Don’t forget the user experience!

Rod describes in this post the importance of posting content in HTML.  He describes his experience of posting an interesting article as a PDF and then later as HTML.  The PDF didn’t generate much traffic,  when he converted to HTML the traffic went wild. 


I must admit that I downloaded the PDF when he first posted it,  but I didn’t get around to reading it because to read PDF I have to invoke an exception to my normal blog cycle for me this is yet more evidence that the “User Experience” is far more important than mere features,  in my case a slight annoyance meant that I didn’t read the PDF, despite the functional capabilities of PDF being just fine,  it was simply the change in convenience that was the issue. 

In fact in another interesting post on usability Joel says “Something is usable if it behaves exactly as expected” well using my example reading the PDF was was not a good usability experience because it required me to invoke an exception to my normal process, ie was not as expected. 

Of course it may be that I’m just lazy 🙂 but seriously this example illustrates a big problem with many IT systems that people don’t have to use.  These systems are often justified on the basis of productivity, typical examples being:

  • web conferencing
  • audio conferencing
  • collaborative workplaces
  • video conferencing
  • PDAs

What we see all too often is that these systems get used for the first week or two and then usage tails off, success criteria often include:

  • someone mandates use and has metrics to make enforcement meaningful
  • productivity is truly improved for the individual and not the team
  • team productivity is improved to such an extent that peer pressure get everyone to use it
  • the user experience is highly usable

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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