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Subject:
From:
Matthew Belge <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Matthew Belge <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Wed, 29 Jul 2009 21:11:48 -0400
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Hal:
As I am guessing you have already argued with the client, learnability
is not as important here. Sure, they want to keep the training costs
low, but if this is something users will be spending many hours a day
using, efficiency and suitability to task are much more important than
learnability. And I totally agree with you about minimizing page transitions
to only when really necessary.

The key, I think, is to design the product so that many of the features
you want to use are easy to discover - the old "make the affordances
apparent" idea.

In cases where it's difficult to make those features apparent, consider
providing links to "just in time training" - video recordings or similar
that help the user understand the technology. You might also consider
a training web site, or similar where users can go to learn about how
to accomplish given tasks.

As for the interviews and surveys, I think they will mostly be useful to
convince your client. So make sure he/she is closely involved. But
my feeling echoes yours - go for the more advanced design, making sure
in the end that the overall efficiency it will provide exceeds any short
term training issue.

-matt

-----Original Message-----
From: ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Hal Shubin
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 3:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Concern about the level of sophistication of users of a Web
application

I'm developing a Web application with a client. The users will all be  
internal -- a small group of people, but it's an application they'll  
use all day long.

The client is worried that using anything beyond standard HTML may  
confuse the users because some of them are not very sophisticated in  
their Web use. (Based on my interactions with the users to far, I'm  
not sure this is a problem, but the client does, so it is.)

I'm developing a plan for a survey and a series of customer  
interviews. I want to see what they currently use online and see how  
they react to some things that we are considering for the UI. At this  
point, I think I'll do some interviews, use that information to create  
a survey, then do some more interviews based on all that we learned up  
to that point.

There is some training involved in this application, but they're  
obviously looking to limit the amount that is required. On the other  
hand, it's an application that will be in use for many years, so a few  
minutes of training to introduce some new concepts that save time  
seems like a good investment.

I don't want to use cool features just for the sake of having them,  
but I don't want to create something that's immediately out of date.  
And if we can save time by eliminating page transitions, then I'm all  
for it. (I've always thought that page transitions are one of the  
biggest problems on the Web -- sometimes you forget what you were  
doing by time the page loads.)

And I thought I'd start by asking all you smart folks if you had any  
suggestions while I'm coming up with the plan.

thanks				-- hs


- - - - - - - - - -
Hal Shubin
617 489 6595  |  www.user.com

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