mardi, décembre 07, 2004

Let's change the subject in a roundabout way

I love this article in Wired, because it makes so much sense, but it's so counterintuitive. No street signs. No crosswalks. No accidents. Surprise: Making driving seem more dangerous could make it safer.

My job is also to get people from point a to point b safely, but instead of asphalt I use web pages. I've heard people talk about how certain e-commerce sites train their customers to use the site one way or another. If I'm in a good mood I'll chalk a remark like that up to naivete, if I'm not I'll chalk it up to idiocy. In any case, lots of web pages are like complicated intersections. Lot's of people trying to do different things at the same time. You can't train them to do anything in particular or tell them explicitly what to do. All you can do is make it clear what the options are and let them negotiate their way to it. Even though they can't see the other users with cross purposes trying to do task x while they do task y, those people are still in their way in the form of fights over page real estate, labeling and navigation design. I think things are so much better when they are just kept simple.


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