Ignoring your instructions

Paul Boag

I am sorry to break the bad news to you but people visiting your web site don’t read your copy.

I have been doing usability testing today for a site due to go live next week. Its the last round of testing and is designed to make a few final tweaks.

The pros and cons of usability testing

I have to confess that I often find usability testing very boring. Asking the same questions again and again can get kind of tedious after a while and you end up feeling like you are in "Groundhog Day". However despite that I love doing it because it helps me remember the reality of web design.

As web site owners and designers we spend so much of our time working on the web and crafting our precious sites, that we forget what being a real user is like. Usability testing brings you back to reality with a jolt.

Ignoring your instructions

Today’s lesson is that users just don’t read what you write. Not only do they just scan your copy instead of reading it properly they also ignore instructional text that tells them very clearly what to do next.

As web site owners we need to face the sad fact that our web sites need to be so intuitive that they are easy to use even when the user can’t be bothered to read a couple of sentences of explanation.

Of course I don’t know why I am bothering to write this as you wont read it anyway!