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Distinctive Design: A Practical Guide to a Useful, Beautiful Web by Alexander Dawson

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Chapter 9: The Construct of Usability

The importance of recognizable, easy-to-use sites

The importance of designing a site around the needs of its users goes without question. As the complexity of your layouts increases, so will the demands of your users. The aim of usability is simply to promote an evenhanded interface that users can negotiate without incurring complications.

In this chapter, I expand on the ideologies of user experience, accessibility, and design theory by exploring the world of usability. I discuss how to make an adaptive, flexible design as well as the ways to make your work unique. You examine the objectives of usable design, the basis of trends and conventions, heuristic design, anti-patterns, plus some content on inspiration. Then I share some insight into the design and arrangement of the common layout elements that matter most, including information about eye-tracking and usability testing.

Universal Usability

Throughout this book, I emphasize providing a user-centered design in which your visitors’ needs remain a priority. This chapter reinforces this point with a subject that plays a big role in the usefulness of websites, applications, and products. The case for usability directly follows the idea of user-experience design and that everything you produce needs to be free of all barriers to entry, if possible.

The companion e-book has an independent chapter examining the case for accessibility and reinforces that visibility is what primarily allows ...

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