User stories, the impact of search engine optimisation, and vestibular disorders

There is no overarching theme to this week’s articles. Just three articles I think are worth sharing.

Encouraging content collaboration through user stories

Here is another usability approach similar to personas, called user stories. Paul Boag suggests using this as a way to overcome the political turf wars that can dog web designs in large organisations.

A user story is a basic way of describing a task that a user wants to complete on the website. It can have a format like this:

  • As a [user type]…
  • …I want to [task]…
  • …so that [goal].

Not only do user story cards focus stakeholders on the user, they also act as a filter for irrelevant content and functionality. If the stakeholder is unable to write a user story for the content or functionality they require, then it probably should not exist online.

Furthermore, this approach leaves it to the expert (the web professional) to work out the best way of meeting the user’s needs. In many cases they will come up with a more elegant solution for helping the user than the stakeholder will have thought of.

Get to the top of Google!

A really interesting article about the past, present and future of search engine optimisation.

…it forces you to create a better website! Good SEO optimisation should be baked into your information architecture. It will force you to think about common content themes. It requires you to consider how all digital assets (such as videos and user-generated content) will be integrated into the overall user experience. It helps eliminate user experience dead ends such as gratuitious Flash interfaces and, my personal pet peeve, content locked in PDFs. It extends your perception of your online footprint beyond the bounds of your website, including things like social media. It will also instil a healthy rigour when it comes to thinking about how your site links together. Good SEO practices means a better user experience.

A primer to vestibular disorders

Have you thought about how webpages might affect people with vestibular disorders? Animations and movements on a webpage can be problematic for some people.

It is often easy to forget about some of the accessibility requirements that some people might have. This is a reminder that often the simpler design solution is the better one.

Don’t make animations, sliders, rapid movement start automatically. Give an indicator of what movement will happen on the site when a user takes action. Allow the user the option to turn off any animation and movement.

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