Clarity is Massive Win (3rd June 2008)

Usability (and therefore accessibility) boils down to clarity, I think. For people to complete tasks, they must understand the system. It must be clear what they need to do at each step. As well as which part of the system does it.

This applies to all aspects of the system, including:

This clarity is best achieved by removing as much as possible. Yet enough must be kept for each step to be a convenient distance from the last.

In particular, removing inconsistencies makes the system more predictable. This makes it clear to users what each component does and how it will react when being used. Keeping the same thing in the same place on every page of a website is a plain-as-day example of getting this right.

Yet there are helpful inconsistencies. A little highlight in the main navigation to show which section the user is on. De-linking items which would point to the current page. But moving the navigation from one side of the screen to another, moving it down by a row, adding another item, changing it’s colour scheme and putting a main heading where it was? Gimme a break.