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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
We’ve come a long way from the early days of rotten web usability. Well, sort of. Sure, the quality of our mistakes is definitely on the rise. Unfortunately, the quantity doesn’t seem to be declining much. Jeff Johnson has taken the time to catalogue the mistakes we’re making most often -- in full color, with crystal-clear explanations of what’s wrong and what to do instead.
Johnson organizes his 60 “bloopers” into errors in functionality, user interface, presentation -- but, first and foremost, content. Home pages that don’t communicate. Descriptions that don’t describe. Classification schemes that don’t make sense. Content that’s internally inconsistent (two prices for the same item on different pages). Information that’s outdated, or unfinished, or missing, or downright useless.
You’ll find no less than nine form-related bloopers. Intolerant data fields. Mysterious controls. No defaults. Bad defaults. No text input focus (users must click in the first text field before typing).
Web Bloopers exposes bloopers everywhere (though Johnson, who must travel often, finds a disproportionate amount of bad work on airline sites.) He uncovers hidden, deceptive, or circular links. Bizarre buttons. Maddening searches. Sloppy writing. Johnson doesn’t simply skewer them: he offer better alternatives.
The book concludes with a “Memo to Managers” on why “bloopers by developers are often caused by bloopers by their managers” -- assigning jobs to the wrong people, releasing without testing, and so forth. These are pages you must show your boss.
In his usability consulting business, Johnson comes across the same mistakes constantly. If you read this book, none of those mistakes will be yours. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.