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A Strawberry Blond Leading Figure in Usability?  

:: Friday, August 26, 2005 ::

I'd like to thank Jim Hedge of StepForth Placement for how he handled my criticism of his article. I'm not in the habit of challenging folks, and he took my remarks and turned it into an opportunity for me to share my passion for the user centered design industry.

In the Interview with Kim Krause Berg, he let me point out resources to some of my favorite usability places so that interested web people could locate how-to information.

I purposely tried to avoid the guru sites because most everyone knows about them, where they are and what they have to say. There's an abundance of information from the people around the world applying and sharing their knowledge of user centered design, information architecture, captology, human factors, usability, persuasive architecture, etc. It's difficult for me to focus on just a few leaders because there are many, many highly skilled, expert practitioners out there.

This brings me to something else.

Jim, quite kindly, wrote "Kim Krause Berg, for those unfamiliar with her, is one of the leading usability experts in the United States" in his Expanding on Usability piece. This article is an overview taken of the actual interview (thank goodness, because the interview is long!).

My friend, Barry Schwartz (aka "RustyBrick") interviewed me in 2004, and email-listened to me whine yesterday about the word "expert".

He knows I'm uncomfortable with it because in my mind, John Rhodes, Jakob Nielsen, Jared Spool, Bryan Eisenberg, Peter Merholz, Chris McEvoy, Trenton Moss, Donna Maurer, Jeffrey Zeldman, and John Soellner are more well known.

As I struggled for just what, exactly, explained me and my role more accurately, and would be something I'm more comfortable with, Barry emailed me back with, "...you must agree that you are the leading figure behind the movement for SEO’s to think more about usability."

He nailed it! Since I came crawling out of the SEO/SEM field in the first place and am still glued there, (though I no longer provide SEO services. Rather, I collaborate with SEO/SEM and web design firms who do), this is the better way to describe Kim.

I do feel compelled to say that I see a lot in my usability testing work as a practitioner. Much of what me makes me exceed at my work is due to the findings of those who are in the trenches, such as the great folks I've linked to here. May they each take a well-deserved bow.

For The Weekend's Reading Pile

One of my favorite sites for application design is LukeW Interface Designs. For AJAX curious folks, here's AJAX & Interface Design by Luke Wroblewski. It's educational even for non-programmers.

"AJAX allows every element within a Web interface to be individually and quickly updated without affecting the rest of the interface. This, of course, is not what most Web users are accustomed to. Initiating an action within most Web sites triggers the inevitable blank screen and page loading process. Though not very responsive, the full-page update makes it very clear to users that their action has resulted in a reaction and that a response will be available as soon as the page is refreshed. Because AJAX-based updates are very fast and incremental (often affecting only a small portion of the UI), users may not notice them -especially when they are used to seeing full-page rewrites."

My friend and favorite peer, who like me, chants usability mantras to search engine marketing crowds, Scottie Claiborne, sent out her latest issue of Successful-Sites.com yesterday. This issue features the theme, Customer Care: Being Prepared for Errors and Website Abandonment.

Scottie writes an article called Caring for Site Visitors- When Mistakes Happen.

"We expect our websites to respond consistently to every visitor, but the truth is that sometimes things are out of our control or we can't fix an issue as quickly as we'd like. How much effort have you put into making sure you are taking care of customers when things go wrong?"

Also in the issue is an article I wrote for her publication called
That Don't Impress Me Much: Even Pretty Web Sites Have Abandonment Issues
. The analogy I used for this piece is dating, which made it fun to write.

"It takes a long time to know if a person has everything you want. Shania Twain walked through a blazing hot desert in her music video for "That Don't Impress Me Much", tossing aside all kinds of things that didn't impress her. She sang, "Oh-oo-oh, you think you're special, Oh-oo-oh, you think you're something else."

This is what people are thinking to themselves when they download any page from your web site."

Funny Headlines
More and more I'm seeing creative headlines nestled inside 'Net feeds. Loved this one.

"Woman Spotted Yesterday Reading Today's Newspaper"

And in the "Nobody Cares Kim" Department

I did, indeed, get 3 inches cut off my hair yesterday. Kathy, the hairdresser, has been doing my kids and their Dad's hair for years, but since I loathe haircuts, I never met her before. She was gentle with me and even let my daughter sit in the chair next to me, and make her lovely "Mom, you're so weird," remarks.

I went home with a cut that makes me look younger and news for my husband. "Guess what honey! My hairdresser says I would look great as a strawberry blond!" Stay tuned....

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 8/26/2005 11:07:00 AM

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