Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Magazine Usability 2.0

ReadyMade is another magazine that understands how its readers use it. Primarily a how-to mag for hip, young DIYers, much of ReadyMade's contents are instructions for household projects. But they seem to know how people make decisions about what projects to do and how they use instructions.

For each project, they include this handy Project Card that outlines time, cost, difficulty, and materials in addition to the instructions. The card makes it easy to compare projects and to decide which to take on and which are beyond my skill-level (most). The evolutionary scale chart for project difficulty is clever an intuitive. The stopwatch, however, requires that you read the Project Card description at the front of each issue which explains:
Completion times range from one hour to two days depending on how many minutes have elapsed on the stopwatch. At the 5 minute mark, you'll spend less than an hour; at the 55 minute mark, you're skipping Reno 911.
The convention is consistent across issues, but they could just as easily write "3 hours". (Imagine if the cost were depicted as dollar bills where each bill represented $5.00.)

[Project Card from ReadyMade, 17, May/June 2005, p.78]

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