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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)

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Sender: "ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
X-To: "John S. Rhodes" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 09:42:23 -0600
Reply-To: Nick Iozzo <[log in to unmask]>
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From: Nick Iozzo <[log in to unmask]>
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In your attempt to build an "anti usability" site, you ended up building something
that looks like an amateur's first attempt at building a web page.

I think lack of comments can be attributed to two causes,

1) It is within the realm of normal internet experience. Sadly, the usability of
this site is probably within 2 standard deviations of the average web site
usability. And this will probably not go away. The web allows anyone to put
anything up.

2) My working assumption is that people who find a site unusable just leave and
never come back. There are enough sites existing that cater to their needs that
they have no incentive to give you feedback. It is easier for them to look for a
site to help them now, then it is to tell you about it and wait for it to be
fixed.

The only real surprise is you audience. They should have been motivated to
overcome these biases.

"John S. Rhodes" wrote:

> There have been several questions asked about the Web site I mentioned in my
> posting yesterday about the severe lack of user feedback, even with a site
> that has incredible usability problems. Here are some details:
>
> 1. The 100%, completely original site is gone. There were originally 3 pages
> (the index and two complimentary pages). I only have 1 page up now, however,
> my report to you was based on that single index page.
>
> 2. Before you visit the page, I must warn you. I *deliberately* built in
> problems, such as the broken images. I spelled things wrong, the navigation
> is extremely poor (there really isn't any), and I have many irrelevant
> links. (In part, these things were done to see how bad a site could be
> before feedback would be sent.) The results, as I have stated, are remarkable.
>
> 3. The "site" (page, actually) is called CARS CARS CARS -- for people
> looking for "the best information about automobiles". Here is another
> warning: I am an affiliate of most of the programs I link to on the page.
> This doesn't mean too much really -- I just want to be extremely open with
> you about the purpose and nature of the site. It is an experiment in many
> ways. I've been investigating the usability of affiliate programs too, but
> that is another story.
>
> 4. The site is on a free server (through Virtual Ave); it is not on my
> WebWord.com site. However, you can see the page statistics for yourself by
> clicking on the (non-broken) image at the bottom of the page.
>
> Now that you have been properly forewarned, here is the URL:
> http://carscarscars.virtualave.net/
>
> I hope this clears up any questions about the site, its purpose, and the
> nature of the informal study. I would be interested in working with someone
> (or some people) on this. I think we could very easily develop a formal
> usability experiment from this point (e.g., using different content,
> different levels and types of problems, etc.).
>
> - John
>
> p.s. One more fact to chew on: I have a link to the CARS CARS CARS site from
> WebWord.com, my site dedicated to Internet usability. Thus, these users are
> *interested* in usability problems. Many have read my columns, and expert
> interviews. They know about usability, at least more than the average bear.
> Still, even from these *informed* users, I did not get any user feedback
> (e.g., "You have 3 broken links on your site!"). In my opinion, this is both
> stunning and scary.
>
>  ======================================================================
>   John S. Rhodes  **  mailto:[log in to unmask]  **  http://WebWord.com/
>    Usability Professional, Internet Strategist, Information Architect
>  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>      Subscribe now to the WebWord.com Internet Usability Newsletter
>            FREE -->   http://WebWord.listbot.com/   <-- FREE
>  ======================================================================

--
Nick Iozzo  ([log in to unmask])
Neoglyphics Cognitive Engineering group
773-395-6200

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