It's not anecdotal anymore. Content has been low on homepages.
"Websites spend too little homepage screen space on content of interest to users and fail to utilize modern monitor sizes. And? It's worse now than it was 12 years ago."
Just a matter of browse versus search.
"Information can be organized in either flat or deep hierarchies; both have their advantages and pitfalls."
Experience happens between the channels.
"A consistent user experience, regardless of channel, is one of the 4 key elements of a usable cross-channel experience. Consistency across channels helps build trust with customers. (...) As companies and organizations design for the larger user experience, it's important to consider consistency across all channels. Consistent experiences help users build trust with the organization. Each interaction is part of the overall user experience with a company. If the user experience isn't consistent across channels, users will question the organization's credibility."
Brian has always been a great myth buster.
"While the concept of user experience and the term UX have become seemingly ubiquitous in the workplace, most non-UX people still have the wrong idea about what it is. Here are four common UX myths and how we can bust them."
Don't forget, humans are cognitive animals too.
"Some navigation implementations risk pushing users into a state of cognitive strain which lessens the likelihood of them taking desirable actions."
A tip here, a tip there. They can bring you anywhere or nowhere.
"For testing assignments where client teams are ready, willing and able to take immediate action, being flexible with tasks within and between participants can offer better bang for your buck."
(Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)
Usability in a new form factor has its own idiosyncrasies.
"Flat design and improperly rescaled design are the main threats to tablet usability, followed by poor gestures and workflow."
Speed and attention, two challenges for UX.
"Users might overlook things that change too fast - and even when they do notice, changeable screen elements are harder to understand in a limited timeframe."
Thin versus deep reading and understanding: online versus offline.
"When web content helps users focus on sections of interest, users switch from scanning to actually reading the copy."
Facts, not 'factoids'. Find 'Facts', replace 'Content'.
"Users hunt for facts online, so factually rich content will attract readers and keep their attention."
Many things can be stopped or changed, except age. So change the web.
"Users aged 65 and older are 43% slower at using websites than users aged 21-55. This is an improvement over previous studies, but designs must change to better accommodate aging users."
Pages as dividers are old school from the atom world.
"Long listings might need pagination by default, but if users customize the display to 'View All' list items, respect that preference."
So, grow-up you UX community.
"Unfortunately, boardroom UX literacy does not develop by itself. It is the role of UX leaders to create an environment in which it can develop within their companies’ leadership teams and to provide meaningful data to which it can be applied. (...) I would suggest that the root cause leading to CEOs remaining underserved by the typical usability data available to them is a continued lack of business leadership focus and practice understanding among the UX community."
Win8 as talk of the town. We'll get used to it.
"Windows 8 gets a lot right, but Microsoft's determination to offer computer and mobile users the same interface makes the operating system somewhat weird."
The past 100 years of the future: Human-computer interaction in science-fiction movies and television (.pdf)
HCI in films, TV shows and SciFi is really getting a genre.
"During the past hundred years, science-fiction (sci-fi) films and, later, videos, have, of necessity, had to depict detailed views of human-computer interaction (HCI) of the future, or alternate pasts/presents, in order to convey a compelling scene and, sometimes, in order move forward the plot. This publication explores some of the themes that emerge from examining this body of work. The basic premise is simple: HCI professionals can learn something from sci-fi media, and sci-fi media-producers can learn more from HCI professionals in order to show smarter views of the future."
Carousels and accordions are for fairs, children parties and other festivities, not for web design.
"The user's target was at the top of the page in 98-point font. But she failed to find it because the panel auto-forwarded instead of staying still."
A voice from the distant past: the intranet.
"Although intranet design is improving, it hasn't kept pace with increased complexity in enterprise requirements, so measured usability is down slightly."
A Dutch delight.
"The Design for Usability project published a book that provides the product development community with a comprehensive and coherent overview of the results of the project, in such a way that they can be applied in practice. The book outlines the studies conducted in the project, and indicates how the individual research projects are related and which of them can be applied in a coherent mode."
Usability, (still) a vibrant concept.
"Nowadays, many users experience usability issues with their electronic products. It does not work as they expect or otherwise irritates the user, so he becomes dissatisfied about the product and may even complain about it. These numbers of complaints to companies and usability issues are high and rising. Reasons for these increasing numbers are the highly complex electronic products that are being developed, the global economy in which they are created and produced, and the wide variety of users that uses the product."
A kind of atoms versus bits, again.
"Product quality has to be judged in the context of human tasks, and reviews should emphasize real use—not raw numbers."
Mobile newsletters, why not?
"Mobile use strengthens email marketing's benefits by offering ubiquitous newsletter access, but it also introduces new usability limitations for template design."
Make it as real as possible.
"(...) there are some differences between testing a prototype and testing a fully functional Web site or application. In this column, I'll provide some tips that can make your usability studies more successful and help you to avoid problems when testing prototypes."
All you can measure...
"Users generally prefer designs that are fast and easy to use, but satisfaction isn't 100% correlated with objective usability metrics."
The more things change, the less things change.
"Web design is stabilizing; the average homepage is only about 40% different than it was a year before. (Corresponding to 2.5 years between complete redesigns.)"
The more you know, the more you see.
"Users don't see stuff that's right on the screen. Selective attention makes people overlook things outside their focus of interest."
Designing for humans, not machines.
"What makes a website good will also give it a high SERP rank, but overly tricky search engine optimization can undermine the user experience."
In the end, it's all about use, isn't it.
