Steven Johnson at FEED has interviewed "the fabulous four". I was tired, grumpy and just generally pissed off so I wrote this in FEED Loop:
Why should usability be the purpose of webdesign? I know it's hard to shop, find the right piece of information when you want it or find the right email address on a site. And these are issues that will be solved, partly, by running usability tests and stuff. However...
the web is as diverse as the rest of the world, it solves, and creates, as many problems as the rest of the world and it's just as beautiful as the rest of the world. And in "the rest of the world" there's just so much that is "unusable". Art is probably the most obvious example. But it's not so much about a field, or a topic. It's about how we want to experience the world. I'd like to smell it, understand it, be scared by it, laugh at it, stare at it, love it, use it, open it, seduce it, discuss it, draw a lousy picture of it, be very very confused by it, die with it and roll around in it. To name a few "purposes".
I like things that aren't usable. I like design that isn't compatible with every browser, every OS, every goddamn webappliance. And that should be reason enough not to end webdesign (no I'm not a webdesigner). The purpose of the web, if nothing else, could be to please me and fifty million other people who like the colors of a page, or a nice picture (fifty frikkin' kilobytes large). I'm already looking at the web the way it used to look sighing over how beautiful it was/ is. And I'm sighing over how simple, yet unusable, some stuff was.
What I'm looking for is a little humility from your side. Maybe you haven't noticed but for some people usability is becoming a purpose not the means to a purpose! That's right, they think usabilty is the purpose.
Maybe, for people to get it, your message needs to be straightforward and simple and maybe, for business, it's better if you only convey one message, the one about usability. But there are other purposes to the web. There is stuff that don't have a purpose and it would be a shame to "create" purposes for that stuff. Sometimes this world doesn't have a purpose and it gives us a moment to relax and enjoy it the way it is. And I want to enjoy the world I live in, not only the world I'm striving for.
I'm not sure if this is a question or an answer or both but it should be enough to irritate someone and make someone else smile. Are you smiling?
If you read Jakob Nielsens Alertbox you might have noticed that a lot of the comments in the text above are directed to him in general, and his column End of Web design in particular. I think his stuff IS interesting but he is just sooo dogmatic about it that I think he needs an itch now and then.
I wrote this because I mean it so it's not really a reaction to what he writes but if you get that feeling it's not a coincidence. Or something.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
what this is:
Usually interface stuff
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