On listening

Car design Henry Ford famously dismissed listening to his customers, saying that if he'd bothered asking them, they'd have asked for faster horses. An early episode of The Simpsons riffed on this idea: Homer was brought into his brother's car company as a man of the people and asked to design exactly the kind of… Continue reading On listening

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De facto standards for search engines, and why it doesn’t hurt to follow them

I wrote a while ago about dominant design, whereby one design becomes the standard way of doing things. In that post, I gave examples of play/stop/pause icons on media players, qwerty keyboards and traffic lights, though there are plenty of other examples out there. One thing I didn't mention was the distinction between these two:… Continue reading De facto standards for search engines, and why it doesn’t hurt to follow them

Usability testing: Search for an MA course from the OU homepage

I spent a bit of last week doing basic usability testing on university websites. In this post I'd like to present an example where I think a major UK university is getting it wrong. They'll probably fix the problems outlined in this post, but at the very least this should provide a useful case study… Continue reading Usability testing: Search for an MA course from the OU homepage