Usability

Subject: Usability
From: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 08:05:07 -0700

Jakob Nielsen's latest Alertbox
(http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20010204.html) covers usability and addresses
the notions "(1) we select stupid users for usability studies; our findings
do not apply to smarter users; (2) our recommendation to make simplicity a
major design goal stems from our misguided view that all users are stupid.
In reality, they claim, many users are capable of navigating complex sites;
and (3) some people are so stupid that technology is beyond their grasp;
making websites easy enough for everyone to navigate is an unrealistic
goal."

While the article obviously addresses *website* usability, I'd offer it's
quite relevant to any form of technical writing. I like Nielsen's work but
have no other relationship to it. While this list experiences many
recurring threads, the notion of usability testing has not, in my view, been
very thoroughly discussed here. Perhaps this is the opportunity.


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