"What's worth the most — field studies or user tests? Depends on your company's usability maturity, but user testing is the safe bet if you can do only one thing."
Typography post in an usability context.
"Decent computer screens with pixel densities of 220 PPI or more lead to new usability guidelines for on-screen typography."
Sounds like George A. Miller's 1956 Magical Number.
"The answer is 5, except when it's not. Most arguments for using more test participants are wrong, but some tests should be bigger and some smaller."
Apps are returning from the era of desktop application designs.
"The winning app UIs include domain-specific solutions that allow humans to focus on deeper issues while the software takes care of the mechanics."
Jakob still stirs the pot.
"Nielsen's recommendation that publishers build separate mobile sites has been met with astonishment from the industry."
(Tanya Combrinck ~ .net magazine) courtesy of karenmcgrane
Jakob is wrong on everything, except usability.
"For all of Jakob Nielsen's many great contributions to web usability over the years, his advice for mobile is just 180-degrees backward. His latest guidelines perpetuate several stubborn mobile myths that have led too many to create 'lite' mobile experiences that patronise users, undermine business goals, and soak up design and tech resources."
Still wondering what the usability engineer actually does. Nielsen term, usability engineering.
"Usability Engineers may be great designers or maybe crap designers but as long as they include objective design rationale for their proposed solutions they will always be helpful."
It looks scientific, but it's not.
"Three approaches to better design: each has its uses, but the costs, benefits, and risks differ dramatically."
And mostly, it's not the flow of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
"Smooth-flow task performance makes application use pleasurable. But disruptions are all too common due to crinkly design or creaking implementation."
In the end, open standards will always survive proprietary technologies. But it can take a while.
"Mobile apps currently have better usability than mobile sites, but forthcoming changes will eventually make a mobile site the superior strategy."
I'm wondering if traditional media also have this chrome thing.
"Chrome is the user interface overhead that surrounds user data and web page content. Although chrome obesity can eat half of the available pixels, a reasonable amount enhances usability."
Less usability, more friction.
"In this article I'll be applying a similar approach to introduce Positive UX; the idea that good UX isn't simply the absence of usability issues. I intend to draw parallels between the fields of well-being and UX in order to illustrate the factors that define and foster Positive UX and the implications this may have on measuring good experience with the web."
(Rob Howells ~ Humanising Technology)
But the thoughts coming out are not always usable.
"Simple usability tests where users think out loud are cheap, robust, flexible, and easy to learn. Thinking aloud should be the first tool in your UX toolbox, even though it entails some risks and doesn't solve all problems."
Every practice is made by people, not organizations. Focus on people, not brands.
"In this article, we give you some personal perspective on the changing role of human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers practicing in industry over the last 25 years and look to the future. We identify long-lasting themes and emerging trends and add some insight from our experiences working in IT research and development. These experiences include collaborating as team members on a series of HCI research projects during 15 of over 20 years at IBM Research. We also describe what it has been like having a two-person HCI household over the years."
You still have to instruct a computer what to do. Even when it's a smart phone or a tablet.
"Overloading different outcomes on similar commands can be confusing. Using the same command for multiple actions enhances usability if the results are conceptually the same."
Putting your fingers on Fire, then what happens?
"Mobile web sites work best on the 7-inch tablet. Users had great trouble touching the correct items on full sites, where UI elements are too small on the Fire screen."
The more knowledge and understanding you have, the better the design. Or intuition.
"Better to accept a wider margin of error in usability metrics than to spend the entire budget learning too few things with extreme precision."
We've banned the term 'user-friendliness' for more than a decade.
"User Research allows us to create hypothesis that are aimed at improving the website's user-friendliness, but more common, conversion. Usability testing allows us to test those hypotheses."
Lots of food for thought in it.
A Conversation with Don Norman and Jon Kolko on Trends in and the Relationships between Art, Business, and Design ~ "The ~2-hour exchange with and between Don and Jon and the audience was particularly engaging, thoughtful, rich, and delightful."
(Richard Anderson a.k.a. @Riander)
Usabilty guidelines are just heuristics, for desktop, laptop and mobile.
"Many guidelines are similar for mobile and desktop design, but their mobile interpretation is much more unforgiving."
See, it's (still) the content, st....!
"Sites have improved, and we now know much more about e-tailing usability. Today, poor content is the main cause of user failure."
Too bad user experience (still) doesn't ring a bell.
"Usability is critical for any medical device and is a key element of our product design and innovation. A product may be technically excellent, but if there is a problem with how it is used or applied, its effectiveness will be impaired."
"The user experience of mobile websites and apps has improved since our last research, but we still have far to go. A dedicated mobile site is a must, and apps get even higher usability scores."
I will stay much longer when there's something interesting to read, which is mostly not the case.
"Users often leave Web pages in 10-20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people's attention for much longer because visit - durations follow a negative Weibull distribution."
Following review recipes (a.k.a. tips, do's and dont's) means you're following algorithms; if you follow anything, let it be heuristics.
"When properly carried out, usability reviews are a very efficient way of finding the usability bloopers in an interface. But there are four common mistakes made by novice reviewers: failing to take the user's perspective; using only a single reviewer, rather than collating the results from a team; using a generic set of usability principles rather than technology-specific guidelines; and lacking the experience to judge which problems are important."
(David Travis a.k.a. @userfocus)
Increasingly 'computer' becomes a generic term; its instantiations matter.
"Mobile use will rise, but desktop computers will remain important, forcing companies to design for multiple platforms, requiring continuity in visual design, features, user data, and tone of voice."
We call this "Eat your own dog food."
