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Usable Usability: Simple Steps for Making Stuff Better by Eric Reiss

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Part OneEase of Use

These first five chapters are about physical parameters, which basically ensure that something does what you want it to do. Buttons, controls, and other response mechanisms are there to help you accomplish your task, and they might include functions and features that may even anticipate your needs and habits. In short, these things make stuff easy to use.

You might think that this idea is something of a no-brainer, but it isn’t. Despite all the lip service to “user-friendliness,” a depressing number of programs and products are still pretty UN-friendly. Throughout the next five chapters, I’m going to show you how well-meaning design doesn’t always lead to well-functioning stuff.

What’s in this part?

This part covers the following aspects of “ease of use”:

  • Functional (it actually works)
  • Responsive (I know it’s working; it knows where it’s working)
  • Ergonomic (I can easily see, click, poke, twist, and turn stuff)
  • Convenient (everything is right where I need it)
  • Foolproof (the designer helps me to not make mistakes or break stuff)

I have this goofy hope that when you see this list, you will say to yourself, “Yeah. That makes sense. What’s the big deal?” But to illustrate my point, please take a moment to go to your favorite website. Click around for a couple of minutes while thinking about these issues. Can you see something that could be improved based on anything on this list? I bet you can! Welcome to the world of usability.

Chapter One Functional

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