Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why user research is a good thing

News flash:

A Facebook group formed for those opposed to the site's new design is nearing 2.7 million supporters, and the leaders organized a two-day boycott to bring their point across.

The group, called "1,000,000 against the new Facebook layout," has greatly exceeded the expectations in its title and encouraged its supporters to stay off Facebook during the weekend of Oct. 18 and Oct. 19.

…Jessica Fishbein, a high school teacher who is one of the administrators of the group with more than 2.6 million backers [says] "Facebook, which normally cared about the feedback of people, just made this decision, didn't really care what the users thought and isn't really responding to feedback," she said in an interview. "People are very upset."

Euphemistically Speaking

A quick rant: I know a couple who don't let their daughter say "What the heck?" or even "What the...?" because "you know what you're really saying is the H word." So... exclamations such as "My goodness," and so on would also be bad because they're euphemisms for "My God," am I right? What is the poor kid left with to express herself? It's not the words so much as the context they are used in that betray the euphemism. If she says "Oh my tarantula," it either makes her sound insane or like she's really stretching for a euphemism, which in fact she would be, and thus fooling no one.

So, for UI text, how bad is it for a UI designer (and I mean writers too) to use one term when both you know and I know that you're really talking about something else? Well, it just makes you sound lke a kid trying to swear without saying the H word.

Why make users stretch their brains to suss out the meaning of a term when a simple one will do?

Bentley's First Law of Label Nomenclature: Think first.

The horror! The horror!

You know, if you're going to use fancy text formatting, you should be sure you know how to code it. There is no such HTML tag as ' .