[Theforum] Fwd: Evolt on my brain

Madhu Menon webguru at vsnl.net
Sat Jan 19 13:22:52 CST 2002

I got the following message from a person who found out I'm an evolt.org 
admin. He and I participate in a certain usability forum. These are his 
comments (slightly edited to mask identity) about some evolt.org features.

Since we *are* going to be discussing changes to the site, I thought you 
should all read this too.



>Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002
>From: [user]
>To: webguru at vsnl.net
>Subject: Evolt on my brain
>   Hey MadMan...
>   I started a brief message to you about evolt's
>icons, then it snowballed into this, uh, thing...
>   I'm not pissed off, really I'm not. I write messages
>like this one all the time... and I talk this way to
>my mother too.
>  [gripe mode on]
>  I am genuinely surprised you're evolt admin *and*
>frequent [forum].
>  How do you feel about the three cryptic navigation
>buttons at the top of evolt's web page?
>  It's been a while since visiting the site, so let me
>guess their functions...
>  1) The home icon (looks more like an African hut, or
>maybe a circus tent) takes me back to the front page.
>  (An aside... there are parts of America, mostly in
>the west, where it doesn't snow, where houses are
>built with flat roofs.)
>  2) The question mark icon takes me to help
>documentation about how to use the web site.
>  3) The @ button is an e-mail link.
>   Let's see how I did....
>  1) *DING!* *DING!* *DING!* I guessed the home button
>correctly. That makes me sad. Why is a redundant front
>page link on the front page? At least grey it out.
>  2) *BZZZZT!* The question mark takes me to a FAQ.
>That makes me sad. Only a few of the questions pertain
>to understanding how to properly use the site. If I'm
>trying to orient myself to your CMS, the last thing to
>do is to give me the documentation from within the
>  3) *DING!* (sort of) The @ takes me to a comment
>form. I commend you on having a form instead of e-mail
>link, but that makes your use of the @ symbol
>misleading. And because I didn't find an "About" page
>in your navigation menu, or even a descriptive tagline
>on your front page or 1-2 sentence description of the
>site -- I'm not really sure what evolt is about or who
>I'm submitting the form to.
>   Whereas... on your Weblog, I immediately know I'll
>be looking at "the rants of an Indian user experience
>professional." And I even get the "MadMan" carry-over
>from your [forum] post. Why don't you exhibit the same
>level of user concern on evolt?
>  You make me fight for buried information (or to
>discern it from interpreting the nature of evolt
>posts) instead of just telling me. That's the
>difference between instant recognition and bumbling
>around through multiple pages to form a conceptual
>model of your identity. Do you know who you are?
>  I've seen some pretty newbie questions posted on evolt.
>What makes you think these icons are highly usable to
>that segment of your audience? I expect they just
>somehow "get by" as everyone does on web sites. How
>  What I really hate is that you've made me guess what
>the icons represent, instead of just telling me with 1
>word titles. Esthetics over usability always sucks. I
>want to know where the links go before I click them.
>  *sigh* And I won't even go on about how the text is
>fixed. Oh, OK, I will. Fixed type alone tells me a
>boat load about what not to expect from the site and
>that I'm ready to leave. You care more about esthetics
>than your information being accessible to me.
>Anti-anti-anti-user! (Note: I have perfect vision. But
>it's like you've given me a book to read, and are
>holding it at a distance *you* feel is comfortable for
>me to read, without knowing anything about me. Give me
>back the control I should have over text size.)
>  There could be some great people on evolt, but when I
>see design decisions that violate basic usability
>principles, man... I end up writing long rants like
>this one.
>   Note: the brief time that I spent at evolt was from
>a referal via e-mail. I believe the redesign occurred
>after or during my stay.
>  [gripe mode off]
>   I don't want to know what evolt users think of my
>rant, or hear from the designer(s). What do you think
>about it?

<<<   *   >>>
Madhu Menon
User Experience Consultant
e-mail: webguru at vsnl.net

More information about the theforum mailing list