Control Feature Creep

Every new release of an application adds more features, but not always for the better. Get ten tips for getting feature frenzy under control. In writing an article about social network sites, I looked at over two dozen sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Sermo, TravBuddy, MyCreativeCommunity. Wikipedia provides a list of many social networking … Read more

IRS Electronic Payment Pains

I’ve gotten so much mail from EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System — it must be an unwritten rule that everything government-named must be abbreviated — I worked in the federal government once upon a time), the IRS‘ (Internal Revenue Service) online payment service. Part of it is my fault and part of it is a usability problem.
Just now, I was trying to confirm the URL of the Web site and had the letters next to the keyboard. Either my vision has drastically changed in the few weeks since my last vision check up or the IRS has forgotten to add that bit of info to its letters.
The thick envelope also came with brochures and I’m guess Web address is there, but I already had copies and threw them away. Shouldn’t it be on the letterhead somewhere? The phone number shows up plenty.
When I first signed up for EFTPS, I used a different bank account than the one I need to use now. Following instructions on the Web site, I attempted to change the bank account number. The action prompted the system to send me a packet of information. I checked the site again later to see if it took the new bank account (as it said it would), no change.

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Don't Make Me Think: A common sense approach to Web usability, 2nd edition

When we design Web sites, we often overlook the simplest things because we’re too wrapped up in the design. After working on Web sites for a while, some of us have slowly moved away from what we know is usable to adding or removing elements that may enhance the ‘look’ — and also break a … Read more

Amazon Feedback and Marketplace Usability

I was reviewing feedback left for a Marketplace seller. Here are a couple of snippets: “Great book for new moms to be! “Excellent book!” “Great book…” “Great quality…” “Great product…” This person is a book seller. He doesn’t publish books or sell e-books. So if a person buys a book from him and the book … Read more

Designing Websites for Every Audience

Many people learn by example. When reading documentation explaining the features of functionality, it doesn’t always make sense until seeing it in action. For instance, in CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) line-height is explained as: { line-height: normal|npx|n%|…; } That isn’t going to make much sense to many of you even if you know CSS. What … Read more