Friday, September 02, 2005

Yay support!

Found 2 good articles this week that helped me feel clearer about our intentions.

The 1st is Navigation Blindness, an article describing research ino people's behaviour when reading websites. The very interesting point is that people tend to ignore navigation aids.

This made sense to me as a lot of layouts have a top and left navigation with a different background colour to the central content area. The effect is to frame and draw attention to the content area, sometimes probably intentionally.

The solution to this navigation blindness is to give links the right trigger words to help guide people to find what they are looking for. This is very similar to what we're doing with the Intranet hierarchy tests at the moment.

The second thing I found was on Design by Fire in an article called 'Please make me think' about:
"Should you, as a designer, be bound by some ethical mantra to make your work deeper, more thoughtful and complex, not aimed for the lowest common denominator of your user base"
The article goes on to discuss laziness of thought in general and the effect of this on people as well as the premise in the context of making a website.

An interesting thought when you've been buried deep in the details of trying to make something as intuituve as possible so people don't have to think about it. It made me think about our aim of trying to get people out of the 'departmental' habit. The discussion in the comments was all highly relevant but one of the things that stood out for me was in comment no 24, the line that says:
"So did you make them think? No, you made them learn"
That's what we want, exactly. We don't want people to have to think about where to go to find a form or a procedure or a policy. We do want them to learn a new way of representing the company which is not departmental.


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