Are we there yet? How the Four Hour Workweek applies to Usability

12th April 2012
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The 4 Hour Work Week book front cover

I’ve started reading The Four Hour Workweek and while the title is overly catchy, there’s some truth there. I first heard about the book and the author Timothy Ferriss in The New Yorker magazine (thanks mom!) and the principles therein are those I’m already pursuing – create a product and work that is self-sustaining:

Whether you’re an overworked employee or an entrepreneur trapped in your own business, The 4-Hour Workweek is the compass for a new and revolutionary world.

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan—there is no need to wait and every reason not to. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, high-end world travel, monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.

You can have it all—really.

Source

Humans like knowing how long things are going to take, so, to be successful let them know how much you want from them upfront. If she believes what you offer will save her time (and is fun to use = usable) she’s more likely to read, make a purchase, engage with you.

I like to apply this attention span principle to usability, which is why I’m particularly drawn to the concept of duration for blog posts. I’ve started using the Read Time plugin for wordpress on all my blog posts so you know exactly how much time I want from you, see “Read time:…” at the top of this post.

Tim mentions Read Time in his book, and I’ve taken it to heart. Why wouldn’t I let you know what I want from you? It’s the polite thing to do.

Interesting concept! If you know how long it will take beforehand, You’re more likely to take the journey. To engage. If you’ve gotten this far you might have seen the Read Time and thought, “I’ve got that many minutes in my day for your blog post.” For that I thank you.

Our time is precious and that’s why usability is so important. Does your website do what you want it to do? Does it free up your time and your user’s time so you both are enriched by the journey?

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Nathaniel Flick

I'm a Front End Web Developer passionate about usability. My primary specialties are HTML5, CSS3, SCSS, LESS, and jQuery and I am very familiar with Foundation and Bootstrap frameworks. I've worked on top of and with Rails, Python, and ASP.net/Umbraco back end frameworks.