Archive | October 2012

“Don’t Make Me Think” Gets me thinking

Steve Krug’s book “Don’t Make Me Think” is about the basics in usability through simplicity.  Although concepts discussed in this book seem like assumed knowledge, it does spark much thought and gets your brain thinking about basis in life that we normally would not have.  In evaluating my own blog through the concepts mentioned in the book this is what I have found.

The use of media in my blog up to this point is subpar.  There are no images included in any of the posts that can draw the human eye, or connect to what is written in the post.  However in almost every post there are links to other websites.  These links do not include a picture of the site logo, but there are summaries along with analysis of their content.

As for scan-ability I believe that the text is divided into manageable paragraphs and separated accordingly.  The text can be easily scannable and skimmble.  The longer entries however are not separated into subtitles and images.

As for the appearance and design, I believe that my blog’s design and appearance is more than sufficient.  It is simple and to the point.  The purpose of my blog is not to sell or advertise anything but to simply share my thoughts on any particular topic. I believe that the set up fulfills that purpose very well.  The colors are pretty and catch the eye yet are simple and unique.  The font size is proportionate, readable and organized very well.  When it comes to website “noise” my blog does not have any.  There are no images, everything is organized appropriately and the main focus is emphasized very well.

When writing on a website, there should be as little words used as possible needed to get the point accross.  There are a few of my blog posts inwhich I could have probably cut a lot of words out, but overall I believe I was concise enough to get my point accross using as few words as possible. The blog does not currenly have much of any neccesary navigation besides the home page which is where all of the posts are contained.  Eventually I would like to add pages to this blog once I get more substance to it.

The Title and tagline of my blog could use a little work.  At the beginning of this blog endevour I was very unfamiliar with the online blogging world and how it works, so if I had to do it all over again I would name my blog something different and add a catchy tagline.  As my blog progresses I would like to add both of these things to it.  Although my blog does not have an engaging title and tagline, I do have a clear concept running throughout my posts.  The root of all of my posts connects back to communications topics.  There are various situations that are analyzed and highlighted that all route back to the concept of communication.  There is a little bit of happy talk in the first and second blog post, but that “happy talk” also introduces people to what my blog is all about.

I know I might not have the best usability in this blog right now, but I am learning more each day on how to better my skills.  I hope to better this blog to the point where my evalution under the same criteria is all positive, and plan to eventually get there.

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Usability?

In the city of Philadelphia there are so many helpful non profit orgainizations willing to help those in need.  A big problem is that not many people may have the right information to be able to utilize these organizations to it’s fullest capacity.  A big factor in this is the usability of the particular company’s website.  Three websites of non-profit organizations that I found could benefit from a usability test include the Northeast Animal Rescue http://nar.rescuegroups.org/.  This website could use some tweeking in the sense that we can not tell what words are links or simply text, there is not a clear outline of where to go, and the site map link does not stand out very well.  Another non-profit website is Art-Reach http://www.art-reach.org/ this is a very useful and popular non-profit organization but could use help with the placement of links to different pages based on their imporatance as well as making the links stand out as opposed to just looking like standard text.  Philly AIDS Thrift http://www.phillyaidsthrift.com/ was another website that caught my eye in needing some usability help. Their webside has a whole lot going on all at once when you originally get on the website, and instead of having more links to various categories, everything is out on the website together.

The synergy of the senses

I never realized how much you truly use your five senses in day to day life before analyzing the use of pictures and sound in a few of the videos made from http://www.salt.edu/studentwork/multimedia/. Particularly “FIDDLE-ICIOUS”.  This is a story following musicians that play various instruments (one of course being the fiddle), and their journeys, feelings, and various personal experiences with their instrument of choice.

We as the listener/watcher would have received the message perfectly fine by simply listening, or even by just watching the scheme of pictures shown without sound.  What made this documentary phenomenal was the tasteful combination of the two.  Throughout almost the entire movie we hear the sound of the instrument that is being showcased with a voice over of the person who plays it.  During parts where what is being said is more important than hearing the instrument, it is silent with just the voice playing. 

The alignment of the pictures with the sounds and voices was fantastic.  The detail of the emotions shown in the pictures matched perfectly with the detail of the emotions heard in each particular person’s voice.  It was like we as the listener/viewer were right there with them at orchestra practice, and experiencing everything as they were.  I felt the fulfillment and pride the people being highlighted had in playing their instrument, and even though I have no musical ability, it made me want to play an instrument too.