"In pilot studies, you can occasionally relax the need for real users and let members of your own team serve as test participants. It's good for them."
The term 'portal' sounds a little old-fashioned; just like 'intranet'.
"Nineteen new case studies of enterprise portals find slow growth in new features; the focus is on robust integration and formalizing governance."
DTDT: One is a quality of an artifact in use; the other is an emerging phenomenon within the human, at the moment, during the episode, and in the long-term.
"After web site accessibility, 'user experience' is probably the phrase that most people tend to confuse usability with. Whilst this topic has been discussed by various experts in the respective fields, I feel the need to write about it for two main reasons. The first reason is that several posts I have encountered emphasize the distinction between these two terms, yet they fail to highlight the relationship that exists between usability and user experience. The second reason is that whilst most of the posts are similar in nature, I have found some minor, albeit very valid points scattered in various posts I have read. Therefore, the objective of this post is to discuss these two terms, whilst highlighting their differences and more importantly the relationship that exists between them in a clear, concise way."
"A confusing startup screen that offends existing subscribers dooms The Wall Street Journal's iPhone app to low ratings."
"Usability testing is a form of user research, in so far as it allows you to make conclusions about a large population based on observations of a small sample of that population. Essentially, we try to assess our products' suitability for our marketplace - as well as its usability for the population of interest - by testing it with a group of typical users. Usability testing often involves both quantitative and qualitative data - either of which can be subject to misunderstandings. This column discusses principles of rigorous research as they apply to usability testing, with an emphasis on reliability and dependability."
"In a miniature information architecture, coverage of a single topic is chunked into units that are connected through simple navigation."
"It's easy to criticize the user experience of an application or website, because we're all end users. But sometimes we use it once, while many have to use it day after day as a part of their job. We talk about how we like using some sites, but there's always the 'I wish it was way.' Still, we are our own worst enemies. We constantly pick at sites and snipe on Twitter how certain missing features are UX 101, but we don't offer constructive feedback. We don't understand that some decisions are based on conscious business decisions. Worst of all, we don't get that company culture, most of all, plays a part in the final product. Not every company is Apple where design is king. Trade offs are made all the time, sometimes without any input from the user experience stakeholders. All good user experience designers make decisions regarding what they can live with and what they can't."
(Patrick Neeman ~ usabilitycounts)
"User testing on 3 continents confirmed that the main usability guidelines hold worldwide, but many other considerations exist to better support international users."
"So in short, when I'm 'interacting' with a website I'm using its user-interface design. How I 'feel' and my 'preferences' when using it is my user experience and how 'easy and intuitive' it is for me to perform the functions I came to do, is a measure of its usability. As you can see, it's really hard for someone to specialise in one of these areas without an understanding of the other two."
"If we can measure the exact ROI of UX, we can demonstrate the value of the UX team, their work and also justify the need for research when it is necessary. Often the complaint around UX is speed. We can speed up the UX process by sketching, measuring features when they are live, and evolving our designs rather than working to create a final and highly polished version at launch. We can calculate the trade-off of using this faster deployment method rather than the more traditional process of doing lots of user testing up-front. There will be times where it isn't appropriate, and knowing the numbers allows us to justify this to the business. A caveat for the faster deployment method is that the UX team must be very senior and experienced."
"For too long usability has been the preserve of geeks – a specialism confined to websites and screens, form factors and devices. We need to realise that usability – in other words 'how easily people can use something to achieve a goal' shouldn't just be restricted to the lab and the engineer. It should be something that everyone expects to get, and everybody strives to provide. Usability should apply to all walks of life and everything that we encounter – it should be ubiquitous. It needs to be about the services we use and the spaces we inhabit."
"Children are becoming an increasingly important target group on the web. Good usability and high user experience are crucial aspects for a successful website. Early and repetitive user testing is the way to go. If we address children on our website, we need to focus on what they want. We need to include children as a target group in our user testing. In this post, I'd like to take a look at usability testing with different age groups."
"Maps API applications are accessed on desktop and mobile devices of many shapes and sizes. Each application has unique goals for conveying information effectively and for facilitating user interactions. Learn how to improve user experience by optimizing the presentation of your map and data and by thoughtful user interface design."
(Luke Mahé, Jez Fletcher, Justin O'Beirne ~ Google I/O sessions)
"iPad apps are much improved, but new usability problems have emerged, such as swipe ambiguity and navigation overload."
