Web Application Usability Help

I love testing web applications.  As you might imagine, I’ve seen many in my work.  I admire web designers who create beautifully understandable, user centric procedures.

One application that never fails to drive everyone crazy are travel sites that try to do it all. Their applications attempt to book a flight, hotel room and rent a car. Alone, these tasks can be confusing to do online. Add them all together and something is bound to be a source of confusion or abandonment.  For inspiration, try Wizard Design Patterns. Widget developers looking for front-end design help may enjoy this too.

Another lead is 10 Useful Web Application Interface Techniques. This article is loaded with solutions.

Enterprise software…if you work in software development, you know the broad range of problems, from project management to production. My takeaway from working in this environment is that usability and user experience are the last considerations. Everyone who has ever worked on enterprise software development can tell you horror stories of bad communication between departments, requirements that are ignored, money that’s wasted due to bad decisions and untold weekends of overtime devoted to fixing mistakes.   The User Experience of Enterprise Software Matters is a great piece.

So why aren’t users’ wants and needs considered earlier in the development lifecycle? There are many reasons, but I can boil them down to this short list:

* Vendors build applications to satisfy their own perceptions of users’ needs, not users’ actual needs.
* Engineering groups own too much responsibility for user interface design.
* Featuritis makes applications unnecessarily complex.

Other Picks

From Shari Thurow, Why User Experience is a Crucial Part of Good SEO

Search engine optimization is all about the user experience, because the idea behind SEO is to get users to their desired information and destination(s) as quickly and easily as possible by using the users’ language (keywords).

From Lance Loveday, Social Media Gold: Ratings & Reviews

Not that I’m a great oracle, but it seemed plain as day to me that a traditional interrupt-driven advertising model was never going to work in an environment where users are focused on connecting with each other in a highly personal way. Yet that’s what Facebook was preparing to launch at the time. Sure enough, users have largely ignored Facebook ads and the Facebook team is back at the drawing board trying to figure out how to monetize all their great demographic and behavioral data. What Facebook (and Microsoft, apparently) failed to understand is that people use Facebook to connect with each other.