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Musings from Mike Atkinson on Internet strategy, usability, and more...

Designing for the exception

Was reading an older column by Gerry McGovern called Do You Make This Obvious Web Design Mistake?

“The most common web design mistake is to design for the exception, and to ignore the obvious. That’s because designing for the obvious is boring, while designing for the exception is fun.”

His example is taking the time to not only program breadcrumb trail navigation into a site (which is rarely used by the average person), but then programming it for strange anomalies.

Wasted time/money/resources.

And, to answer his question, yes. I have traveled rabbit trails that took too much time for not enough benefit.

This is a good reminder.

Plus, he makes his (usual) insightful comments on site development:

“Every time you add something to a webpage you potentially make that page a little less clear. Go through your website and list all the parts that you think are really cool; the parts your friends are really impressed with. Remove them.

”What impresses you most is likely unnecessary to the successful completion of the core task. Your goal should be to design a website that even an adult can understand.”

Ouch. But true.

And that, my friend, is a great reminder.

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