In the article "Evolution Trumps Usability Guidelines", Jared M. Spool calls web usability guidelines into question.
In his opinion we can't assume that following guidelines will result in more usable sites if they haven't been tested properly in various contexts. Following such guidelines can even harm the usability of a site:
"This means that following untested guidelines is like drinking water from an unidentified source. It might quench your thirst, but it could also make you very ill."
The problem with guidelines is an old one in interface design and has been discussed intensively in the literature. Some of the most important conclusions here is, that usability guidelines has proven very useful, but they should be used with caution:
- Never use a guideline without considering its relevance in the context it will be applied to
- Never base your design choices solely on guidelines - use other methods to verify its usefulness
- Study how users interact with you designs
- The article Evolution Trumps Usability Guidelines
- Lyle Kantrovich's comment to the article
- October 01, 2002
See also: Tips and guidelines (95)