Unit 2 Reading Response

Unit 2: Chapter 3, 4, 5 & 3 links related to reading

Chapter 3 – Billboard Design 101 – Designing for scanning, not reading

Steve Krug is making me question everything I’ve ever learned about web design. In his book, Don’t Make Me Think, he gives one rule and 6 key strategies for making a website easy to scan.

Rule:

1. “Clarity trumps consistency.” I agree with Steve 100%. I think the easiest way to describe this is to consider why we use consistency in the first place… for clarity. It’s the ultimate result we try to achieve. There are numerous ways to achieve clarity. It’s always the most important aspect of design.

Strategies:

1. Use conventions. He calls them “your friends” and suggests we all take advantage of them. Some conventions to consider are: shopping carts, logos on top-left corners, standardized appearance of links, videos, search icons, etc. (page 29-30)

2 & 3. Use visual hierarchies & Break pages up into areas that are clearly defined. Group things that are related – make important things bigger than less important things, etc.

4 – 6. Make what you click obvious, avoid distractions, and make content easy to scan.

Great rule. Great strategies. Overall a very simple and useful chapter. We know about all of these conventions, we’re familiar with them, they’re easy to understand, and you guessed it… they don’t make us think! Being reminded is not a bad thing. It was fun to read.

Chapter 4 – Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? – Why users like mindless choices

I never thought of distinguishing between the types of clicks you can do on a website. As Steve Krug puts it, there are mindless clicks (the kind a designer strives for) and clicks that require thinking (the kind designers try to avoid). I jumped all over this after reading this chapter and starting to ask myself more and more, when on a web site, “am I thinking?” or “do I know what to do?” I couldn’t believe how many websites make me think so hard for each click. It’s almost like they’re trying to keep me on their website longer for no reason at all, instead of trying to help me find the information I’m looking for so I can buy stuff and enjoy it. This information will help everyone designing a website.

It made me also think about how some people think it’s so important to be “clever” or “cute” – and I have to say, after being exposed to some clever and cute links, I ended up frustrated and confused and felt like my time was being wasted. So, although I’veĀ  had a sneaking suspicion that clarity trumped cute and clever, now I know for sure.

Chapter 5 – Omit needless words – The art of not writing for the web

This chapter had me laughing again. Happy words and instructions must die? That’s what Steve Krug said , and I agree. And although I agree, it had me thinking, “Where on my website did I use happy words? Did I have some instructions I might not need?” I was disappointed to find that I did have a number of happy words and some instructions, but I was glad I had read this chapter, and discovered them, so I could remove them and improve my website. This chapter was straight to the point, simple and fun to read. It also was inspiring and made editing my website easy to do. It’s one of the shortest chapters in this book so far, but one I would recommend the most – especially for someone doing their own editing and designing. I know I’ll be quoting this chapter.

3 links to material relating to reading

The Elements of Style, by E.B. White

Letting Go of the Words, by Ginny Redish

Forms That Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability, by Caroline Jarrett

*** Below: I Just had to Google to see what came up ***

How To Use Visual Hierarchy in Web Design

Informavor – Wikepedia

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