OK, this one does not have anything to do with web development, nor with “usability” per se, and I am not a GUI expert – but some things are just begging to be brought up to attention of others.
I was at the vet with my new puppy last Monday, and spotted this poster while waiting for the good doctor.
“Wow, I did not know all heartworms end up in Alaska!”
Do they spend winters there? Of course, that was my first gut reaction.
Then my brain caught-up with reality and I realized I was wrong. The damage, however, was done…
Pardon a poor-quality image: I took a snapshot with a phone camera while containing a squirmy pup. Can you see the same thing I did? Maybe YOU don’t, but I guarantee you that there are people like me out there, who are “severely visual” (it is more of a curse then a blessing, really) and they will have the same impression as I did.
For those who are not visually oriented it may not be a big deal. But for me having an arrow to point to the only spot on the picture that does not have a circle around it means that this spot is beginning and the end of whatever this cycle is about. Before my brain can process the rest of the information, my “feeling” is already formed.
And a lot of our decisions are based on that first impression, first “feeling” that you got.
What does it have to do with Web Design and Usability?
Why do I write about it in the Web Development Topics? Simple. It is a great example of how while I had to spend 10 minutes in the vet’s office, I had a chance to re-think what I saw; however something like this should never, ever be allowed on the internet , especially with content that is crucial for User Interface, specifically for the interface that is designed to present or to collect data.
People have an instant mouseclick-happy reaction; when planning the layout for the user interface, consider if people – especially “visuals” – will be forming wrong impression, trying to get to the content that may turn out to be not what they expect. They will be disappointed. They may want to leave, and they may not want to come back to your content in the future.
Unless there is an interruption of the flow by design, visual interruption is the flaw of design.