"People generally regard improving the usability of products or systems as a major part of our role as UX designers. While there are tradeoffs in all aspects of design, our assumption has generally been that products and systems that are easier to use are preferable to those that are harder to use. However, despite what seemed to be a common understanding, a number of articles have recently reported on research that suggests increased ease of use can be detrimental." (Peter Hornsby ~ UXmatters)
"Many discussions about user interfaces see the same type of arguments. Developers like complicated things, with many things on the screen. Designers like pleasant esthetic experience. This problem can be addressed with usability testing. Many sites have usability problems, including Steve Krug's own site. Steve hasn't fixed the problem, because it's cheaper to send an email in support of a struggling user than to fix the actual problem. You don’t have the resources. Easy to find, but hard to fix. Steve makes the argument you should do the usability testing yourself. Most sites aren't tested, because it costs money, time, and it's hard to find professionals to do it. So Steve will show how to do it yourself." (Michiel Berger - SXSW NL Report)
"Giving money on charity websites is 7% harder than spending money on e-commerce sites. Donating physical items is even harder. For non-profit websites, social media is secondary; the top priority is to write clearer content." (Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)
"A key principle within usability is that people carry around a 'mental model' of how we expect the world to behave. These models are based on past experiences and can be a very powerful factor in influencing how people behave in certain situations. In our experience of usability testing, usability suffers when a site does not match users' expectations. Indeed, our usability testing sessions have repeatedly shown that breaking expectations makes users unhappy." (Tim Fidgeon ~ Spotless Interactive) courtesy of usabilitynews
"How many times has this happened to you? You've finished presenting the results of your usability testing, heuristic evaluation, or other user research activity, feeling great about the positive impact your recommendations will have on a product's user experience. The audience smiled and nodded along during your presentation. Most of them agree with your findings and seem genuinely impressed by the work you've done. But, later on, you face the reality that few of your recommendations have gotten implemented fully—and many, not at all." (Jim Ross ~ UXmatters)
"I am also somewhat sceptical about the value of including information architecture in this analysis. For sure, it is a term currently used within the digital community to describe the application of the principles of user centred design to the development of information-rich websites and applications. But the term was in use long before the web was invented (notably by the software industry)..." (Tony Russell-Rose) ~ courtesy of usabilitynews
"Design reviews are so important for our work as user experience designers, but they too often fail us. Here is a model for design reviews that overcomes the problems of ego, emotion, and communication that so often get in the way of helpful feedback." (Davin Granroth)
"In this case study, Laura Klein takes us inside the design process in a real live startup. (...) Interactive prototypes and iterative testing let you improve the design quickly before you ever get to the coding stage. Targeting only the confusing parts of the interface for redesign reduces the number of things you need to rebuild and helps make both design and development faster. Lean design is about improving the user experience iteratively! Fixing the biggest user problems first means getting an improved experience to users quickly and optimizing later based on feedback and metrics." (Eric Ries ~ Startup Lessons Learned)
"By crafting simple and user-friendly interfaces we relieve our users of the need to think - or more accurately, to think about the more trivial and mechanical parts of the task, things which can be outsourced to the machine. But by doing so we are at risk of indadvertedly surrendering more than we planned for, as we are lured into thinking that interface will do our work for us—and so we spend less time thinking about the problem, less time planning." (Dmitry Fadeyev ~ Usability Post)
"Students are multitaskers who move through websites rapidly, often missing the item they come to find. They're enraptured by social media but reserve it for private conversations and thus visit company sites from search engines." (Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)
"I developed these recommendations based on best practices I observed and was told about in the three case studies I conducted, as well as based on existing literature on usability in practice." (Jasper van Kuijk PhD)
"The use of e-book readers (e-readers or electronic-readers) has become increasingly widespread. An e-reader should meet two important requirements: adequate legibility and good usability. In our study, we investigated these two requirements of e-reader design. Within the framework of a multifunctional approach, we combined eye tracking with other usability testing methods. We tested five electronic reading devices and one classic paper book. The results suggested that e-readers with e-ink technology provided legibility that was comparable to classic paper books. However, our study also showed that the current e-reader generation has large deficits with respect to usability. Users were unable to use e-readers intuitively and without problems. We found significant differences between the different brands of e-book readers. Interestingly, we found dissociations between objective eye-tracking data and subjective user data, stressing the importance of multi-method approaches." (Eva Siegenthaler, Pascal Wurtz, Rudolf Groner ~ Journal of Usability Studies Volume 6, Issue 1)
"Everything is social. Scale is the game changer. Tasks aren’t what you think they are. User satisfaction may be about control. Users are continuously designing your UI. I invite you to work with me on rethinking how we’re doing user research and usability testing for what’s really happening in the world: fluid, context-dependent, relationships mediated by technology. (...) The nature of online is social." (Dana Chisnell ~ Usability Testing)
"The setup for this study was similar to that for any typical usability study. We invited people to participate in one-on-one sessions with a moderator and asked participants to complete a series of tasks while using the think-aloud protocol. Project team members, including designers and business sponsors, watched from another room. We wanted to gain the best possible understanding of the entirety of the proposed user experience, including branded words for labels, information architecture, and categorization. Therefore, during the course of the sessions, I asked participants to describe what they expected to see in a section or on a page behind a link before they clicked it. I thought this would help me to understand the users’ mindsets coming into the experience." (Michael Hawley ~ UXmatters.com)
"The User Experience Podcast features a wide range of interviewees and commentary. Transcripts are available for some episodes, and more are being added." (Information & Design)
"Using a website should be easy. It should be intuitive. We should know what button or link to click to get to where we need to be. But sometimes websites can be insanely confusing. (...) This article aims to underscore lessons we can learn from museums and art galleries in relation to website usability." (Alexander Dawson ~ Six Revisions)
"This is the final version of my recommendations for usability in product development practice, based on a PhD research project at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering of TU Delft. In the 25 recommendations I discuss how I would organize a company if the goal is to make usable products. So am I speculating here? Yes, to some extent. But the recommendations are based on evidence I found through the three case studies I conducted. The vast majority of the recommendations were based on actual practices within companies I studied or on suggestions by experienced product development professionals." (Jasper van Kuik ~ uselog)
