As a developer, it’s easy to get buried in code and forget how people actually use what I’m writing. An interface element or workflow that seems intuitive to me can often lead to confusion and frustration in the casual visitor. If I want to transform my code into an application, I must become the visitor and walk the path I’ve built. Each step must answer one question: Am I showing something useful?
Answering this question is a powerful way of evaluating any design. Too often, it’s easier to display some sort of bland, generic page that does nothing of value. Each of these non-pages cost us visitors who would rather spend time doing something useful instead of aimlessly wandering, looking for the next step. All the visual gimmicks and traffic-generating tricks in the world are for naught if I can’t say “Yes, I am showing something useful.”