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Usable Usability: Simple Steps for Making Stuff Better

Book Description

The A-to-Z guide to spotting and fixing usability problems

Frustrated by pop-ups? Forms that make you start over if you miss a field? Nonsensical error messages? You're not alone! This book helps you simply get it right the first time (or fix what's broken). Boasting a full-color interior packed with design and layout examples, this book teaches you how to understand a user's needs, divulges techniques for exceeding a user's expectations, and provides a host of hard won advice for improving the overall quality of a user's experience. World-renowned UX guru Eric Reiss shares his knowledge from decades of experience making products useable for everyone...all in an engaging, easy-to-apply manner.

  • Reveals proven tools that simply make products better, from the users' perspective

  • Provides simple guidelines and checklists to help you evaluate and improve your own products

  • Zeroes in on essential elements to consider when planning a product, such as its functionality and responsiveness, whether or not it is ergonomic, making it foolproof, and more

  • Addresses considerations for product clarity, including its visibility, understandability, logicalness, consistency, and predictability

Usable Usability walks you through numerous techniques that will help ensure happy customers and successful products!

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Contents
  3. Part One: Ease of Use
    1. Chapter One: Functional
      1. The three keys to functionality
      2. From click to conversion: making sure the buttons work
      3. Browser wars, hardware headaches
      4. Don’t sweat the home page. Fine-tune your forms.
      5. Four keys to creating functional forms
      6. Required fields
      7. Forms and business rules
      8. Interdependent forms
      9. Instructions and functionality
      10. Navigation: Getting folks where they want to go
      11. My crappy new TV
      12. Understand your goals and keep them in focus
      13. A true story about a fairy tale
      14. Functionality can change over time
      15. A complaint is a gift
    2. Chapter Two: Responsive
      1. The myth of two-way communication
      2. Three traditional keys to responsiveness
      3. A fourth view: “Responsive design”
      4. “Wake up, you stupid machine!”
      5. FUD: Fear, uncertainty, doubt
      6. A closer look at transitional techniques
      7. Transitional techniques and physical objects
      8. Response mechanisms in the online environment
      9. Response mechanisms in physical objects
    3. Chapter Three: Ergonomic
      1. Henry Dreyfuss: Introducing ergonomics to industrial design
      2. Buttons: Why bigger sometimes is better
      3. Milliseconds count
      4. Bring on the scientists
      5. “First word after the bullet”
      6. Tabs and other keyboard shortcuts
      7. Provide clearance
      8. “Go to the back of the line”
      9. Improve work organization
      10. Eric and the IRS
      11. The “silent usher”
    4. Chapter Four: Convenient
      1. Giving inconvenience a positive spin
      2. Eric’s advice for the lovelorn
      3. Multimodal experiences
      4. Switching routines
      5. Why I hate calling my bank
      6. Switching interfaces
      7. Switching from on- to offline
      8. Unfamiliar situations highlight convenience
      9. Personas and other useful tools
      10. Context is the kingdom
      11. Make everything people need available
      12. “Three clicks and you’re dead”
    5. Chapter Five: Foolproof
      1. How the RAF can help win your battle
      2. People forget to do stuff. So help remind them.
      3. Alerts and other warnings
      4. The “boy who cried wolf” syndrome
      5. Forcing the issue
      6. The dangers of personalization
      7. The magic of redundancy
      8. Write helpful error messages
      9. Helping people make better decisions
      10. Not everyone can spll
      11. People don’t read instructions
      12. Don’t make people memorize your messages
      13. Sometimes you do have to state the obvious
      14. People don’t remember things from one time to the next
      15. Physical deterrents
  4. Part Two: Elegance and Clarity
    1. Chapter Six: Visible
      1. Four ways things become invisible
      2. The mysterious “fold”
      3. People do scroll!
      4. Why we can’t pinpoint the fold
      5. When the fold is important
      6. When the fold isn’t important
      7. Creating scroll-friendly pages
      8. Unfriendly scroll-friendly pages
      9. Scrolling, menu length, and mobile phones
      10. Don’t make important stuff look like an ad
      11. and banner blindness
      12. Blocking out the sum
      13. Eric’s Enlightening Elevator Examination
      14. Sherlock, Edward, Don, and Ch’i
    2. Chapter Seven: Understandable
      1. What is “shared reference”?
      2. A word about words
      3. Eric’s “light bulb” test
      4. Five keys to creating effective “shared references”
      5. Creating a comfort zone
      6. Don’t be afraid to tell your story
      7. Photos and other visual aids
      8. Icons and other troublemakers
      9. “As big as a breadbox”
      10. The sun never sets on the World Wide Web
      11. Audio and video
    3. Chapter Eight: Logical
      1. Three basic types of logical reasoning
      2. The magic word--“why”
      3. Functionality and logic
      4. Responsiveness and logic
      5. Ergonomics and logic
      6. Convenience and logic
      7. Foolproofing and logic
      8. Design dissonance
      9. Use cases
      10. Linear processes
    4. Chapter Nine: Consistent
      1. A caveat
      2. Seduced by synonyms
      3. Keeping things homogeneous
      4. Retroductive inference revisited
      5. Standardization promotes consistency
      6. Don’t take consistency for granted
      7. One button, one function
      8. One icon, one function
      9. One object, one behavior
    5. Chapter Ten: Predictable
      1. Six ways to enhance predictability
      2. Knowing what to expect
      3. Branding, customer satisfaction, and expectations
      4. Helping set expectations
      5. Instructions revisited--but never visited
      6. Telling folks what you expect
      7. Let folks know how many steps are involved
      8. Let people know which process they are actually in
      9. Put things where folks expect to find them
      10. Warn of invisible conditions
    6. Chapter Eleven: Next steps
      1. Guerilla-style usability
      2. Formalized think-aloud tests
      3. Making usability part of the business case
      4. Invention or innovation?
      5. Accidents can never be attributed to a single cause
      6. Don’t draw a conclusion based on an isolated incident
  5. Bibliography
    1. Analytics
    2. Cognition
    3. Content creation
    4. Content strategy
    5. Design research
    6. Industrial design
    7. Information architecture
    8. Interactive design (general)
    9. Interactive design (specific subjects)
    10. Project management
    11. Prototyping and documentation
    12. Service design
    13. Usability
  6. Introduction
    1. What is “usability”?
    2. Does it do what I want it to do? And what I expect it to do?
    3. Why does it matter?
    4. Who cares?
    5. Make it useful, too!
    6. Bogo Vatovec’s three-stage usability plan
    7. You don’t need a big budget
    8. A note about the non-English website examples
    9. I’m messing with your brain