"Usability and user experience design is all about making things simple and easy to use. I never would've expected such a contradictory statement coming from some one who co-founded the Nielsen and Norman group, a firm that offers usability consulting, training seminars and research reports. This statement puts a dagger into the back of usability and user experience design." (UX Movement)
"New research with users aged 3–12 shows that older kids have gained substantial Web proficiency since our last studies, while younger kids still face many problems. Designing for children requires distinct usability approaches, including targeting content narrowly for different ages of kids." (Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)
"The mobile space is the new Wild West of technology. Much like the Web during the 1990s, mobile is the new domain at the forefront of innovation. Users are discovering new capabilities, integrating them with their daily lives, and experiencing new interaction models." (Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain ~ UXmatters)
"This is what psychology and neuroscience tell us: the beauty and the rot is all mixed up. You can’t have a human without both. (...) The voices of interaction design pretend to be scientists. They take eye tracking studies, and scrolling studies—and never mention how well-done the content in question might be, or whether it was exciting and relevant to the test subject." (Cheerful)
"The words metaphor and intuitive are often used in UX. They are the metrics that we use to judge the quality of a solution. But is this quality really as universal as we might like to believe? (...) Understanding something intuitively really means that you understand it holistically. If you understand it holistically you can fill in the gaps. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your design intuitive or improve on it, not at all. Just understand that you are doing it for the natives not for the noobs." (Thomas Petersen ~ Black&White)
"For the first time in its history, the International Usability Professionals' Association (UPA) conference took place outside of North America. While this certainly shifted the percentage of attendees from different geographic regions, all reports are that the conference was well attended, with crowded presentations filled with attendees from Europe, North America, and Asia." (Michael Hawley ~ UXmatters)
"Although usability practitioners love to show examples of big usability issues with websites and applications, the vast majority of usability issues are typically in the details. By forcing your application users or website visitors to be constantly bothered with more detailed usability issues, you eventually wear down their patience and force them to decide whether to continue being annoyed, or to try a different application or website." (W Craig Tomlin ~ Useful Usability)
"As intranet projects benefit from powerful implementation platforms, teams should focus on optimizing the user experience for specific organizational needs, as 4 winning examples show." (Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)
"(...) I have provided some insights and experiences from the presentations I attended on the first and second day of the UPA conference." (Researching Usability)
"There were really a lot of usability problems in this first-generation of iPad applications. It's often quite difficult for people to discover what they have to do because the options are not very visible. I have to say of both the device itself and the content, it's very attractive, which is good. But at the same time, overemphasising the attractiveness and hiding the functionality, that does cause problems." (The Guardian) - courtesy of oliverreichenstein
"The usability crisis is upon us, once again. We suspect most of you thought it was over. After all, HCI certainly understands how to make things usable, so the emphasis has shifted to more engaging topics, such as exciting new applications, new technological developments, and the challenges of social networks and ubiquitous connection and communication. Well you are wrong." (Donald A. Norman and Jakob Nielsen)
"After presenting on combining methods at the EuroIA in 2009, Adam Cox and Martijn Klompenhouwer again showed the benefits of combining two separate sources. They delivered their presentation at the yearly Usability Professional Association conference in Munich (UPA2010). This time they focused on how to use Web Analytics in the preparation and execution of usability testing. Drawing from their experience of combining Web Analytics and User Research over the years, they illustrated several practical examples of how this combined approach works when it comes to user testing. After a short introduction of the individual methods, they demonstrated this approach by showcasing specific usability testing projects with a presentational style that was both visual and conversational." (User Intelligence)
"From May 24th to May 28th, the 2010 UPA International Conference is being held in Munich, Germany. This event brings together more than 700 usability professionals from all over the world. To give you an impression of the diverse range of speakers and topics, the UPA provides an audio podcast accompanying the conference. Therein, you will find interviews with various conference attendants and organizers, some of them recorded during the event, others before and after it." (Content Crew)
"The conclusion of the Nielsen Norman Group's April 2010 study of iPad usability is that it has problems and more standards are the solution. Yes, the iPad is imperfect, but resorting to standards as the solution is an antiquated reaction that fails to consider how interactive systems have evolved. We're not usability engineers anymore (not most of us, anyway); we're user experience designers. Experience is more than just usability." (Fred Beecher ~ Johnny Holland)
"Besides usability specialists, all design team members should observe usability. It's also good to invite executives. Although biased conclusions are possible, they're far outweighed by the benefits of increased buy-in and empathy." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The iPad has been hailed as an interface triumph. But one usability expert has published an exhaustive critique of the iPad, taking it to task for the inconsistency and obscurity of its apps’ interfaces. The problem, at its core: A lack of interface standards means every app behaves in a different way." (Wired) courtesy of apblog
"iPad apps are inconsistent and have low feature discoverability, with frequent user errors due to accidental gestures. An overly strong print metaphor and weird interaction styles cause further usability problems." (Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)
"This blog is a personal project and the opinions here are strictly my own." (Kevin Arthur)
"Usability testing is one of the least glamorous, but most important aspects of user experience research. Over the years, it has also been one of the forms of user research we have performed most frequently. In doing so, we’ve learned quite a few best practices and encountered some potential pitfalls. We think it's important that we share what we've learned with the many stakeholders, designers, and engineers who might find this information helpful." (Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain - UXmatters)
"Designing is hard enough as it is, taking into account your surprisingly erratic users makes it that much harder. Fortunately, taking unexpected user behaviour into account throughout the design process is a large part of the battle, it's a significant step on the way to a good user experience." (Alistair Gray - Webcredible)
"Back quite a while ago, when there was a Sun Microsystems, the company banned the use of PowerPoint, because its employees were spending two minutes on the content of their presentations and 16 hours on using PowerPoint's features to make their slides look pretty. (I probably exaggerate, but you get the point.) Is the technology really making us more productive, or is it simply providing a pleasant (in some cases) user experience at the expense of real productivity?" (Daryle Gardner-Bonneau - Journal of Usability Studies February 2010)
