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The story of the squidoo banana and the blind monkey

In Seth Godin's book on web design, "the big red fez" he discusses the need for a banana. A banana is that thing on the page that tells you, unambiguously, what you're supposed to do. No prizes for spotting the banana here:


What if the Seth's monkey didn't recognise the banana though, he'd see it there in front of him, but ignore it, after all, the jungle's a big place. Full of fruit.

Enter Squidoo.


The banana here is/are blatantly obvious, but there's a problem, I have no idea why I'm supposed to pick it, or what I'm supposed to do with it once I do. Sadly it seems, neither do most of the other monkeys.

To me there needs to be a different banana, twice as big as the two above, and that one would say WHY SQUIDOO? (all kinds of irony here). That, I'd click. Then I could make my decision on the buttons shown above.

The banana concept is a very good one, but web designers would do well to remember that it's the monkey's needs that are important, not the tree's...!

Posted by Rich...! | Permalink


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Hah, very nicely analogy. Back in December, Cameron Moll (huge respect) predicted the demise of the Fisher Price look in 2006, saying:

I wonder if we belittle users with visuals that implicitly say, “Hey, you’re too foolish to choose what to do next, so I’ve put a really big button right here just for you.”

Garrett Dimon, on the other hand, believes in big.

Me? I'm all for the balance you're talking about. The FireFox homepage is a good example, the latest rendition of FlyTime is my humble attempt at walking the tightrope.

Either way, it's all about really putting yourself in your user/client/whoever's shoes, trying to think like they would!

Posted by: Martin | 11 Jan 2006 09:50:48

Update: Looks like they've realised, the homepage is much improved these days...

Posted by: martin | 21 Feb 2006 10:46:16

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Posted by: tee | 14 Aug 2006 23:14:56