Journal of Usability Studies Articles – Lacking in Usability

Jared Spool

September 27th, 2008

It’s been years since we’ve written about the Scent of Information and how to use trigger words in links to make them more usable.

So, it shouldn’t be news or a surprise to anyone in the world of web site usability that having clear links that describe what the user will find after clicking is a priority in the design process.

Fortunately, making things usable isn’t a priority for the folks at the Journal of Usability Studies, who just released their latest issue. It’s great that they now have online versions of the articles, instead of having to read the PDFs.

However, we think they could do better on the table of contents for the article:

The Table of Contents for an article in the Journal of Usability Studies

They could say a little more about what the article says in each section, don’t you think? I wonder what would happen if they did a little testing?

3 Responses to “Journal of Usability Studies Articles – Lacking in Usability”

  1. MikeWhoBikes Says:

    I’d be interested to see what alternative you propose as this seems reasonably clear to me. Are you suggesting making the link text itself less generi or placing a short sentence/paragraph next to each item to provide a brief summary?

  2. Jared Spool Says:

    @MikeWhoBikes

    Are you suggesting making the link text itself less generic or placing a short sentence/paragraph next to each item to provide a brief summary?

    Either would work great. Good trigger words tell the reader what they’ll get when they click. What’s in the “discussion” portion? How is it different from the “conclusion” section?

    While they do provide the headings of the article, those headings were never meant to be taken out of the context of the article. Instead, good links should provide some sort of clue to the reader as to the benefit of clicking.

  3. Cedric.Soubrie Says:

    I totally agree with you Jared, I even think that what you are saying should be done for any document (paper, .doc, web page…)

    I always tell people : “Make your title tell something about what is in the paragraph”.

    A title like ‘Introduction’ will not make anyone want to read a page. On the other hand, if you make a brief summary (a few word) about the big message in the paragraph, people will be attracted.

    That’s what they are doing in newspaper.

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