Great presentation by Luke Wroblewski on “What Every Web Designer Should Know.”
Amazon.com’s latest version of its ebook reader, Kindle 2 has been making headlines around the world since it’s public release last month. The new version of Kindle has many improvements in its interface and design. However, there are still some usability issues with the product.
I recently read usability review of Kindle 2 by Jakob Nielsen and I agree with most of his arguments about some usability failures of the device.
It is really exciting to see how much potential this devices has in transforming the publishing industry and book readers in coming years. When I tested Kindle 2 I really liked certain aspects of the device and dissapointed with some its design & usability issues.
My suggestion for Kindle engineers is to make the screen touchable just like an iPhone, which will dramatically improve the navigation and usability of the device.
Here are some of things that I liked and disliked about Kindle 2.
- Form: Light Weight and Thin
- Readability: Screen is readable on any angle
- Navigation: Easy to Read & Turn book pages
- Legibility: Adjust Text Size to small to large
- Ergonomics: Anti-reflective & black and white screen reduces eye strain
- Form: Mouse (aka four-way joystick) is very difficult to use
- Readability: Screen area is small, keyboard takes up too much space
- Navigation: Navigating links or table of contents in blogs, newspapers and magazines is not intuitive
- Form: Power On and Off button is clunky, not sure when it is on or off
- Design: The design of the device is not cutting edge
According to Robert Hoekman, User-Centered Design (UCD) is broken. His in depth explanation on why UCD no longer works especially with teams on limited time and resources is very convincing, and possibly have some truth in it. Read this three part article at Peachpit, and you might agree with him at the end.
Don Norman’s write-up on Simplicity is a good read. He points out that “simplicity is not the answer” for all design problems.
The giant retailer, Target settled the lawsuit brought by the National Federation of the Blind for inaccessibility of Target’s web site to people with visual disabilities. The magic number for the settlement was $6 million. Although the settlement amount is nothing to write home about. However this case will push other big box retailers (or any other online retailer) to start cleaning house and bring their web sites up to standards. By standards I mean the 508 Web Accessibility Standards.
Update (9/17/08): Just in time, Digital Web Magazine published an article on “Understanding Disabilities when Designing a Website“.
Computerworld magazine highlights 10 biggest Web annoyances, which is right on target, except they forgot to include Pop-ads that keep coming up on their site as well other millions of sites on the web. So here is their list of top 10 annoyances:
- Dubious privacy policies
- Difficult online forms
- Overcommercialization of the Web
- Need for standards
- Trolls in forums
- Buying event tickets
- Web 2.0 help doesn’t help
- The expense of e-books
- Disappointing Web video
- Boring virtual worlds
You can read the full article on their web site.
Reading this article made me come up with my own top 10 web annoyances, here they are:
- Blog Spammers
- Endless pop-up ads on popular web sites
- Flash ads that automatically expand over content areas
- Flash intros on sites without ‘skip intro’ options
- Autoloading music and avatars on sites
- Overuse of AJAX without purpose and function
- Reset buttons on Web Forms
- Animated banner ads
- Snap Preview screens for all links on a web page
Share your web annoyances by commenting below.
After playing around with an iPhone, I am really impressed with Apple’s new mobile device. However, it does not have everything, and there are still some areas that could use some updates or additions.
There are 10 things I would like to see Apple engineers add to the iPhone (or iPhone 2.0):
- Cut & Paste button or function (there is none right now)
- GPS plugin or IP based geolocator for Google Maps
- Zoom feature for the Camera
- Video shooting using the Camera
- Flash support for Safari
- File storage and viewer
- Ability to record sound
- Option to have multiple signatures for different email accounts
- Vertical viewing for emails
- Improve and Add a new to do list application
Here are few more critical issues that needs to be also addressed on the iPhone that I forgot to include on my previous post:
- Battery Life (is not good)
- Microphone volume control (low quality)
- Better download Speed for EDGE Network
Download the Presentation in PDF (1.46 MB)
The article Web 2.0: The Power Behind the Hype by Jared Spool offers a fresh perspective on Web 2.0 from a usability stand point. He explains some of the usability implications and benefits of using these technologies both by users and developers.
Download the Presentation in PDF (1.85 MB)
NYTimes compares the latest “smart-phones” against iPhone. The striking thing about this image above is the simplicity of iPhone’s physical interface compared to other phones.
How many physical buttons does iPhone have? One vs. smart phones 35-50 different buttons. That’s all I need on my phone, just one button. Simplicity rules.
I recently came across Usability.gov, which has some great guidelines, resources, and templates on usability & user-centered design.