Don’t make me think is a great book about usability and interaction design written by Steve Krug. One of the best things about it is that Steve has used the very same principles he preaches at in his book in the design of its reading experience. The book goes straight to the point, focuses on a handful of very clearly stated ideas and can be read in just a couple of hours!
I don’t mean this post to be a review of Don’t make me think, it’s just that it was the first thought which came to my mind when I received the following “update email” from a very well known group mailing system:
Who’s the new member? Do I know her? Wouldn’t it make sense to be able to see some of her profile info right there, without needing to go to the group’s home page? Why do I have to make an additional step to get that info? Don’t make me work more than what’s strictly necessary!
By the way, “geochatUsers-Geochat Users Community” is a link, but you just get to know that once you hover over it and your mouse cursor turns into a pointer. I remember having got this wrong in my own developments countless times: links which don’t look alike links. Don’t make the user think! If there’s something that she can click or act over, it has to be apparent. That’s what designers call affordance: it’s what an object’s appearance, smell, texture, sound, etc, tells us about what we can do with it.
Last but not least, when I clicked the link I had to manually log in before being able to enter the group’s home page. The group mailing system already knew it was me (or it could have easily known it), because I clicked the link from my email box. That takes us to another principle: user input is sacred, don’t lose it nor ask more of it than necessary.
Have a nice week!