You know how I’m always fascinated with web designers, usability experience experts with the UX to Z initials because I find them cool and all the hype that comes with it. That’s why I love being a ‘bug tester’ because it’s the closest thing I can be to A to the Z to the UX hooray level.
I read Steve Krug’s, who is a big TABS evangelist, to realize my UX dreams. The usability expert whose mantra is TABS is the king. Thus, amazon website rules because it has the most tabs in the world wide web.
I look after Jakob Nielsen, the ‘antique’ in UX area, who seems to be not a TABS fan because if you see his website, it’s tabless.
There are the 37signals who are the simplicity-is-the-best evangelist, whose applications are a range of different to-do list, from simple to-do list to complicated overrated to-do list. I hid the fact that I am having a hard time navigating their basecamp app for the fear of being judged as ‘no class’ or ‘no taste’ because I do not get their UX cool skills. Thing is years after, their apps are stuck while PBwiki now PBworks, who started the same time with 37signals, evolved way much better than them.
But after reading ‘Designing Social Interfaces’ by yahoo people, there’s a part in there that kind of made me conclude that ‘usability of an application’ is a gray area. Like, why is ‘TABS’ a way to build a ‘user-friendly’ website? Is it because it mimics how the people navigate websites, or is it because these UX experts are telling so then all people create websites with tabs which then users get familiar and used to. So it is not ‘usability,’ it is ‘familiarity.’
How did Nokia became the most ‘user-friendly’ mobile phone before iPhone came? Though, I cannot take my word for that because I don’t own an iphone. Possibility is that Nokia became a household celphone brand that all people are familiar with. Remember how your grandmother/mother struggle using a nokia celphone before?
So my point is that it is hard to say that there is a pattern for making a web app or website ‘usable.’ Different people have different mental mapping. The designer has a different mental mapping from the users. So mostly how an application is designed is how the designer thinks it is usable for him and the people who might have similar brain wiring with him.
On the other thought, usability does exist… for the satisfaction of the designers and programmers. While, it is a hit and miss for the end users.