In my day job I am the webmaster for a large global company. We have a site that I inherited that needs to be updated, and some web design agencies have found out about this and are starting to send me emails enticing me to check them out.
So far, so normal.
Interestingly most of these agencies mention usability in their spiels, correctly stating that if a site is not easy to use then it will result in less sales. Now this starts to interest me; usually I have to scream until I am blue in the face to get designers to lower themselves to the point where they will condescend to consider usability.
So – off I surf to check out these design agency sites to see if they should be included on the list of people I send the revamp / redesign tender out to….
… and every single one of them – and I do mean every one – breaks all of the top ten mistakes of web design. Especially the basics: using non-standard link colours and opening new windows on links that leave the site.
At this point rational self-restraint falls away and I flame these idiots, along the lines of “how the hell can you sell usability when you don’t understand it well enough to implement it on your own site?!” – and then I will list their Crimes Against Usability and quote the address of the pages they occur on.
And the most bizarre thing? – not one of these people then contacts me to say anything – ever… and not one of them ever goes away to fix the problems on their site. I suppose paying lip service to usability and using it as a sales tool and conning people who do not know what real usability is, is far easier than actually implementing a real world usable site.