Web site usability - improve or die

Recently I've been in the position of explaining to some people why a certain website is not done properly. There were many problems with the final result but the biggest was a serious lack in usability which is the first thing any developer should pay attention to.

"Assumption is the mother of all f***ups!" reminds me of a variety of Flash websites. You enter a world of flying beetles, thunder and sounds just to be left cold in the rain, alone and wondering what just happened. Many Flash websites are nothing more than a representation of what Flash can do and authors tend to assume that the visitors are going to instantly understand how to navigate a complex multimedia experience. I want a website I can use, not an RPG I have to learn.

When you finish building your website and you think everything is just perfect now, do yourself a favor and make some people use it before you put it online. No, not the co-worker sitting on a desk 4 feet away, someone that doesn't know what the website is all about. You'll see, some things will have to be changed for sure. Have you wondered why big websites have a beta version online before it goes live? So that the visitors can comment and bugs can be wiped out. Remember, the visitor is always right and content is king. I know it sucks but hey :)
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