Digital Web Magazine

The web professional's online magazine of choice.

Brand Value and the User Experience : Comments

By Kelly Goto

July 14, 2004



July 16, 2004 8:19 AM

Very nice article! I’m in the process of re-writing my companies web strategies since I feel they are way out of date and have no value to the user.
I especially enjoyed your paragraph about how Web applications continue to be developed by engineers and the oversight by many companies who aren’t willing to invest in improving user experience.
I find this very true, and use this argument on many potential clients.

Thank you for the great read!

Kelly Goto

July 18, 2004 3:48 PM

J – thanks for your comments! This is a pet peeve of mine – just because someone can get through a task (barely) doesn’t mean the experience is a good one. Our usability tests have found so many flaws in online (and offline) applications that companies feel they do not have the bandwidth to address. The truth is – with iterative design and usability testing, a company can improve the usability/viability of their applications with slight modifications in layout, directional copy and error messaging. Later they can move into more complicated re-engineering processes — but few organizations fully understand how a positive user experience will affect their business and brand.

Jim Amos

July 18, 2004 11:30 PM

Good article. I would also say that it’s important not to expect your site visitors to do things just because you tell them to. For instance, if your website is built in Flash, always provide an html alternative – don’t inform the user that he/she should download the latest plugin. I find that so annoying. Of course, to most designers/companies this is obvious, but I still encounter this often enough to warrant a mention.

Andy Budd

July 22, 2004 2:57 AM

Nice Article Kelly. My only negative comment would be about this line:

“When linking outside of your site, give a warning and use a pop-up if possible.”

I personally abhor pop-up windows. Apart from their accessibility problems I feel they break the “consistency” rule. When I click on a link I expect it to take me to the resulting page in the same window. If some links on the page do this, while others don’t, consistency suffers.

Apart from that, I agree with everything you said.

Dan Saffer

July 27, 2004 5:30 PM

I’m not convinced that comfort should really be part of every user experience. What’s required is an appropriate experience, that may or may not be comfortable and friendly. It might be inappropriate to be too comfortable. Like for a finacial sites, say. Some entertainment sites also rely on surprise and excitement. Not much comfort there.

Kelly Goto

July 29, 2004 12:42 PM

The pop-up rule is up for debate. Obviously the most important thing is to have some sense of reliability or consistency with how these things are handled on a site. For example, we all hate it when we click on a link and it starts downloading a large PDF without warning. It is equally as frustrating when a new window opens without warning and it is not clear that it is a new window. I think the most important thing is to give adequate warning to visitors as to what will happen – so they know what to expect – again speaking to the concept of comfort.

Nick Finck

July 29, 2004 5:28 PM

Kelly, do you mean to say target a new window for external links (i.e. target=”_blank”) or do you really mean pop-up a new window for external links (i.e. use Javascript to make a new, smaller window)?


August 3, 2004 8:37 PM

Nick, I think kelly already answered the question. Information as to what is going to happen when the user clicks on the link is key, whether it be a popup, new window or the same window. A lot of users these days have popups disabled so it becomes even more important to let people know so that they disable their popup blockers for the time-being!

Another thing that I’d like to point out is that if there’s an advertisement, please highlight the fact! There nothing more annoying than an animated gif just running for no rhyme or reason. It does generate the click-through but the user feels cheated and I don’t think that’s the kind of user experience a company is looking for.

PS: Jim, I totally agree with you there. I hate the all flash websites that tell you to go get the plugin. I’m like ok … see ya!


August 17, 2004 7:02 PM

Great article! I find it disturbing that so many experimental websites created by designers are so difficult to use. If the purpose of experimental work is to push the boundaries of web design – why isn’t usability addressed in the experiment? Clicking through the list of links to various ‘projects’ on design sites, I wonder whether some designers see usability as a core design issue at all – ‘coolness’ seems to be far more important. If only these websites could speak: “You want our contact details? Go find ‘em yourself – can’t you see I’m busy here…”

Sorry, comments are closed.

Media Temple

via Ad Packs