My 13-year old son and I were playing Halo on the Xbox 360 recently and I asked him what made him such a good player. What he said really made sense. He said, “I don’t have to think. My hands just do what my head is thinking.” When technology is at its best, we don’t have to think. This is true of Websites as well. In fact, one of the best books on Web usability is Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think!”
We have seen two important trends in user testing around people thinking too much and failing at a Website task. The first is large blocks of content that says nothing. Here is an example from a real Website:
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What are they saying?
Use clear bullet points that can be scanned by users in the language they speak.
The second area is confusing navigation and links. Users simply will not click on something they have to think about too much. They just leave and go to another Website. Use one central navigation system with easily understood link titles. If you have difficulty deciding on your link titles, visit Wordtracker.com to see the most popular search terms.
One of the best compliments a user can say about your Website, or any technology, is that they don’t have to think to use it.