[thelist] Usability Critique - http://documents.pape.com/

Tara Cleveland taracc at rogers.com
Sun Jan 6 12:47:29 CST 2002

Hi Jeff and all,

I had a few comments.  I'd like to preface it by agreeing with Jared that
the best way to find usability problems is to test your target market.

Mostly, I liked the site. It was very clean. The process was fairly simple.
However, having said that I did notice a few things that seemed

-- sorted by default - what is it sorted by then? What is the default? Why
have it as a default if you don't know what it is?

-- it wasn't clear to me at first that the check mark was check out rather
than approve or something like that. But I don't know if there is some
process that I'm unaware of.

-- the icons are grayed out - often a sign that they are not available to
click on - this is especially true of the shopping cart and checkbox because
they are all gray and no black or white, whereas the print and home buttons
are black and white and gray, so the shopping cart buttons look as if they
are even more unavailable than the others.

-- it wasn't clear to me at first what you meant by (OR match) and (AND
match) in the search choices. Yes, I am dense but of course then I realized
it was a search function so it was searching for keyword AND keyword or
keyword OR keyword. Still, I would just put "search for any of these words/
search for all of these words", it is less confusing.

-- once you have other types of documents will they have thumbnails? if you
show only thumbnails of excel docs will it be at all helpful? Instead of
saying show only thumbnails you could say "show more detail, show less
detail" or "show only thumbnails/ show details with no thumbnails/ show all"
- this is more accurate as you do show title and high res/low res options.
It's also better when someone is looking for PDFs because they won't care
about thumbnails but might just want the title info and not a description or

-- I wouldn't have the 0 of 0 pages with forward and back icons on the
search home page - there is no reason for it to be there and it just

-- It wasn't clear to me that the window icon was a home button at first.
Remember that people spend 99% of their time on other's pages (and in their
browsers) where home is an icon shaped like a house. Take a look at this
article on Mystery Meat navigation. It's usually a good idea to spell out
what it is the icons mean


-- Having the search icon moving on the page all the time is not only
distracting, but in many cases it is the symbol that the computer is in the
process of searching - it could lead someone to forget to click on the
search button because they think that the computer is already searching

-- At the bottom of the listings of the basket, I'd put a large, obvious
button or something that says "Checkout these items" or "Purchase these
items" that takes the person to the checkout. That way they know where to go
next. Often there is no real distinction between shopping cart and checkout
(take a look at amazon.com) so people may well click on the shopping cart in
order to checkout, but there is nowhere obvious to checkout after you see
what is in your shopping cart.

-- I would definitely offer more information from the home page or elsewhere
maybe a help page about the process and how they purchase the docs, how they
are sent, how much they are, what conditions they can use them under etc.
etc. right now there is none of that info - maybe it's all free - but if
that's the case, you should explain that too. Even though the users will
"know why they're here" it doesn't necessarily mean they'll know what the
process and rules are.


Tara Cleveland

on 6/1/02 3:08 am, Jeff Howden at jeff at alphashop.net wrote:

> howdy,
> i just recently finished up a project for a client and i'd like to get a
> critique on its usability.
> http://documents.pape.com/

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