July 12th, 2011
His observations of Joe’s experience are entirely fascinating and thoroughly enlightening. Having given Joe the seemingly simple task of using the browser to find a local restaurant, he found that Joe didn’t know where to begin on any of the browsers. He was drawn to Internet Explorer’s “Suggest Sites” and Safari’s “Help” menu, but found no direction in either. The author also observed that Joe’s only point of reference for browser use was text — something he was already familiar with. He completely tuned out any graphic representations, like buttons and menu items, not even recognizing them as such.
The most fascinating part of this whole experience for me was the reminder of perspective. It’s really easy for designers and programmers to assume that everyone has at least some familiarity with computers, and we design for that. Even the most basic building block of internet use — the browser — assumes that you’ll know to type in the address bar and click the “Go” button.
You can read the full article here — it’s totally worth it.