The Usability Kit: The Professional’s Web Usability Toolkit
Authors: Gerry Gaffney and Daniel Szuc
Binder: 397 pages
Originally Published: November 2006
The Usability Kit has two very distinct parts. The first half is about usability theory and how best to work with project teams during website development. A lot of ground is covered here including such things as remembering to bring pens and paper to your development meetings (not exactly earth shattering!) as well as how to work within different layers of the approval processes. Most of the information in the first half of the kit can be applied to any business team working on any sort of project. There was a lot of good information here but it wasn’t what I was really looking for when I threw down $200 for the kit.
That information was in the second half.
If you purchase the usability kit (I recommend you do) and you don’t work in the corporate every-body-needs-to-give-their-approval environment, then I suggest you skip the first half of the kit and dive right into the blueprints. You can always go back and read the first half later.
The blueprints contain all of the ready-to-implement information you need for creating a very usable website. There are 24 blueprints starting with the About Us page and taking you (alphabetically) all the way to Video and Audio Content. You’ll learn how to make every area of your site more user friendly. The authors cover contact us pages, navigation menus, product pages, blogs, forms and more.
Since each blueprint is a standalone chapter its easy to take them one-by-one and methodically begin editing your site . You don’t have to bit off more than you can chew at any one time and make whatever changes are warranted at your convenience, one page at a time.
While the authors claim this book is only for usability noobs, it certainly has value to those more experienced. The Usability Kit is a great addition to the usability arsenal. And if you don’t already have one, its the perfect start.