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What We Learned from Participants
Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Issues:
  • Creativity is great, but don't let me borrow your car if the gas pedal is on the left
Solutions:
  • Provide consistency within and between applications (Don't call the Search button "Acquire" just to be different)
  • Learn from designs in context
  • If you have design guidelines for your site, why would guidelines be so bad across sites? - Differentiate by functionality and value

Notes:
Creativity is great. A lot of cool sites are out on the web which make you really think hard to find something on them. Part of the fun may be in the hunt, but when building sites for business to business transactions, or for doing intra-business applications, learn from the Macintosh experience.

Build the most consistent, user friendly systems you can!

Learn from the standards, guidelines, and requirements books out on the market for building user interfaces, learn how to apply this information appropriately, and make decisions with your target audience in mind. Would you want to borrow someone's car whose gas pedal is on the left? No! So, why do you think having such a unique interface on your web site will be a plus? Don't make that mistake, try to focus users to your content, and not waste their time with the interface. An interface is just a medium between your user and your content. If the user spends most of their time figuring out your interface, how much time will they have for your content? Frustrated users will find someone else to provide your services, so differentiate your site on functionality and value not by making a "creative" site.

P.S. What is "cool" when talking about a site? I think cool means I can use a site to do something in one tenth the time it took me on someone else's site, or via another medium. Fast to me is cool, lots of content is cool, finding what I want quickly is really cool. Waiting for a 80K home page to download is not cool. Having to figure out that "Acquire" really means "Search" is not cool. - RHM

I think "cool" is contextual. If the site has to do with some industry that is linked to art (i.e., graphics, painting, or show business) then graphics and unusualness is cool. If the web site is a business-related or service-oriented site then the service can be cool (i.e., they provide something that I wouldn't expect) but how they do it is the easiest way to be cool. I am willing to wait a little longer for larger graphics if the service itself is special. If the service is something that is "normal" or something to be used consistently then I agree with Richard; fast, logical, and user-friendly are the way to coolness. - KMR


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Slide 22 of 32
Comments: Happily Received!
Home Pages: Miller's & Rettig's
Page: http://design.softcom.com/workshops/w6_report/slide_22.html
Updated: 01.20.1998