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Chapter Checklist

  1. Usability on the cheap.

    The key to keeping usability and user testing an affordable part of a shoestring web project is to integrate these concerns into the project early and to develop good interface habits that become part of your everyday toolkit.

  2. Thrifty user testing.

    Conduct small-scale tests early and often. Your motto should be, “Lather, rinse, repeat.” With each design iteration, test!

  3. Keep it simple.

    Using the sample user study discussed later in this chapter as a guide, gather a few potential users and ask them to perform specific tasks. Don't think of this as a time-consuming ordeal: Writing the script, interviewing a handful of friends or colleagues, and analyzing the results will take an afternoon, at most.

  4. Shoestring usability toolkit.

    Those of us working with limited budgets need to become expert or at least semi-expert in many areas of web site production, including usability. If this is not your area of strength, invest in learning the basics. Review the interface design tips outlined in this chapter. Take time to expand your knowledge. You will use these principles repeatedly, and the time you invest now will pay off for years to come. Of books that can help you learn more about usability, I recommend Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think! (Que, 2000).

  5. Recyclable HTML library

    The way you write markup has a profound effect on your site's usability and its accessibility for people with disabilities. Creating good markup can sometimes take more time up front than creating bad markup; but if you begin to create a library of good material, you can leverage this work on future projects. You will also see a tremendous return on investment as you become more efficient at writing polished markup and as your sites become usable to an ever-widening audience.

Generosity lies less in giving much than in giving at the right moment.

—Jean De La Bruyére (1645–1696)



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