Design Process and Evaluation

1. Provide content that is engaging, relevant, and appropriate to the audience (5:5)

The terms used here are somewhat vague (what constitutes "engaging"? how can "relevant" be quantified), but the implication seems to be that the site's core content is the primary value, that it should be focused on a specific topic, and that it should be evaluated from the user's perspective.

2. Establish user requirements (5:4)

This is also vague. There is some reference to conducting market research (interviews, surveys, focus groups) as well as providing a mechanism to receive user feedback. However, there is no indication of what phenomena are to be measured.

3. Ensure the Web site format meets user expectations, especially related to navigation, content, and organization (5:3)

This refers to the expectations that arise from a user's prior experience with the Web in general, with sites in specific categories, and within a specific site.

The value of consistency is stressed, and it is implied that deviating from conventions is counterproductive. It is specifically noted that studies have shown users act according to their expectations regardless of on-screen documentation.

4. Involve users in establishing user requirements (5:3)

Users should be consulted in determining what a site should provide. However, it is also specifically noted that users are "not good at helping make design decisions."

5. Set and state goals (5:2)

From a user's perspective, an explicit statement of the purpose of a Web site and the goals helps set expectations. It is also suggested (though this seems to be more of an internal benefit) that a clearly-stated set of goals help to generate consensus within an organization.

6. Focus on performance over appearance (4:3)

The user's ability to access information on the site and perform tasks with a minimum of effort and distraction is to be valued over the visual appeal of a Web site.

7. Consider many user interface issues (4:3)

This is vague, but it seems to suggest that you learn "as much as possible" about the user (types of computer, connection speed, disabilities) and the tasks the user will perform on the site.

8. Be easy to find in search engines (4:4)

In order to reach users, the site must be easily found. Ideally, it will be in the first thirty results when a relevant topic is searched. Various techniques (descriptive page titles and common metadata) can be used to enable search engines to properly index a page.

EN: This has, in my experience, been a problem area: there are a lot of sites out there, search algorithms are constantly changing, and management too often wants a site to be among the top results for phrases that have little to do with the actual site content.

9. Set Usability Goals (3:3)

It is suggested that a designer set specific and quantifiable goals by which a site can be measured: the speed for performing a task, the number of clicks to access a bit of content, etc.

EN: This is so vague as to be useless. My sense is that it is not so much "goals" as "measurements" so that these things can be quantified, and that future development efforts can seek to improve performance. An arbitrary number (three clicks or a hundred, five seconds or five years) is meaningless and may be unreasonable.

10. Use parallel design (2:4)

This deals more with development than usability, but the author advises having several designers work independently on a given interface, then use the best elements of each design; as opposed to a single designer or a design committee.

11. Use personas to focus on users (1:2)

Translate statistical information about a site's audience into a small number (three to five) of personas (characters who embody the traits identified in the statistics) to help focus the task of designing for real people.