"Most mobile applications are used only intermittently, so they must be especially easy during initial use. In particular, upfront registration shouldn't be required before users experience an app's benefits." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Usability refers to the ease with which a user can accomplish his or her goals using any tool. (...) Somewhat in contrast, user experience refers to the way a user perceives his or her interaction with a system. User experience design encompasses both interaction design and visual design and seeks to promote an interface that is pleasing to the user." (RJ Owen - InsideRIA)
"It's more difficult to conduct usability studies with experienced users than with novices, and the improvements are usually smaller. Still, improving expert performance is often worth the effort." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Bad Usability Calendar is published by Netlife Research, a user experience consultancy firm based in Oslo, Norway. We are dedicated to creating user friendly solutions that our clients and their customers love." (About Us)
"Intranet design is maturing and reaping the rewards of continuous quality improvement for traditional features, while embracing new trends like mobile access, emergency preparedness, and user/employee-contributed content." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"One of the clearest mistakes we make in web site development is not understanding the people who use them. Despite the help of personas, user testing, scenarios and marketing data in advance, even the big brand sites struggle to be user friendly. Why is this? One reason is the context in which pages and links are delivered. For findability to work properly, we need to know the words people use to communicate with their surroundings. This may be different online, especially in situations where we can ‘be anyone’ and change who we are." (Kim Krause Berg - Search Engine Land)
"I have seven somewhat controversial usability predictions for the 2010 I think you might be surprised to read. These predictions are based on my understanding of the state of the usability field based on blog posts, articles, tweets and all the other news and information I’ve picked up throughout the year. Whether you agree or disagree with these predictions, I think you’ll agree that in the past year we’ve seen plenty of change, and will continue to see increasing changes in our field in 2010." (Useful Usability)
"The human brain is not optimized for the abstract thinking and data memorization that that websites often demand. Many usability guidelines are dictated by cognitive limitations." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The granularity of user decisions is much finer on the Web, which is dominated by the instant gratification of the user's needs in any given instant. Content must cater to this rapid pace." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Those who think video games are not educational, this post is for you. Not only can video games be an enjoyable experience, they can teach us many things. Websites and video games often use similar concepts about usability in order to achieve an amazing end-product. I've come up with 6 essential concepts that video games can teach web designers about usability." (Mark Riggan - Atlantic BT)
"I'm about to give you a number of ways to increase sales on ecommerce sites and increase sign-ups on service sites, but first, raise your hand if you personally, when surfing the web, enjoy registering to use a site." (Bruce Tognazzini)
"Usability or security: Do we really have to choose? At times the two seem immutably bound. Make it more secure, goes the belief, and as night follows day, things become harder to use. It is a never-ending challenge, with security experts pitting themselves against usability experts, and both fighting with the engineers and marketing representatives—all convinced that their view is the most important, each convinced that attention to the others defeats their goal." (Donald A. Norman - ACM SIGCHI Interactions Magazine XVI.6)
"Usability evaluations are good for a lot of things, but determining what a team’s priorities should be is not one of them. Fortunately, there is an explanation for these counterintuitive outcomes that can help us choose a more appropriate evaluation course." (Robert Hoekman Jr. - A List Apart)
"It is easy to get excited about eyetracking. Seeing where people look while using your Web site, Web application, or software product sounds like an opportunity to get amazing insights into their user experience. But eyetracking is expensive and requires extra effort and specialized knowledge. The heat maps and other visualizations certainly look impressive, but what can you really learn from them? After using eyetracking for the first time, many find that it is not easy to know how to analyze the visualizations and make conclusions from them. Does eyetracking really provide any additional insights you would not have discovered anyway through traditional usability testing? Does the value of eyetracking outweigh its limitations? This article will discuss and answer these questions." (Jim Ross - UXmatters)
"In this Ask UXmatters column—which is the first in a series of three columns focusing on usability—our experts discuss the use of usability testing versus expert reviews. In the upcoming columns, we'll discuss what usability techniques to use when money or time is tight and how to best conduct remote usability testing." (Janet Six - UXmatters)
"User experience is becoming a more and more specialized area of expertise, says Mayhew. IT departments need to invest in multidisciplinary teams and then provide a work environment that fosters mutual respect, collaboration, and highly effective teamwork among them. Training can be one very effective way to support this agenda." (Kurt Marko - Processor) - courtesy of usabilitynews
"Users like the simplicity of messages that pass into oblivion over time, but were frequently frustrated by unscannable writing, overly frequent postings, and their inability to locate companies on social networks." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"There seems to be this idea going around that usability testing is bad, or that the cool kids don't do it. That it's old skool. That designers don't need to do it. What if I told you that usability testing is the hottest thing in experience design research? Every time a person has a great experience with a website, a web app, a gadget, or a service, it's because a design team made excellent decisions about both design and implementation—decisions based on data about how people use designs. And how can you get that data? Usability testing." (A List Apart No. 293)
"Users hate change, so it's usually best to stay with a familiar design and evolve it gradually. In the long run, however, incrementalism eventually destroys cohesiveness, calling for a new UI architecture." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Fast forward 10 months. Buffett, who admits he never has really learned the basics of his cell phone, asked his daughter Susan about a little indicator he had noticed on the screen: 'Can you figure out what's on there?' It turned out to be the message from Diamond that he had been waiting for that night." (WSJ)
"Simple user testing with 5 participants, paper prototyping, and heuristic evaluation offer a cheap, fast, and early focus on usability, as well as many rounds of iterative design." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Bill Scott and I have reviewed hundreds of RIAs while compiling examples for our book Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions, and subsequent talks and articles. We recently realized that we had amassed quite a list of applications. Thinking other designers and developers might be interested in these resources, we applied two simple criteria to identify the top fifty." (Theresa Neil - InsideRIA)
"Despite how much I rely on site audits, I'm well aware that some companies don't put much stock in them. In fact, many gurus from the usability industry don't like them at all. They have a point." (Kim Krause Berg - Cre8pc)
