Web development is one area where understanding user interaction is critical. In order to ensure your audience can perform the necessary tasks it is essential to design an interface that is intuitive, requiring little thinking on the part of the user. Some think that this can be resolved with documentation and training but this is a grave misconception for a couple of reasons:
- No one reads the documentation until they can’t do something; then they look for the solution in the manual.
- In order for the training to be effective, the process needs to make sense to the user. The user interface is critical in establishing a process that follows a well thought out intuitive process that requires little thought to complete.
During user acceptance training for the YaleSites D7 upgrade, I was training a group to create basic pages. What we thought would be an easy Drupal out-of-the-box method turned out to be quite cumbersome, even with written instructions and an instructor (me) in the room. It was a major red flag that sent us back to find a solution. Training and documentation can and should support a web application, but it is not the solution. It should be used to support a thoughtful and well planned process that results in an intuitive user interface.
Has anyone else encountered a similar issue where documentation and training was not enough to make a system user friendly?