Sometimes we don’t have ten minutes. A minute or under is just enough to get what we need.
Webpronews Answers is ready when you are. They’ve put up five quickie videos, which are snippets of conversations from longer videos. There’s Matt Cutts, Brian Mark, Ted Ulle, Vanessa Fox and may I present, 50 seconds of yours truly answering the mystery question – “How Should I Place Usability on my Site?”
Honestly, as flattered as I am to have 50 seconds of me sitting anywhere near Matt Cutts and Vanessa Fox on a web page, I think my answer on the video barely answers the question. It does contain the key idea that no matter what we think “would be nice” to put on our website, the driving force behind any design decision is WHY do you want it there and WHO will benefit by it?
This is not a task to be envied. For example, I’m working on a site for a company whose services are designed to benefit and target young people, such as Generation X and Y. The site design reflects the coolness factor, and requires the latest technology to run properly. However, the actual target user for this site is far older. They’re more likely executive level professionals, for whom download times are an issue because they don’t have time to wait. Small font sizes are a hazard, as are poor contrasts on newer bright flat screen monitors. These are people who are on their mobile devices with directors and staff, while scanning a web page for information they want at the same time.
The site is designed to show off what the company can do, but the people using the site aren’t the actual target market for whom their services are actually intended for. Young people in love with the latest gizmos don’t have a reason to go to this website.
For this company, rather than make the whole site a big show piece, they need to decide where to place the demonstration parts of the site and pull forward sections which are strictly for describing and marketing their services in the most concise manner possible. They need to analyze key user tasks and build click paths for these tasks into the site design.
How can you place better user centered elements on your web site?
If actual target market user testing can’t be done, take a moment to visualze your visitor, their day, their environment, their lack of sleep, back to back meetings, constant interruptions and even inability to read fast or avoid on page distractions.
Imagine trying to use your website holding your breath under water, just to see what it’s like.
It’s more than my 50 second answer, but I think it’s clever of Webpronews to tease us like this.