Usability -Not Fine Art on the Highway

I have spent 19 years as a fine artist exhibiting my paintings in galleries from California to North Carolina. It should come as no surprise that fine artists do not think like the public. I do have an analytical mind however, so it was by hard pressed analysis that I have come to agree with the following.

The Internet, if nowhere else has established beyond any doubt, that usability (ease of use) along with utility (a site’s practical value) are what determine a web designs success over its aesthetic appeal. Imagine if the road signs along your way to an unknown place where works of fine art with beautifully painted details and higher notions of several individual artist’s ideals. Would images of varying styles from impressionism to abstract, art d├ęcor, work’s of the old masters or photo-realism really help you traverse your way? The Internet has been described as a super highway with good reason. Web site user’s are extremely fast paced. Web user’s eyes move quickly across page after page. They seldom “look” at your pages. Eyes are darting from one hot spot to another looking for what they came for. There is a very good reason why “real world” highways have huge signs with simple contrasting backgrounds. It helps us get to where we want to be. Have you ever been in the car with a driver who encounters poorly marked navigational signage? What was their reaction? Exactly! Not the reaction you want visitors to your site to have! That being said, we highway traveler’s, when provided good navigational markers, are quite capable of enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way.

A good web site designer/developer knows the importance of providing good navigational guidance and usability. Good web site design liberates web site visitors to enjoy the content or “beautiful scenery” along the way.

In the next several posts we are going to discuss principles of effective web design often referred to as “usability”.

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