Chad the Elder has a cri de coeur that is music to my ears.
He’s talking about “e-business” sites – shopping sites for places like Amazon, Best Buy, yadda yadda – and a key problem many of them have; they’re just not designed for real people to use them.
He wants the companies to…:
Make it Easy to use: The other day I was trying to find some information on a local hotel/water park. The web site was chock full of neat looking Flash animation and graphics. But when I tried to find out how much it would cost to use the water park on a particular day I entered a cyber-hell of being forced to follow link upon link upon link (while animation played for each one) until I was finally able to find what I was looking for. And then, when I was curious about the room rates, I had to go through the same rigmarole again only to eventually be instructed to “call for information.” Arghhh! If I wanted to call, I would have done that in the first place. The whole idea of visiting the web site was so that I didn’t have to make a fargin’ phone call.
This sort of thing tells me I’ll have work to do for a long, long time. It’s almost a game, trying to guess why a “e-business” site turns out like that.
The usual suspects:
- Management thinks “usability” means “sizzle”.
- Management thinks graphics artists are qualified to design human-computer interaction.
- Management are former programmers, who think “user centered design” is some touchy-feely commie fad – where it is, in fact, a highly empirical, indeed scientific, approach to making software, including web sites, usable.
Elder enjoins business to…:
Think about the top two or three reasons that customers are visiting your site and make that information as easy to find as possible. Fancy graphics are nice, but what I really care about is finding what I’m looking for as quickly as possible.
It shouldn’t be all that complicated…make it easy to find critical information. It ain’t rocket science, it’s just the internet.
If it were easy, anyone could do it.
(Merry Christmas, fellow HCI geeks)