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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
Carolyn Snyder <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 13 Jun 2000 10:12:51 -0400
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Carolyn Snyder <[log in to unmask]>
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> has on certain pages a little box that asks "was this page
> helpfull". It's good, because if you click on it the page doesn't reload
> anything, so you don't loose time. They really seem to work hard on

Demetrios and Peter just hit a nerve... although I am sure that most
requests for user feedback are well intentioned, I worry that companies will
be tempted to
substitute feedback mechanisms for up-front usability testing.

Here's an example - the "Cannot Send E-mail" help topic on MediaOne's online
help desk sure seemed to be the right place to look when I was traveling
recently and discovered that I could receive but not send e-mail.
Unfortunately, all it actually told me was that if my system was configured
correctly, I shouldn't be having this problem.

Fortunately, I was able to find on my own the setting in Outlook Express for
authenticating outgoing mail.

I have a hard time believing that an intelligent human reviewed this FAQ
because he or she should have noticed that the answer did not contain any
actual information about how to fix the problem. The fact that they expected
*me* to point this out to them with the feedback form did not give me a warm
and fuzzy feeling that they were working hard to improve usability. They are
being passive and expecting me to do their work.

And how many people actually fill out feedback forms anyway? I did, but I'm
a usability professional, and we're not normal. ;-)

And whatever happened to the notion that usable products become invisible?
Any attempt to gather usability feedback by pop-up windows (or other
intrusive means) had better be only a temporary and necessary evil.

Done ranting now,

Carolyn :-)

Snyder Consulting
Usability, design, writing
(603) 890-2411
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