Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Usability Lesson

Love this Swiss Army Knife style makeover of the kitchen knife. People often have kitchen drawers full of equipment to chop, cut, peel, pare and more and yet there is one knife that becomes the trusted favorite which gets used all the time - put to uses it was not even intended for. With a knife that is actually made to be multi-functional, we have design imitating and enabling the actual behavior of it's users. If this is not great usability, I don't know what is.That is concept and then there is reality-check. All of the commentators to this story say they would not like to use this knife because they fear it would injure them.

I find this idea and the reception to it most instructive because it translates to web usability as well. Copious amounts of time, effort and money is spent on usability by companies who want to do right by the users of their websites. Yet, when the site is made "right" to align with the perceived needs and preferences of the users, often the results are a complete disappointment to them. Maybe there is a gap between our desires and actions that simply cannot be measured and therefore never fully satisfied.

No comments: