Saturday, June 4, 2011

Two excellent usability books

I was introduced to “Letting Go of the Words” by Ginny Redish last year. Although it’s been around for several years, it’s still a fantastic book and very easy to read.

The book focuses on the actual content of the website and not just the design or functionality. Redish discusses a wide range of topics which all apply to the user experience.

For example:
  • Breaking up the text using headings, subheads, and bulleted lists.
  • Writing links that are meaningful.
  • Making sure your site is accessible to everyone.
All of the advice Redish provides in the book still hinges on understanding the target audience and the purpose of the site. The content of the site often gets overlooked since it’s usually the last thing to do and money and time are running out.

Another valuable book is “Usability for the Web” by Tom Brinck, Darren Gergle & Scott D. Wood. It provides a comprehensive discussion of website usability. The book provides 450 pages of usability advice. It’s broken down into easy sections allowing you to jump to the areas you may need; however, I would recommend reading the whole book.

Here is a list of the sections:
  • Pervasive Usability
  • Requirements Analysis
  • Conceptual Design
  • Mockups and Prototypes
  • Production
  • Launch
  • Evaluation
I read this book initially when it came out in 2002; however, I have referenced it a lot since then.

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