It's a UN*X box. Just get used to it.. [ via Zeldman ] You'd think that web designers would be happy now that they can test, on their desktops, their work in an environment more or less the same as it'll be in that rackmount at the data center. No, they aren't. It's a culture… Continue reading It's a UN*X box. Just get used to it.
There are no Secrets: Top law firm hit by 'padding' claims. Clifford Chance, the world's largest law firm, is putting so much pressure on its junior lawyers in the US that they are encouraged to over-record the amount of time spent on clients' [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]
“Fall back and Spring ahead.” Don't forget to reset your clocks. About Daylight Saving Time – History, rationale, laws & dates. [Privacy Digest]
The Boston Globe: This is amazing. Billions are being poured into the FBI and other governmental organizations and they can't even get the basics right. The FBI in Washington state interviewed a witness last summer who said that John Allen Muhammad, now one of the sniper suspects, was trying to obtain a silencer for his… Continue reading The Boston Globe
My weekly column. For seven weeks now, I've been writing a weekly column on strategic software development issues. It's currently being delivered primarily as an email newsletter, but the columns are now also posted online. I'll blurb them here going forward, and will also collect them in my InfoWorld category. It has its own RSS… Continue reading My weekly column
Web site usability on DesDev – I have joined the ranks of the pundits in making my opinions known on what makes good web design. The article is now up on the DesDev center. Come read it and let me know what you think here. There used to be a lot of articles on the web… Continue reading Web site usability on DesDev
Usability tip – In case you aren't going to go read my full article (story below) here is the first tip. Get to know your audience and design for themnot for yourself or your colleagues You are a professional. You work with design every day; you work on the web every day. Your colleagues probably… Continue reading
Usability tip – In case you aren't going to go read my full article (story below) here is the first tip.
Get to know your audience and design for themnot for yourself or your colleagues
But, guess what. People who visit the web pages that you create are NOT part of that elite. They are probably so much less knowledgeable of the technologies that you are working with that it is easy for you to forget how removed they are. Most of the people who visit your web pages are people like my motherboth in terms of the number of browsers that they are familiar with and in terms of the dollars that they have available to spend online. Remember that they get new browsers when they upgrade computersnot when one company or another decides to release an update. The people who visit your web pages know may nothing about plug-ins or Java or anything other than “www.” In fact, they may not even what “www” means.
If the majority of the people who are going to be buying your client's products are like my mother, then you had better reconcile yourself to the fact that they are the customers you need to please.
There are a variety of ways you can get to know your audience. One way is to use surveys. You or your client can also pay for demographic information about your market.
Perhaps the best way to get to know your audience is to get to know your audiencefirsthand. If you are selling bricks and mortar on your website, then spend a morning in the parking lot of a bricks and mortar store. Watch the store's customers as they go in and out of the store. See what they are buying. Do the same to see the customers of a service-oriented business. Sit in the lobby of a doctor's office or in a building with lawyers in it. Whatever the business, get to know the customers.
Here are some demographic considerations to take into account when identifying your target audience:
- If you see that your customers are all middle aged or older, think about type size. Make sure your text isn't isn't too small or difficult to read.
- If you have a primarily male audience, you have to think about color-blindness. If you are working with women, you don't have this concern.
- If your audience is younger, maybe you should have less text and more graphics (including Flash content).
- If your audience is likely to spend money easily, put a special offer on the front page of the site. If they are the thrifty sort, make the special offer a reduced-price special offer.
Even after you've considered the demographics and propensities of your likely audience, put yourself in the shoes of the business store clerk. Consider, for instance: where you would put the “on sale” items? If you open your eyes and get out of your technology-elite perspective, you might find out something about your audience and it just might surprise you.
How about an example of good design and great usability? One site I like is Joann.com
The Mason Book. [ via Camworld ] O'Reilly's published a book on HTML::Mason, which I've not had the opportunity to work with, but I've seen some extensive demos. Mason drives Salon and The Nation. [More Like This WebLog]
Tim Bray on XML in Office 11. This came up on the XML-Dev list as well as /., but Tim Bray spent some time looking at the 'native' XML format MS is promising for Office 11, they are baroque, but they are XML. [More Like This WebLog]
A dusting of snow on the ground this morning in Ipswich.