That’s right. Websites don’t actually do anything … people do.
We sometimes forget that simple fact in the torrent of “Let’s make it do this, and that, and more of this and oh! wouldn’t *that* be awesome?” For as many cool features that we pack into our sites and applications, without users – nothing would ever be accomplished.
We need to take a User Centered Design (UCD) approach. Wikipedia defines UCD as “a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process.” A tip of the hat to whomever wrote it that way, because they nailed it on the head. As site and application builders, we must be cognizant of all of those things about our users. Especially the last one: limitations.
When we fail to recognize and account for the limitations of our customers, we are handing them nothing but a sword to stab themselves with. If a user cannot reasonably fulfill basic tenets of our application’s requirements because of hardware limitations, computer prowess or physical handicap – our ‘great new thing’ just goes onto their pile of ‘great new things’ they can’t use.
Don’t let your next big thing end up on a pile of useless junk.