Web Design

Usability

Last updated Mar 1, 2004.

By Meryl Evans

This section is about the human factors of Web sites. Web sites are like products in that they should know what the user wants and provide it. Good usability is invisible because the user can get around and accomplish the tasks without fighting his way around. Usability is a formalized science that is still being defined, but has roots entrenched in the disciplines of human factors, user interface engineering, and software design.

Think of it like a car. How effective would a car be if the place where you insert the key were behind the driver's seat? At foot level? On the passenger's side? Ridiculous, but some sites make it hard to find things and complete tasks. Steve Krug, author of Don't Make Me Think!, says it best with his book's title and his first law of usability, "Don't make me think!"