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Developing a Design Concept > Web Usability

Web Usability

After information architecture, the next popular buzzword was Web usability. The reason this term came about was simply competition. More and more Web sites offered similar, if not identical, services. A good example are the search engines that were a dime a dozen. With so many around, users preferred those that were easier to use. Web designers and information architects had to look into how to improve the usability of a Web site to create a better product for the end user. So today it is not enough to just offer stunning design. Clients, especially those offering a service or content, expect a Web design agency to make their Web site more user friendly than the competition.

While this all makes sense, the question remains, what is Web usability? I wish I could give you an answer in a nutshell, but the truth is that this field is relatively new and therefore there isn’t much literature available. Of the few books you can get, the most popular ones are Information Architecture, by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, and Designing Web Usability, by Jakob Nielsen. Nielsen managed to get himself known as an expert in the field and thus his book was quite popular for some time. However, his book is mostly for Web designers who have little experience, though it’s ideal for helping corporate people to get a feel for the subject. The best information on Web usability is available online at Nielsen’s Web site (www.useit.com/).


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