"Websites that let users customize the UI have the same measured usability as regular sites. Sites for customizing products, however, score substantially worse due to complex workflow." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"In this paper. we explore why consumers do not seem to have a very distinct preference for usable products, even though these make satisfy them more after purchase. We wanted to explore the hypothesis that this might be due to the fact that it might be to hard for consumers to judge before use whether a product is usable or not. We call the pre-use assumptions that people have about the usability of a product expected usability. Experienced usability is the opinion people have about usability after use. We wanted to explore what product properties influence expected usability, and whether and when there is a difference between expected and experienced usability. And what the consequences of that are." (Jasper van Kuijk - uselog)
"When you're looking for work, it's easy to get discouraged. You'll find that many emails don't get any answers, many applications go unacknowledged, contacts say they'll do something but then forget or get distracted. That's not because you're a bad person, a failure, or doomed never to get a job. It's just what happens. Another friend was looking for a job during one of the previous recessions. He had a year of complete discouragement, and then finally three great job offers appeared in the same week. Hang in there, keep positive (somehow) and eventually you'll get the job you want." (Caroline Jarrett - Usability News)
"Usability suffers when users type in passwords and the only feedback they get is a row of bullets. Typically, masking passwords doesn't even increase security, but it does cost you business due to login failures." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Despite the authoritative nature of international standards for usability, many of them are not widely used. This paper explains both the benefits and some of the potential problems in using usability standards in areas including user interface design, usability assurance, software quality, and usability process improvement." (Nigel Bevan - Journal of Usability Studies May 2009)
"Individual investors are intimidated by overly complex IR sites and need simple summaries of financial data. Both individual and professional investors want the company's own story and investment vision." - (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Remote user research describes any research method that allows you to observe, interview, or get feedback from users while they're at a distance, in their "native environment" (at their desk, in their home or office) doing their own tasks. Remote studies allow you to recruit quickly, cheaply, and immediately, and give you the opportunity to observe users as they behave naturally in their own environment, on their own time. Our book will teach you how to design and conduct remote research studies, top-to-bottom, with little more than a phone and a laptop." - (Tony Tulathimutte - Rosenfeld Media)
"Is your Web site primed for any viewer? How do you know? The nicest thing about a usable Web site is that it’s just a good thing to do for others so they can easily read your online information. The other side to usability is that it can increase your search engine standings so more people can find your Web site. The following list of cheat sheets and checklists are fairly recent; however, some older usability checklists are useful for older sites that haven't been upgraded." - (Best Web Design Schools) courtesy of jjursa
"The growth in social media can become a major drain on the economy unless people learn how to be in control of their time instead of allowing external updates to be in the driver's seat." - (Rebecca Reisner - BusinessWeek) courtesy of usabilitynews
"Strategic user experience planning yields a unified and consistent user experience. And strategic design leads to great user experiences, ones that are characterized by delight, loyalty and stickiness. So how do you attain these? By designing the user experience for now, for next year... and for the year after that. And by designing the entire experience, not just your web site’s user interface, or your email campaign's HTML." - (Paul Sherman - Apogee)
"Writing for Kindle is like writing for print, the Web, and mobile devices combined; optimal usability means optimizing content for each platform's special characteristics." - (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Users often see online content out of context and read it with different goals than you envisioned. While you can't predict all such goals, you can plan for multiple uses of your text." - (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The usability profession is experiencing the current economic downturn just like everyone else. This article offers ten tips for usability professionals trying to weather this economic storm." - (Tom Tullis - Journal of Usability Studies 4.2) courtesy of uxtweets
"When people talk about both usability and accessibility, it is often to point out how they differ. Accessibility often gets pigeon-holed as simply making sure there are no barriers to access for screen readers or other assistive technology, without regard to usability, while usability usually targets everyone who uses a site or product, without considering people who have disabilities. In fact, the concept of usability often seems to exclude people with disabilities, as though just access is all they are entitled to. What about creating a good user experience for people with disabilities—going beyond making a Web site merely accessible to make it truly usable for them?" - (Whitney Quesenbery - UXmatters)
"Design and usability matters a lot when creating a company website and getting it right could be the difference between business success and business failure." - (Chris Barling - BusinessZone) courtesy of usabilitynews
"As three studies of journalists show, they use the Web as a major research tool, exhibit high search dominance, and are impatient with bloated sites that don't serve their needs or list a PR contact." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Here it is again! The (in)famous Bad Usability Calendar has featured 48 classic design mistakes in 13 different languages since 2005. Get it while it's hot!" (NetLife Research) - courtesy of usa'news
"Intranets are getting more strategic, with increased collaboration support. Team size is growing by 12% per year, and platforms are becoming integrated, with a strong showing for SharePoint. Improving usability increased use by 106% on average." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"I'm not down on every use of PDF files online. Campus maps, article reprints, and my aunt's Christmas letters all work quite well as PDF files. What I want to challenge in this column is the use of PDF files for distributing user assistance online, in the form of large books." (Mike Hughes - UXmatters)
"Agile methods aim to overcome usability barriers in traditional development, but pose new threats to user experience quality. By modifying Agile approaches, however, many companies have realized the benefits without the pain." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
Welcome message by Bill Gates - "It's about making our world work better. It's about 'Making Life Easy' and user friendly. Technology today is too hard to use. A cell phone should be as easy to access as a doorknob. In order to humanize a world that uses technology as an infrastructure for education, healthcare, transportation, government, communication, entertainment, work and other areas, we must develop these technologies in a way that serves people first. World Usability Day was founded in 2005 as an initiative of the Usability Professionals' Association to ensure that services and products important to human life are easier to access and simpler to use. Each year, on the second Thursday of November, over 225 events are organized in over 40 countries around the world to raise awareness for the general public, and train professionals in the tools and issues central to good usability research, development and practice."
