August 20, 2004

Don't Read This Article

Please don't read this trash masquerading as usability advice.

Here are a few tips for the author:
1) Actually know something about the topic you're writing about.
2) Follow your own advice: "If your site [or article] has too much content ensure readability" ... and accuracy, and validity, and clarity, etc., etc., etc. Oh, and if you have to much content...maybe you have too much content.
3) Follow your own advice: "Test for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors." Try using a proofreader.
4) Follow your own advice: Add a sitemap, strategic links, and some XP style icons - I'm sure that will make your article much better.
5) Learn what usability is - if you don't recognize that different sites have different users with different needs, then you'll continue to speak about usability incorrectly and offer ineffective platitudes and generalities that perpetuate unusable web sites. What you're advocating is that people waste a lot of time and money on activities that do little or nothing to make their web site more effective.

People have much better alternatives if they want truly effective tips for designing usable web sites.

4 comments:

search engine optimization said...

hey pal cool down; there are millions of websites that offer usability advice. Does that make a difference? I think people today can make better decisions by themselves by comparing and contrasting resources. Just an article written for promotion doesn't make a bit of a difference.

search engine optimization said...

i really don't approve to the above criticism. I think its rude.

Lyle said...

I received this comment via email from another happy customer:
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It is clearly visible that this article is aimed at beginners. May be you are an expert at usability; but that doens't mean that you go on criticising good articles. I personally did not find any fault with the above article.

In case you have any problems with webpro news then please be aware that web pro news is a article publishing website. Authors submit articles, webpro news and other article websites publish it. Its not the fault of the author that webpro news publishes articles. Why are you criticising the poor author for it?? You can even ruin a career by such irresponsible acts

I think it would be ethical that you remove that blog from your list. I totally agree that you are a geneius but what are you trying to prove from such acts? I think you can make use of your energy in a constructive manner rather than troubling others. Afterall we are all humans here.

Lyle said...

As someone who knows a bit about usability, I feel it is my duty to help web readers separate the wheat from the chaff. Maybe I could have said the same thing in a nicer way, but this article was truly one of the worst pieces of writing I've seen online in a long time.

The worst part is that bad advice or ineffective advice about usability serves as noise and clutter - confusing readers and business folks who may really want to benefit.

If the article was simply called "Nine Tips for Improving Your Web Site," it wouldn't have drawn my ire. If the author had clear represented his credentials (or lack of them), that would have been better.

Not all users understand that sites like WebProNews let just about anyone post an article - and that they (evidently) have little editorial process for quality control. Prior to the email (in the above comment) I had no idea that WebProNews let any self-proclaimed expert post an article. Clearly this opens them up for exploitation by anyone wanting to promote their site, product or services...and the reader may be none the wiser.

Unless this guy's career is in the usability field, I highly doubt I can ruin it from my little soapbox here.

We are all humans here, and as such, we should share a basic level of respect:
- I respect the criticism I receive here (and take it into serious consideration)
- I respect that authors may put considerable effort into their writing.
- I expect that other authors welcome honest criticism. Sometimes my posts can be a bit 'edgy', but they are in the interest of educating and informing...and sometimes I even aim to entertain. Hopefully they learn something from my criticism and it helps them be more successful later on.


"Whatever you are, aim to be a good one."
- Abraham Lincoln