Usability has become quite the hot topic. Seems it's on everyone's lips of late. If it interests you, I'd like to bring a couple things to your attention.
First, Tuesday, November 14th is Worldwide Usability Day. There are 206 events in 39 countries this year. That's pretty impressive. Find a usability event near you. One of the interesting activities you can participate in no matter where you live is card sorting. From their site:
“Card sorting is a technique used to help identify how users organize, and expect to find, information on a website. The way the cards are sorted, and the labels the users give the cards are often used (along with other methods) to create the global and local navigation on a website.”
Participants will take about 20 minutes to go through the card sorting exercise and demographic survey. The information will then be analyzed to look at regional, cultural, and other demographic differences, and shared with the usability community. You need to RSVP by Monday, November 13th to have the information emailed to you about participating.
The second bit of usability info that you may find interesting is related to a new, excellent book. It's written by Robert Hoekman Jr., called “Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design.” I know Robert well, and he's passionate about usability, customer loyalty and just using common sense (which we all know isn't always so common). I've turned to Robert myself at times to look at larger web rollouts and he always has something helpful to say. And yes, once he says it, it's quite obvious. I've nearly finished the book and plan on writing a review on it here at Community MX in the near future. But I can already tell you, you need it. If you do anything web-based, you want it.
Robert is currently working on making GoDaddy a more usable place. This week, I went to GoDaddy to renew a few client domains — I was shocked (in a really good way) at the new interface when I logged into my account area. It rocks! Pared down, everything at my fingertips, sexy. Thanks Robert!