A few months back, as a final project for my Usability and Design Class at Intituto de Empresa, I had to choose a website and perform a heuristic evaluation of a website in this particular field and show what I have learned in this course. It didn’t take a long time to set my eye on SlideShare.net. At the time, I was using it heavily for publishing my own work, keeping an eye on what my connection publish and nonetheless research and spot trends.

I must say that SlideShare is a great platform that offers good user experience in many aspects and in my humble opinion there only a few steps that keep them away from “greatness”. I tried to highlight almost everything I saw in the document below. Please keep in mind that the screen-shots were taken before the overhaul revamping of the Sharing options design on SlideShare! However, a recent check showed that the problems I have described are still pending fixing.

And why the post on Usability and User experience?

Usability, in general, and User Experience in specific, tend to be overlooked in the majority of websites I encounter every day. This, indeed, is a grave mistake that site owners soon or later will pay for.

The site visitor comes to the page in search for something. If that something is not found in a timely fashion or if the user cannot find a way to navigate rapidly, he/she will simply shift away his attention and go to another spot on the Internet. Current fashion shows that we are so in love with social media, paid search and search engine optimization that our focus is exclusively on getting a greater number of traffic generated from those channels. Don’t get me wrong! This is all great. But conversion happens on the website, not on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Bing and the likes. And the priority is to have your act together at home before you get out on the street and ask people to come and visit your house.

And this doesn’t take much. Start by reading Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition” and “Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems”. There are, naturally, tons of other books that one can get, but these I regard as the bibles for small and middle-sized enterprises and personal websites.

There is another source that you might want to consider as well. FatDUX is keeping a serious database on their website including many wonderful works related to usability, user experience, information architecture, design etc.

Would love to read your comments!

Copyright © 2010 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.