usability 101

I like this list of ways to make usable web site but it’s just a beginning. It’s too broad to be of much use. I would like to see both good and bad examples and read an in depth explanation on how people can implement the changes on their own site.

For instance, #7 suggests having fast loading pages. What is fast? How can I make my site load faster? A few ideas I had off the top of my head would be to reduce the number of images, make sure the size of the page is reasonable, avoid loading images from another site and making sure your web hosting provider has a fast connection. I’m sure there are more, but even for that list I’d like to see some numbers. If I remove lots of small images I want to know how much faster my site would be. Are HTML tables or style sheets rendered faster in most browsers? I guess it’s the programmer in me, but I don’t like to make a decision on gut feelings. They are often wrong.

I heartily agree with the third comment that the best way to make your site usable is to use it. I have made countless changes to my home page after using it and finding that it was awkward or could be done better another way. If you can get feedback from users, great, but most people won’t take the time to tell you how to improve your web site. Another important part is testing on different platforms and in different browsers. Don’t forget the text only browsers which can reveal problems that you wouldn’t see in a graphical one.





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