[thelist] USABILITY ---> DO not confound with traditionalism.

Keith cache at dowebscentral.com
Tue Apr 30 16:56:00 CDT 2002

Good rant Steph (vacations do clear the mind, don't they)

We can all be thankful that Tim Berners-Lee and Vince Serf never read Jacob
Nielson's authoritarian views on innovation.  If they had we'd all still be
on compuserv or minitel because the WWW, by Nielson's very definition,
could never be "usable".

This whole usability thing gets more convoluted than Nielson's simplistic
mantra. We're building a web application that will be used in high school
classrooms. Two entirely separate UIs, one for NN/IE3+ on all platforms,
and one for IE5+ on Win only. Why the second one? Better usability. Our
focus group studies found that students are more familiar with the Window's
application UI than they are with web UIs, especially considering that
there really is no such thing as a standard web UI but there is indeed a
standard Window's application UI.

On the advanced design the entire web display becomes part of the IE
application interface, presenting a seamless one piece application to the
user. Although the application runs from the server, there is no clue for
the user that they are on a "website" viewing a "webpage" instead of inside
a Windows app. There isn't a single hypertext link anywhere. We're also
testing that concept in HTA and so far the feedback has been that the
Window's app UI is more *usable* in this instance than a web UI.

Sometimes better usability can be achieved through innovation.


cache at dowebscentral.com

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