Usability is simple – it’s the golden rule

30th May 2012
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Heroku web application hosting

Do unto others are you would have them do unto you. It’s a simple concept, but we’re not born knowing this. We’re born kicking and screaming into the world, we are selfish little beasts, and then we have to learn to share and consider others.

The Golden Rule is a learned concept with no endpoint. So is usability.

Consideration. That’s what usability is all about. What does someone ELSE want to do with this form, mobile device app, or web page? All too often we get stuck too much into what we THINK they want to do.

But you have to pay attention to your data. Ask your users what they like and don’t like, and then put all that information through the grinder that is objective thought. These are the things I consider whether to implement users’ opinions:

  1. Cost
  2. Time
  3. Universal benefit

The more people you add to the process the further you get from consideration and the closer you get to “genius design”, don’t assume you know what your users want and what they are doing because they will surprise you!

I find talking to people out there “in the field” is the best way to go. There’s no bias, just a conversation, and I get more honest opinions. I think it’s the best guerilla testing there is because there’s no pretense. Just consideration.

Smashing Magazine has a great article on The History of Usability: From Simplicity to Complexity, but I think it’s not about getting complex. Usability is all the work that goes on behind the scenes before you end up with a VendHQ, an Apple.com, or Heroku.com. I love Heroku.com, by the way. LOVE.

The work is complex, but the result is simple.

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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.