Common Sense?

The first two chapters (and the Intro) in Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make me Think” emphasizes the concept of applying common sense in usability review. To take basic usability reviews into your own hands (as a designer) it’s not necessary to know everything relating to the topic. The basic approach requires a review of what is present on the page(s) - - does a review return question marks or are elements clear and obvious/self-evident? It's  good to remember most users tend to have a single task at hand, visiting a website offers choices to find the answer. An user may choose to muddle through content and functions to find their answer or a working design will offer control, answers, and understanding for the user.

The end of the second chapter makes for positive vibes. As a designer (service provider) sometimes I find myself making things for what seems like ‘no reason.’ In the seat of ‘no reason’ I definitely loose focus but, Steve’s words, “If your audience is going to act like you’re designing billboards, then design great billboards,” reminds me of the nice warm feelings I get when seeing great design (even on cereal boxes). Making a great design means sharing what it’s like to “get it.” Oh yea...designing is about communicating.

So besides the touchy-feely, Steve makes a point I can get down with – common sense IS a great tool. Though, I can feel the friction tapping my shoulder wondering, how does one choose between conventional (boring) and innovative (ooo, neat) design and usability? I see he’s got a little nod to this in the very first pages of his book – so, I’ll wait.

Finally, in the spirit of common sense I have a thought about a point Steve’s listed in his Read Me First section:

Not present is: “Bad-mouthing of poorly designed sites.”

I am definitely no angel when I see something that I think is rotten but, yes, being a real bitter doesn’t help me and my sense of common sense. The more I learn about design, the more I realize it’s about psychology, about people, the human nature. If we choose to look at things with common sense does this mean with practicality and with openness? Will it help with our usability/interaction design? As a web/graphic/media designer interaction happens in cyber space (or cereal boxes) yet, we are still responding to one another and reflecting on ourselves.

Common sense says, keep it positive.