I’ve been having an entertaining and slightly heated conversation with someone who insists that forums, such as the one I founded, are hotbeds of bad information. He’s convinced that people start companies based on the “education” they receive in forums and that, if I’m understanding his complaints, it’s my job to make sure every post is perfect and correct.
In one example he chose, just to get my goose, he used a thread in which someone wanted a FLASH-based website reviewed by forum community members. We offer, at Cre8asiteforums, something called the “Website Hospital”, that is essentially free user testing. Since anyone can use the website being presented for a review, the responses run from experienced critical feedback to a general opinion.
In the FLASH site thread, the worn out argument against FLASH and SEO or FLASH and usability came up again. Because someone said they don’t like FLASH, you would have thought the sky was falling. I was led to the scene because I guess it’s somehow my job to set everyone straight and explain that FLASH will not kill anybody. If I don’t do that, it’s assumed that by my being the usability oriented person, I hate FLASH.
People must really believe that user centered design folks have nightmares about FLASH, run screaming in terror when a company wants it and faint when presented with marketing a site with FLASH. When I was interviewed by Webpronews for an as yet unreleased video interview, one of the first questions I was asked about was what I thought of FLASH.
I like it. I’ve seen it used in smart ways on websites. Pages with some embedded FLASH can still be optimized for search engines. Persons who browse in strict text only mode, with no bells and whistles options on, can still tolerate a website if some things are added to it, such as “Skip to content” and content that paints the same picture that the FLASH is doing with the visuals. (That same focused, keyword rich content is also sought after by search engines.)
I caught an article today in my feeds about how usability is a waste of time for websites and implementing accessibility and usability destroy creativity.
Poppycock. A favorite part of my work is finding all the cool ways to enhance a client’s website for persuasiveness, credibility, conversions and smooth sailing through the implementation of usability oriented elements. I’m not hired to kill the website or suck the life out of it.
Cool Usability, User Experience Finds
Customer Engagement Report by e-consultancy. It’s a 63 page document. From their survey they’ve learned:
Some key findings:
42% are planning to apply user-generated content (UGC) to their websites in the next 12 months; 23% are using it already.35% are planning to use corporate blogs in the next 12 months; 17% are using them already. 33% are planning to use podcasting in the next 12 months; 18% using it already. 35% are planning to use videocasting in the next 12 month; 17% using it already.
Sitepoint’s new publication, The Usability Kit.