Archive for November, 2009


Krug’s First Law of Usability

November 18, 2009

A great book I have reading speaks about usability and the rules behind it. Don’t Make Me Think, written by usability expert Steven Krug, takes an entertaining and comprehensible route to discussing how usability can be improved on your website.

His first law talks about the idea behind “Don’t Make Me Think”. Basically, users don’t want to apply any more energy or thought into a website than they have to. The user should understand what the website is and its purpose without expending any extra effort to do so. You want to make the website as self’-evident as humanly possible. The user should “get it”.

Don’t make tabs that make us think, even if it’s for a second. Users want to have no extra thought, just click. Make sure your icons are clearly identifiable as icons and are clickable. You don’t want the user to wonder if the icon presented is a button or whether it is just there for design; and whether or not they should try clicking. Although, yes, all it takes is a hover over the icon with your mouse, but that extra thought should not go through their head. Every question that pops into the user’s head adds to their cognitive workload and will distract them from the task intended.

Make things obvious and easy. Your goal as a web designer and developer should be to make each page as self-evident as possible so that when the suser looks at it, they will know what it is and how to use it.

Stay tuned for more rules Krug discusses in his entertaining and informational book on usability.



November 4, 2009

Digital media has evolved over the years into what is now natural for us. Back in the 1960’s, multimedia application on websites were not possible nor imaginable. Incorporating video, text, and audio into a website was bizarre and unheard of, but today that is what we know. Remediation, immediacy, and hypermediacy are all components that help understand and weave the old media and new media together.

The movie Strange Days is a great example of  the contradictory and ambivalent ways in which new digital media function for culture today. In the movie, there was a wire which shows cultural moments into the future. This is contemporary virtual reality in today’s world.

In essence, the movie demonstrates the double logic of remediation, which is basically culture wanting to both multiply its media and erase all traces of mediation. Ideally, it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying them.

Logic of immediacy is one like virtual reality, where its concept is a disappearing act into a different type of world. Digital graphics and photographs are both forms of immediacy, as they capture an image and display it through a moment of automatic technology.

Hypermediacy is the fragmented, heterogeneity which emphasizes a process or performance rather than a finished art object. Such examples include the windowed style of World Wide web pages, the desktop interface, multimedia programs, and video games. Any type of interactive application is hypermediacy, where ingredients are made up by audio, video, text, images, and animation.

Remediation is where one medium in itself is incorporated in another medium. This is the defining characteristic of new digital media. An example of this is sites containing pictures and text allowed for download. The medium of the website has embedded the medium of pictures. Using one to incorporate into another.  There are several ways of performing remediation, some where you want to erase the medium others want to emphasize the medium and yet aggressive ones want to refashion the older medium entirely. The act of remediation ensures that the older medium cannot be entirely effaced, so the new medium will always depend on the older medium in one way or another.

The process of remediation is constantly being used as new digital media strategies are used to remediate television, films, photography, and painting. New media and old media will have a forever connection as technologies and digital media grows, but remains true to the older.