Monday, June 9, 2014

Review and notes from "Don't Make Me Think": Part 3

Don't Make Me Think: Part 3

Don goes into lots of detail on searching, but most of it basically boils down to this:  have a search box, have it on every page, and make it search everything.  Don't give me options on what to search by, or ways to scope the results.  Search the site, and give me all the results.  If I need to narrow the results allow me to do it after I have them.  Don't pretty it up, don't use fancy working.  Search, a box, and a button.
Every page needs a name. [...] The name needs to be in the right place.  The page name should appear to be framing the content that is unique to this page. [...] The name needs to be prominent. [...]  The name needs to match what I clicked. [...]  every site makes an implicit social contract with its visitors:  The name of the page will match the words I clicked to get there.
I'm not personally sold on this, but I defer to Don's judgement here.  Personally I don't really care what the name of each web page is, but I'm not a normal web user either (who is though?).  Don provides his research results for most of his reasoning, but not here.
Tabs are one of the very few cases where using a physical metaphor in a user interface actually works. [...] For tabs to work to full effect, the graphics have to create the visual illusion that the active tab is in front of the other tabs.  [...] To create this illusion, the active tab needs to be a different color or contrasting shade, and it has to physically connect with the space below it.
Seems pretty self evident to me, just make sure your tab background color matches the page color, and that there are no lines between the active tab and the page.

This one seems marginal at best to me because of the banner there between the tab heading and the tab content.

This one is even worse because the tab color is not the same as the page, and it has a line between the tab and the page:
This is what you should be shooting for, active tab color different, directly connected to the page, and same as the background of the page.
Home pages:
As quickly and clearly as possible, the Home page needs to answer the four questions I have in my head when I enter a new site for the first time:
  1. What is this?
  2. What do they have here?
  3. What can I do here?
  4. Why should I be here, and not somewhere else?
I need to be able to answer these questions at a glance, correctly and unambiguously, with very little effort.
[...] The fifth question: Where do I start?
I paraphrased the following, but these are his categories he says the user should be able to answer for starting a process.  The last question may be unimportant if you're not running an e-commerce site.
  1. Where do I start if I want to search?
  2. Where do I start if I want to browse?
  3. Where do I look for their best stuff?
Seems self evident to me.  Just keep those four questions in mind.  Unfortunately the hard part is going to be making this clear and unambiguous.  Like adding more text than needed, everyone wants a piece of that home page.

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