It doesnt matter what you think of your Web pages unless you plan on being the only one who looks at them. Of course, you like your Web pages; you created them. They look great on your browser and your monitor and youre proud of them. So you can keep em on your computer for only you to view, you can print em, frame em and hang em on your wall, or you can publish em on the WWW. The choice is always yours.
You wanna publish em, do ya? You want to share them with the WWW community and show them your creations? You want millions of Net surfers to visit your Web pages frequently and applaud your work? Now the tables have turned. No matter how much you like your Web pages, your users likes and dislikes determine your Web pages future.
The rest of this chapter assumes that, regardless of the content in your Web pages and regardless of your desired participant audience, you want to provide Web pages that please your participants and keep them coming back for more. The testing procedures discussed in the following paragraphs are aimed at helping you create and maintain an enjoyable and informative site for your target audience.
Rule number 1: Users Rule.
Rule number 2: When in doubt about what to do, refer to Rule number 1.
You see that word again, user. What happened to the users? Todays Web surfers dont sit in front of their computer as passive participants/users. They want to actively participate in your Web site. They want to experience it, get into it, and be a player in the action. Involve them in your testing, or they wont become involved in your site.
These rules do not mean that you must do everything every user asks of you. If your Web page is about earthquakes, you certainly dont want to include information on kite flying just because somebody requests it. However, if some of your readers request a different arrangement of earthquake information so that they can review it more easily, you might be well advised to accommodate those wishes. Change for the sake of change is upsetting to most folks, but change for the better, with valid reasons and advanced participant education, can benefit everyone involved.
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Revised -- January 16, 1998