July 17, 2002

Debunking the three-click "rule"
A good layman's explanation of why designers should igore the "3-click rule". In reality some sites may be able to get users to the necessary content in fewer cases, in others, a better design may take more clicks in order to provide a clear interface that provides good "scent of information".

"for companies with many different types of products — or products with multiple options, modules or related products — the three-click rule can quickly become a very uncomfortable noose."
News Flash!: different operating systems use different platform UI standards!
In The GUI Gold Standard, Newsfactor asserts that "the GUI of certain operating systems seems to be determined not so much by general usability standards but by understanding the quirks and desires of its users."

I might point out that User-Centered Design says the "quirks and desires of users" matter. Although I seriously doubt that the reason Macintosh pull-down menus and the Windows taskbar are designed differently is due to some great variability in their user groups. The desire for innovation, lawsuits (fear of copying a good design exactly) and other factors are more likely reasons why there are few "gold standards."

"When Microsoft released Windows 2000, they were trying to achieve simplicity but they destroyed consistency," he said. "They've ensured that, from minute to minute, controls will disappear, and there will be a battle to learn where things are. They've asked users to spend a lot of time learning all over again."

Similarly, when Apple's GUI first came out, its range of icons made a great deal of sense, according to Benatan. But with many applications and a smaller range of icons, it becomes confusing.

Said Benatan, "The primary goal of a good GUI is: Don't make me feel stupid."
Pop-up ads come to TV
That compelling viewing experience you get from watching TV -- you know, the one that compels you to never put down the remote control -- that wonderful experience is about to be visited by the dregs of online advertising models: pop-up ads.

July 15, 2002

Tog's back
After roaming the earth for months in a motorhome, Tog's posted a new article on his site -- the first since last November.
Call Center: Profit or Loss? -- How Call Centers can Make or Break Companies

Your call center is vital to you company's continued success. Your people should be charged with several jobs:
1. Answer questions.
2. Pass people on to a higher level if you are not able to help them, either within the call center structure or, upon occasion, to others within the company.
3. Build FAQ's and other website self-help information sources based on frequency and seriousness of calls, thereby constantly reducing the total call volume.
4. Collect bug reports.
5. Assign priorities to bugs based on frequency.
6. Identify those bugs/problems costing the call center the most money and quantify how much money that is.
7. Pass along potential solutions to known, baffling problems.

July 14, 2002