Friday, 16 July 2010

Click here to read this post

This is a post only to make a quick question:

Why people still think now a days that it is necessary to name links "click here"?

Shouldn't the "click" be expressed graphically?

Buttons, underlining, colours, some effects... there are so many ways and conventions to show that a word, an image, a button is a link (it is clickable) that I wonder why would it be necessary to use the wording "click here".

Very often the use of "click here" just increase the number of words without adding any meaning to the action of the link.

If you have, for example "click here to add a comment" the user will need to read the sentence, think and then click. While "add a comment" just needs the user to scan it and they will know what that link is about. It has been proved by research that users scan a page (they don't read a page) and then stop only in places they are interested in (if you are reading this post, for example, you scanned the blog, scanned the title and went deeper into this post because it interested you).

All of this sound quite obvious, but I've had some discussions recently where people supported the argument for "click here" that really surprised me. For example saying "users won't get it". Won't they?!

After reading the book "Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability" by Steve Krug (click here to see what book I am talking about) every time I'm designing a button or another kind of link, I remember the point about call to action. The call to action on a button should be on what the user will receive by clicking that link.

As also mentioned by Jacob Nielsen in 2005:

"Explain what users will find at the other end of the link (...) Don't use "click here" or other non-descriptive link text."

(Nielsen, J. on Ten Top Design mistakes, 2005)

One good example showed by Krug was this image below:

The window which has the buttons "Don't save", "cancel", "save" require less thinking because they are self-explanatory. It is easier for the user to make a choice by just scanning that window. The other window requires the user to think.

Having said all that, I would like to hear from you:

Can you think about any situation where adding the wording "click here" is appropriate or necessary?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I love this book!

I'll start this blog talking about one of my favorite books in design: "Emotional Design - Why we love or hate everyday things", by Donald Norman which I read many years ago.

"Emotional Design - Why we love or hate everyday things" is about the relationship between usability and attractiveness. Norman argues that when the user is emotionally engaged with an object, when they find it attractive and when the object makes them happy, the object becomes easier to use.

Norman described the 3 ways in which the designed object can make you emotionally involved: Visceral, Behavioral and Reflective.

The Visceral design is about our primitive sensations and reactions. It is about immediate emotional impact. The physical features (look, feel and sound) of an object dominate.

Taking websites as examples: I may be able to apply this to the Apple website and fast foods delivery websites - which makes you desire the product they are selling in a visceral level.

Behavioral design is about the use of the object. The performance of the object is what matters.

Example: Online banking. The behavior and functionality of this product is the most important part of in bank websites.

The Reflective Design is about the meaning of the object and its use. It is about long-term customer experience, memories, personal satisfaction. This experience is related to culture, meaning, message and use of the product. It is when you look back and you are still emotionally engaged with the object, you still love the product.

How can we apply this theory in our everyday life as a web designer/ developer?

I apply these three aspects in my everyday life when I am designing a product, no matter if it is a real object or an online application.

In the concept phase
I question what I want the user to get delight from. Is it important that they engage with the product in the first instance (visceral) and have the impulse to consume it? Or do I want them to feel engaged by the behaviour of the product, the usability, the functionality, etc? Is it all together? Or do I want them to get attached to the product after digesting it? The answer for these questions may help leading the process in which the project will go to achieve its audience more effectively and success of the product.

I not only recommend designers to read this book (if there is any designer who didn't yet) but also try to apply this thought process in the concept phase of the project.

If you are interested in this subject, come back here later as I'll post more about emotional design and delight.

The book:
"Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things". Norman, D. (2004)
A presentation by D. Norman about the same subject:
TED: Don Norman on 3 ways good design makes you happy

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Hello World - A brief introduction

Hello there!

We are starting this blog to share with you our views on web design, usability and web development.

We are: James Morris, a web developer (BSc in Web Computing) and Mariana Mota, an interactive designer (MA in Interactive Media and BA in Graphic Design) who share the same interests.

On this blog we will talk about usability mainly, but will also cover issues on design and development. Our aim is to discuss, analyse and bring forward our thoughts and ideas on usability. Not only using our opinions but what we read, research and experience in everyday working life. We may also talk about what our professional peers, leaders on this topic and users are discussing.

We believe that these disciplines are complementary and can overlap. Usability is a prime example of this.

We hope you like this blog and we are looking forward to hearing your thoughts! :)

James Morris &
Mariana Mota