iGoogle is a site that allows the user to set up a personalized homepage that can be a personal information portal.
Attention: The site uses themes to allow a customized experience for each user. These themes have different icons and color schemes, but all act in a similar way. They allow for the information to be separated based upon which “gadget” is enabled. Ex: The Gmail tab allows for the user to see their email directly from the iGoogle page, and is separated from the other tabs by thick top borders and thin side borders. The top right portion of each gadget has options to view a menu, minimize the gadget, and close the gadget. There can also be separate tabs setup to have multiple pages separated by what type of information you want displayed (ex: Entertainment, Sports, News, etc.)
Perception: The small margins between each gadget allows the eyes to flow easily over the page, and also minimizes the possibility of confusion as to which gadget the user is looking at. The top and bottom borders allow for separation between the gadgets. The icons used both inside and outside the gadgets allow for easy finding of a particular function (ex: Paint tray for “Get artist themes”). The use of an easily readable font, bolding, and underlining techniques make it easier for the user’s eyes to flow through the page without any unneeded distraction.
Memory: The simplicity of the site allows for it to be easily memorized. Allowing for the user to drag and drop the gadgets into a place that is easier to remember for them adds to the ease of memory in this site. This site takes only a few minutes to get up and running, and with the use of default content, a user can experiment with that data before having to set up their own personalized content, once again adding to the learning process of the site. There are no extremely complicated procedures that will make it difficult for a user to accomplish a specific task, and the use of menus and navigation options that do not move per each use of the site allows the information for the user to be stored in the same location upon each visit.
Learning: The learning is based upon navigation through the site and user interaction. The learning will mainly occur each time the user adds a new gadget or goes through the menus and settings on previously added gadgets. The site encourages exploration by allowing the user to search for new gadgets in a similar fashion to a google search, or the user can browse through the popular gadgets and add ones related to their interests. Because the interface is setup in a way where the user can drag/drop into specific areas, and the content will automatically be placed over, there isn’t much difficulty in reorganizing or adding new data.
Problem Solving: As with most Google software, there are demos available to try out before you experiment on your own page. Users can also click helps links located throughout the site if they run into any particular problems. There are thorough guides placed throughout the Google webspace that show more information on the particular gadgets that can be added and the features that they may have. The help functions are simple and easy to remember in case of having to use them on multiple occasions and not having to try to remember their placement or function.