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Informed Web Design

Nick Finck

October 10, 2004 at 10:21 PM

Often times we see self-proclaimed web experts dispensing unsolicited blanket statements about how we should design, build, and use the Web. Sometimes they are nothing more than good guesses and common knowledge, other times worse. While it is good to have some guidelines (not rules) in what it is that we do, there are better ways to do this. So how do we know what's best for our sites? We ask our site's users. This is what is referred to as Informed Design. Coming up in March of 2005 Jeffrey Veen, Christina Wodtke, and myself will be presenting a how-to session on Informed Web Design at SXSW. We will examine the relationship of quantitative and qualitative data gathering. We will explore what these methods are, when and how you should use them, and why they are important to the UCD process. The whole point of this is to empower your web teams to architect, design and build with a better understanding of your users. I hope to see you there. For more reading on this subject I recommend checking out Peter Merholz's post Taking a longer view... and reading Donna Maurer's blog, she has been posting about this subject quite frequently.



October 11, 2004 at 4:05 AM

I have no time for Donna Maurer, she is a self-proclaimed usability 'expert'. Her site is inaccessible in IE6, winXP SP1 and her usability poor (try to find her contact details)

Nick Finck

October 11, 2004 at 9:36 AM

Chris, last time I checked all usability experts were self-proclaimed. At any rate, expert or not, her posts are very insightful at times and probably offer more value than any posts I have seen by other usability experts. Never the less, she won't be able to make our panel so no need to worry about that. We may seek out a forth panelist, but we are not sure yet.

Donna Maurer

October 11, 2004 at 4:24 PM

This is going to sound awfully conceited, but this is truly the first time I have seen anyone criticise me online. I do get lots of good comments (online and from clients), so I expect that there are at least some other people who think I have somewhat to say on usability ;) Thanks for the feedback Chris - my site looks fine to me with those specs - so it might be the dissappearing text bug or something different. I'll do some testing. I never said that I was a CSS expert ;) And if contacting me is all that you wanted to do with my site, then I guess it is unusable for that task...

Nick Finck

October 11, 2004 at 5:52 PM

Donna, I don't think I would take it personally. I am sure Chris went to your site for the first time, saw the IE dissappearing text bug and then just assumed you had no idea what you were talking about. I think people forget that not everyone is a CSS expert.

Donna Maurer

October 11, 2004 at 8:02 PM

Oh, I didn't take it personally - just thought it was interesting ;) Sorry for hijacking the thread. Good luck with the panel! Excellent topic.

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