Web Applications Usability

A particular strength of Arc is helping medium-size clients develop affordable applications that can harness the immense power of relational databases while, at the same time, remaining highly usable by rank-and-file (non-technical) operators.

The key to web application usability is making it intuitive for the user. We find that the best way to make things easy on the user is to achieve the right visual-verbal balance: enough words, but not too many words; graphics that really help convey meaning, with a minimum of graphic "noise."

Is usability your number one goal? Let's talk! Contact us for help with of your web application today!

Usability Guidelines

Our guiding principles for providing great web application usability are:

  1. shallow - minimize the aggregate clicks needed to get work done
  2. fast - start by giving users pages that load fast, and that they can scan fast
  3. uncluttered - ruthlessly subject every page element to the question: is this necessary? does it add enough value? could it be clearer? simpler?
  4. focused - avoid the temptation to do too much in one place; the "typical user" has a threshold above which more functionality is an obstacle.

Usability is Learnability

We believe that the process of using a web application is inherently a process of exploration and learning. Instead of building an imposing application and then subjecting the user to extensive training and providing a massive manual or "help" guide, we structure the application so that it yields its secrets up to the user in the process of use. To us, the test of a good application is that it doesn't need a manual; the application is its own manual.

Content Management Systems (CMSs) need to be usable, too!

In addition to building sites that are easy for "ordinary users" -- retail customers or consumers -- to use, it's important to make the administrative back end sections of sites usable. At Arc, we devote a great deal of attention to making back end systems that staff find intuitive and convenient to operate. That's one of the reasons we like using Joomla for content management. We also emphasize usability in all the custom back ends we build.

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