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Introduction to Stupid Usability

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 11/7/2013

Often times when we hear the word usability, we immediately think of technology.  We think of how easy it is to visit a website, how complex a mobile app might be or software package might be to use.  Really, usability issues and opportunities happen everywhere, throughout all our day to day lives.  Whether it’s the way a person walks through the aisles at a store, to using the ATM or perceives all of the signs that clutter our streets and pathways…good user experience is one of the most important aspects of our lives (not just our digital ones).  The field of user experience has realized this long ago and has grown to encompass many different products, technologies and concepts.  Which brings us to the reason for our blog.  Where user experience is important, we run into examples of stupid practices all the time.  So we thought we would start to put these together and share them out to the world.

In this series of posts we are going to share some of the stupid usability we find out there (and even some of the good instances).  Where we are far from perfect, we do understand there are things that fundamentally make sense and a lot of companies, government agencies and organizations that just don’t seem to get it.  Our posts are going to reflect a lot of those people, so we hope you enjoy.



So how do we judge what is stupid and what is not? Well remember usability, at its core level, is based on the perception of the individual. What could seem ‘usable’ to one person could be completely ‘unusable’ to another. For these posts we are grading any ideas we get against the 5 basic principles of good usability:

  • Is it easy to learn – Things that are confusing tend to be harder to learn
  • Is it memorable – If its not something you use or see every day, is it easy to remember how to interact the next time
  • Is it efficient – How fast can what is presented be worked through? Is there a clear path or a lot of trial-n-error?
  • Can I recover from errors – If something unexpected happens or a person goes wrong, can it be easily fixed or is there at least good information given on what to do?
  • Is it pleasing to the eye – Not just about design, things that people don’t like looking at tend to cause problems with how they use it

Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 11/7/2013 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments