Who cares what it can do. Will it actually get used?

I love that quote! It’s a little gem I found on Rasta Pasta (thanks to Fred who says Usability Rules! ). There’s one project I’m working on right now that is going crazy with features and complicated logic and I would just love to throw this quote at the people directing its design! (… but I probably won’t … I might use it as my tagline in my e-mail, though … 😉

Anyway, I found some great user-focused thinking and examples of usability I just have to share:

  • Simon at Curiously Persistent discusses the refreshing user-focused design of Nintendo. As the wife of a gamer and mother of two mini-gamers (one who is way too big to be called “mini” anything), I have always hated gaming, hailing it as a total waste of time. I still prefer real-world experiences to cyber-entertainment, but even I have to admit the Wii is a bit of ingenious, user-focused design. Nintendo actually succeeded in getting me, a game-hater, to purchase one. Although I’ve never used it personally (yet), I have enjoyed many moments watching my husband and son competing, or my daughter making Mii’s or doing Wii fitness. The games are just plain fun! And the usability is awesome. Hats off to you, Nintendo!
  • After I bought the Wii, people kept asking me “Wasn’t it hard to find?” I found it easy because I’m very comfortable shopping online–I just typed “Wii” into Google and chose the top link that said “Nintendo Wii in stock”. I was done shopping within 5 minutes (had to pause to ask my boy which games to get with it). I know I’m an anomaly, though, because as Brian on FutureNow comments, “E-commerce is still too complicated for most“. He was quoting a study from eMarketer that shows across all age groups, from 24 – 34% of the survey respondents think e-commerce is too complicated.
  • On the Otherland Group, I found a great entry on Usability for Virtual Worlds–he makes such a good case for the business sense of usability and not just for virtual worlds. Here’s an excerpt:
  • one example of the business sense in usability: when I was still with my former company Elephant Seven, I built a small division specializing in usability and especially in “user centered design”. In one of their first projects, this team improved the usability of an insurance company’s web application.They improved it so much, that the client’s call center got more than 30% less calls. This alone paid for the whole project in only 6 months time. And we are not even talking about the additional leads and contracts from customers who would have simply “gone away” in the past, not even bothering to pick up the phone.

  • Goshdarnit! Something has gone wrong with our servers. It\'s probably Matt\'s fault. We\'ve just been notified of the problem. Hopefully this should be fixed ASAP, so kindly reload in a minute and things should be back to normal. Last but not least: Rowan on The Back Paddock points out how effective a humorous error message from WordPress was in turning a bad moment into an enjoyable one.

Thanks for the laugh, WordPress, and thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts.


1 Response to “Who cares what it can do. Will it actually get used?”

  1. 1 Simon July 15, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Ann

    Thanks for stopping by. I 100% recommend you trying out the Wii – the simple motion sensors are a great advert for usability improving the experience.

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