Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Usability of Usability Infographics

For anything to be usable (not the same as useful, but not unrelated) it has to be fairly easy. Your reception of it should be natural and intuitive. Any barrier to your easy acceptance will slow or stop your interaction with the content.

And (despite years of hearing 'content is king') that means the use case is as important as the nature of the content when making design decisions.

Infographics aim to tell you or teach you or make you think about something in an easy, natural way. You just look at a picture, instead of reading or listening or working through problems or pages.

This is a nice "hundred years of usability" piece from people that know a lot about the subject. I only have one issue with it. It's horizontal.  Which works if you're getting it as a physical poster (and they have a link to purchase one). And I think the physical poster  would be a great addition to office space or a classroom.

Horizontal infographic from

 But to view it onscreen a vertical orientation works better. That goes for any screen -- landscape or portrait, you would still move through it in an up - down path more naturally.  We expect to scroll down, but scrolling sideways is more of an effort.

Here's one (similar style, from the same site) that works better onscreen.  Because it's vertical.

Vertical infographic from

What's my point? 

Usability starts with a use case. If your user is being encouraged to hang something on his wall, that suggests one way to design the product. If the expectation is that they'll view it on a monitor or phone or tablet - that's another.

Content may well be king, but the use case is the power behind the throne.

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