Usability Improvement

My readers are telling me that the site is simple and easy to use. Here are some samples:

Jian Shuo Wang’s blog – SARS and life in China, including photos and interesting conversations. Nice simple design too. — kim gilmour

I found out your web site seriuos and well arranged ,simple but efficient.. — David

I am very happy to know that. Want to know the reason why this site is easy to use? Why the design is simple but effective? The answer is, I am interested in usability and has paid a lot of effort especially on usability of this site.

Added weekday to date

Under each title (in the headline of homepage or in any individual article), there is a date of the article. I changed the date from the format of “May 10, 2003 10:38 AM” to “Saturday, May 10, 2003 10:38 AM”. Note that weekday was added to the date.

People are more interested to see whether the entry is created today or yesterday – which is more easier to identify by weekday, instead of day of the month.


On the homepage, I changed the title of the second section from MORE NEWS to PREVIOUS HEADLINES

The first action after a reader read the headlines is, I bet, to find out previous headlines. So the term “PREVIOUS HEADLINES” may reflects the task better.

Added “Other entries (complete list)”

In the PREVIOUS HEADLINES section, I list 5 most recent entries. There is a big usability problem with this design since people will get very confused in the following two situations:

1. The user are not interested in these 5 articles and want to read more

2. or the reader has visited the site 10 days before and interested in the headline, but now the headline is removed from both the current headline or the 5 previous headline. Where to find it?

So I added “?Read: Other entires (complete list)” and give the archive page more exposure.

Added “Last 20 comments”

Under the COMMENTS section, I listed 7 comments. But any list of recent entries, just like the previouew headlines section, needs a link that leads longer list. So people can find their comment even it is removed from the list on the homepage.

7 thoughts on “Usability Improvement

  1. Dear Jian Shuo,

    Thank you for putting up a very informative web site. More people should be aware of the practical, helpful but often hidden features such as Cleartype and how to block MSN Messenger spam.

    Please ask your company (Microsoft) to post instructions regarding MSN Messenger spam on their help web site. Their omission of such a problem is supprising.

    Please keep up your great work.

    Lamp Post.

    PS: This posting may be off topic. Is there a general web board on your web site for general postings?

  2. Lamp, I think you are right that something need to be posted to the official website. Let me see if I can make it happen. Regarding the general posting suggestion, I have added the guestbook link under comment system.

  3. HI Wang,

    i am looking to buy oil heaters for the winter. can you give me some pointers as to where i should purchase and how much do they generally cost?

    thanks, best regards, C.

  4. Jian Shou,

    I also wondered what PNR meant on the United Airline ticket and surfing I found your site and explantion. Thanks!

    I was in your city on December 28 and I was looking to buy a deeply discount ticket to Guangzhou but couldn’t find any agencies that do so. I finally bought a soft sleeper to GZ at ~600 RMB as it was next to the YMCA Jian Jiang where I was staying.

    Later there were people passing discount ticket agent cards with up to 60% discounts near Xiang Yang market but too late for me. However, when I was in GZ I got at ticket for ~400 RMB to SaYa, Hainan, a whopping 60-70% off the published price. The discount varied according to the time of flight and airline.In Sanya I got the same whopping discount from Haikou to Shenzhen ~350 RMB directly from an airline agent office.

    How and where I can do it in Shanghai? I may be coming again in the summer headed for Tibet via Beiging or Shanghai. This info would be helpful to others. I can speak some Putonghua but better in Cantonese.

    Thanks for your wonderful site.

    Chune Lee,

    San Francisco Bay Area

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