Checked out xxx lately?

So – have you checked outĀ http://app.net yet? Seems interesting since I am no longer on facebook. Also – I am thinking to downoload a trial version of http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnigraffle/ . It seems to be running only on mac. Have you ever tried it? Maybe it is a good alternative to Balsamiq? šŸ™‚

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Usability and Performance

One important factor for usability that is not normally listed under traditional usability factors, is performance. It does not matter how functional a system is or how fabolous a website looks if it runs to slow. Bad performance annoys the … out of users and systems like that are avoided like the plague. An analogy is my local bus route – it runs 12 times pr hour in the mornings – which is very good, but when it is so full that I can not get on it, it doesn’t do any good at all..
So the moral is – when creating fantastic design and and user friendly systems – please do not forget to pay attention to the expected load and if the system actually can handle it.

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The Principle of Feedback

The Principle of Feedback is one of NormanĀ“s three usability principles. The other two are the Principle of Visability and the Principle of Affordance.

The principle of feedback is something that most appliances designers should be aware of.Ā  Feedback allows user to observe if his or hers actions have been accomplished. As with most usability principles, when used correctly, the user wont even notice that the principle is in use. And if used incorrectly or not at all, will needlesly aggravate the user.

Take for example my TV channel provider.

This is my TV channel appliance when turned off:

This is my TV channel appliance when turned on:

As you can see, there is no difference. One would think if wouldn’t be too taxing to make the light turn green when the device was turned on, and red when turned off. This means I have no way of knowing if this device is turned on or not, when the TV is turned off.

In general , it seems that the designers of this appliance have never heard of the principle of feedback. The remote control that controls the device does not emanate a small light when button is successfully pressed as most remote controls do. The device can also control the volume of the TV, but unlike every single other such controls IĀ“ve ever seen, there is no visible indication on the TV screen of the volume level when using the control. Volume level can of course be heard, but that is a poor indicator.Ā  With no visible feedback of volume level I as a user feel that I have less control over the device, which is aggravating.

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Learned helplessness and “Where am I?!?”

So what happened to this blog? Seemed quite quiet for a while….Well, the irony is that the lack of usability in WordPress kind of scared at least this author away. I tried to make a new post with a picture at least a couple of times following what I thought was logic, but it ended up pretty bad as one can see below. So I kind of got a bad beginning and was scared away. The information structure and links in WordPress seem to be caothic and lacking consistence. I experience as a User that I do not end up where I think I will end up and I do not get a clear sense of where I am. I more get the feeling of being in a labyrinth when I am in WordPress. This is not good. One important demand to a user friendly site or system, is to give consistent feed back to the user so that he can create a mental map of where he is and how the system is built and works. I must say that I am surprised that WordPress is lacking this since they have so many users. Also, it kind of adds to the confusion that it changes between 2 languages – some links are in Norwegian – others in English. Why? WordPress is making me feel a bit helpless as I have experienced that no matter what I try, I do not seem to get the desired result when trying to fx add a photo. Donald Normans talks about this as “Learned helplessness”. One clear method to make the users stay away – as this blog is a very good example of…

Well, since it is a new year I will give it a new try and see if I can get over my learned helplessness – time will show if I am able to!

-torill

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One function – one button

Only ONE button to call a taxi – very easy – very good. “DonĀ“t make me think” Steve Krug

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Affordance. Dog and umbrella in Brighton.

“An affordance is a quality of an object, or an environment, that allows an individual to perform an action. ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance

In this case an umbrella serves the function of something to tie the dog to – at the same time demonstrating that this function is missing. Looks cute though:)

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