spring Break Conference 2006

Carolyn Snyder presented about usability testing based on her experience as a usability specialist. The information was basic (meant to be an introduction), but I still learned a couple things.

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When usability is a buzzword

It frustrates me to no end when someone mentions usability but clearly demonstrates that he or she doesn’t know what usability is all about.

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Everything you’d ever want to know about the alt attribute

When you have a restless mind like mine, you start reading crazy things like articles about the Use of ALT texts in IMGs.* A.J. Flavell brings up some excellent points about the original intention of alt texts in img tags and how they are commonly misused. These misuses can produce some funny results and, more tragically, a horrible user experience for those who are unable to view graphics in their browsers.

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Usability of poetry

In my college Creative Writing courses, we spent the majority of class time holding poetry workshops. The more that I think about it, the more I realize that these workshops were basically rudimentary poetry usability tests. The fact that we spent the majority of class time doing this activity shows how important these “usability tests” were in drafting a poem that was a good experience.

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