A little more reflection on Krug’s Don’t Make me Think:
Krug mentions that users will often use websites in ways we can’t imagine and he gives the example of users typing URLs into search engine text boxes. I would have been skeptical reading this if it weren’t for my experience with the public. I see this happen all the time. Lately, I’ve done some of my own usability testing as patrons ask for help. Instead of saying click here do that, I ask them where they think they should click.
At first I found this phenomenon (typing URLs into search boxes) hard to understand, but the other day I experienced empathy with the user. I was helping a patron who was having difficulty getting to a webpage and I had them repeat what they normally did to get there. Sure enough they typed the url into the Google search box and began scrolling through the results. “It should be right here, but It’s gone.” They were looking at a particular rank in the search. Apparently, the page ranking had changed. I explained that since they had the Internet address it would be easier to type it into the address bar at the top of the browser and they would taken directly to the site. “This is the way I’ve always gotten there.”
The point of empathy is this: When I drive in an unfamiliar city, I may know a way to a certain location and there is a comfort in knowing that way and having confirmed it myself. Others, who know the city better than me, may make suggestions for a “short cut,” but I KNOW my way works.