From Loren Nelson, NelsonEcom
Finding and Building Solutions for Your Internet Goals
Visual Design, Web Sites, Podcasts, Multimedia, & Usability Engineering

April 11, 2008 – Vol. XII, No. 12


NetBits is the weekly newsletter keeping your informed of various chatter and delicious tidbits of potential relevance.


In This Issue:

Item One: Top Three Design Priorities
Item Two: Boyfriends Do More Housework Than Husbands
Item Three: Fitness Tip – The Six Cherry Remedy for Gout
Item Four: Word of the Week
Item Five: Lost Your Search Engine Rankings?
Do you know…

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1. Top Three Design Priorities

What’s the common theme in all these business-killing usability problems? They all involve simple usability principles that have been the same for ten years. None of them involve advanced "Web 2.0" technology; none would be fixed by implementing any of the fancy stuff that everybody’s talking about.

Indeed, the biggest design flaws destroying business value typically involve:

  • Communicating clearly so that users understand you. Users allocate minimal time to initial website visits, so you must quickly convince them that the site’s worthwhile.
  • Providing information users want. Users must be able to easily determine whether your services meet their needs and why they should do business with you.
  • Offering simple, consistent page design, clear navigation, and an information architecture that puts things where users expect to find them.

Get these three right, and you’ll enhance your site’s credibility, ease a user’s way through the site, and thus do far more for the site’s business value than any JavaScript trick.

2. Boyfriends Do More Housework Than Husbands

Married men do less housework than live-in boyfriends, finds an international survey.

But married women do more housework than their live-in counterparts.

“Marriage as an institution seems to have a traditionalizing effect on couples—even couples who see men and women as equal,” said co-researcher Shannon Davis, a sociologist at George Mason University in Virginia.

Understanding the dynamics of couples who live together but are not married has become more important as cohabitation around the globe increases. More than 5 million unmarried partner households (more than 10 million individuals) currently exist in the United States, according to a 2006 report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"I do," just not housework

The scientists analyzed surveys gathered in 2002 from 28 nations, from 17,636 respondents (8,119 males and 9,517 females) as part of the Family and Changing Gender Roles III Survey. All respondents were either married or cohabiting with a significant other.

Overall, they found men spent about 9 hours a week on housework compared with women, who spent more than 20 hours weekly.

"There’s still a gender norm, since women do more housework than men regardless of union type," said study team member Jennifer Gerteisen Marks, who is working on a doctorate degree at North Carolina State University.

Regardless of the couples’ relative earnings or work hours, cohabiting males reported more household hours than did their married counterparts, while the opposite was true for women, with wives picking up the broom more often than live-in girlfriends.

Equal partners

Other factors also came into play. Men who raked in more earnings than their partners did fewer hours of housework than men with lower relative incomes. "Those in the household with greater resources will leverage those resources to bargain their way out of housework," the authors write in the September issue of the Journal of Family Issues.

Couples who viewed men and women as equals were more likely to divvy up chores equally. But even in "egalitarian households," married men still contributed less to household chores than did their wives.

"It’s consistent with prior research, which has shown that the roles of wives and husbands are very powerful," Marks told LiveScience. "In a cohabiting relationship there aren’t such strongly prescribed social norms, which trickle down to things like housework."

3. Fitness Tip – The Six Cherry Remedy for Gout

Gout can cause excruciating pain. Here is a very effective folk remedy… It dates back to the 1950’s, to a Texas doctor who was so crippled by a gouty big toe, he was forced to use a wheelchair. he reported in a Texas medical journal that a diet including six cherries a day soon had him up and walking. He added that his physician tried the cherry diet on 12 patients and had equally spectacular results. A survey done by Prevention magazine found that 67 percent of readers who tried cherries for gout enjoyed good results. Also, a top kinesiologist in Louisville, Kentucky, enthusiastically recommends them. He advises people with gout to quiet eating red meats and organ meats and also to drink two to three glasses of cherry juice a day. He recommends using pure black-cherry juice diluted with an equal amount of water.

4. Word of the Week

alley-oop • \al-ee-OOP\ • noun

: a basketball play in which a leaping player catches a pass above the basket and immediately dunks the ball; also : the usually looping pass thrown on such a play

Example Sentence:
"With alley-oops, slam dunks and big smiles, the West [All-Stars] showed why Friday night’s contest was called an all-star game . . ." (Peter Pupello, St. Petersburg Times [Florida], March 29, 2008)

Did you know?
"Alley-oop" was first heard by English ears under the big tops of early 20th-century circuses. When acrobats were about to leap to their trapezes, they would often cry the similarly sounding French word "allez-oop" — an interjection meaning roughly "go up." Both "acrobat" and "trapeze" are also French derivatives, leaping into the English language in the 19th century, so the French parentage of "alley-oop" is not surprising. By the 1950s, the word was also being used on the gridiron and the hardwood for show-stopping arcing passes and leaping dunks. Its latest venue is the half-pipe, where skateboarders and snowboarders pull "alley-oop" spinning tricks.

5. Lost Your Search Engine Rankings?

When your search engine rankings fluctuate, or even if your site drops from the rankings, don’t panic. Understand that these things happen in this industry, and they WILL happen to you.

They happen to all of us.

What you DON’T want to do is make any changes to your Web pages because of fluctuations in the rankings or because your site drops out of the rankings. Step back and wait to see what happens.

Monitor your rankings. Watch the industry. Read the news.

In all likelihood, your pages will reappear right back where they should be (or close to those rankings), if you haven’t done anything wrong (such as using spam). Fluctuations in rankings are normal.

Far too many people PANIC in the short term, when they would be wiser to just take it easy and not start making changes so quickly. Just a word to the wise!

6. Do You Know…
On this day:

  • Brixton Riot (1981)
    In the early 1980s, south London’s Brixton neighborhood was plagued by deep social and economic problems, including high rates of unemployment and crime and poor housing conditions. In 1981, in an effort to reduce street crime, police began stopping and searching anyone they deemed suspicious, a policy that many residents of the predominantly black community found discriminatory and heavy-handed.
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