"Automated email can improve customer service, strengthen relationships, and help websites bypass search engines. But most messages fared poorly in user testing and didn't fulfill this potential." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
Proceedings of the International Workshop - "The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners from the Human Computer Interaction and Software Engineering fields to determine the state-of-the-art in the interplay between usability evaluation and software development and to generate ideas for new and improved relations between these activities. The aim is to base the determination of the current state on empirical studies. Presentations of new ideas on how to improve the interplay between HCI & SE to the design of usable software systems should also be based on empirical studies." (MAUSE COST Action 294)
"You can have a great plan for a User Experience Strategy, but you should really consider whether your company is able to execute that strategy. The same thing goes for product concepts, I believe. A groundbreaking, radical new product concept is inspiring, but if your company is currently not able to realize it and needs some time to live up to the strategy, by exposing your product concept to the public you have just told everyone in what direction you will be heading in the coming years." (Jasper van Kuijk - uselog)
"We found a 9% improvement in the usability of About Us information on websites over the past 5 years. But companies and organizations still can't explain what they do in one paragraph." (Jacob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Usability is an approved quality when designing interactive products. Another factor becomes more and more important: the hedonic quality, which includes the aesthetic of a product. The long-time experiences in user-friendly design convinced the initiators of Beauty matters that the combination of usability and aesthetics ensures the success of a product. Usability alone ist not enough. Most people associate the aesthetics of a product with its beauty. The beauty is also decisive whether a product represents a special value for us." (Michael Burmester, Marc Hassenzahl and Franz Koller)
"It starts with any number of scenarios: Design and development have taken too long to produce a prototype, you need to release in three weeks, and you suspect there may be design flaws. You are trying to incorporate usability testing into an Agile development process. Or maybe you simply want to pare down your process to make it shorter and less expensive." (Paul Nuschke - Boxes and Arrows)
"A label for things that are convenient, practical, and functional." (Lennart Grötzbach)
"Usability testing makes use of a lot of role-playing scenarios like this one, and many findings and design recommendations result from participants’ responses to these scenarios. But an over-reliance on role playing when testing a product and making design recommendations can have major downsides and risks (...)" (Isabelle Peyrichoux - UXmatters)
"New user testing of site maps shows that they are still useful as a secondary navigation aide, and that they're much easier to use than they were during our research 7 years ago." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Started in 1998, the company is now 10 years old and has a long list of accomplishments. (...) Whatever the general outlook, I think the future is extremely bright for usability, for the simple reason that it works and has hugely profitable ROI for companies that embrace it." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Different traffic sources imply different reasons for why visitors might immediately leave your site. Design to keep deep-link followers engaged through additional pageviews." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The 1% of websites that don't suck can be made even better by strengthening exceptional user performance, eliminating miscues, and targeting company-wide use and unmet needs." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"After some questions about the most appropriate order for these buttons on a web application came up on a usability-related email distribution list, I decided to conduct an online survey of usability and user experience professionals to see what order they think is best." (Tom Tullis - Measuring the User Experience) - Who's right: Tom or Jakob?
"(...) when committing to customer-centered development (of a product, service, website, or whatever), it's important to stay strategic, always try to improve the business, and listen to customers (as human beings, not as users of a tool)." (Mark Hurst - Good Experience)
"Lists of links are an intermediate case between content-embedded links and menu items. Showing listed links in blue or in the site's main link color is the recommended design — and the one most intranets follow." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Bad content, bad links, bad navigation, bad category pages... which is worst for business? In these examples, bad content takes the prize for costing the company the most money." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Between the ages of 25 and 60, people's ability to use websites declines by 0.8% per year — mostly because they spend more time per page, but also because of navigation difficulties." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Most usability tests culminate with a short questionnaire that asks the participant to rate, usually on a 5- or 7-point scale, various characteristics of the system. Experience shows that participants are reluctant to be critical of a system, no matter how difficult they found the tasks. This article describes a guided interview technique that overcomes this problem based on a word list of over 100 adjectives. We also include a spreadsheet to generate and randomise the word list." (David Travis - Userfocus)
"Last fall at Adobe Max we talked with Adaptive Path's Jesse James Garrett about how to build Rich Internet Applications utilizing technologies like AIR and Flex while simultaneously making them underestandable and coherent to end users. The issue isn't just making them intuitive, but educating the public on what their purposes are, how they can be used, and, most importantly, what they can and cannot actually do." (ScribeMedia.Org)
"Users now do basic operations with confidence and perform with skill on sites they use often. But when users try new sites, well-known usability problems still cause failures." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The average business metrics improvement after a usability redesign is now 83%. This is substantially less than 6 years ago, but ROI remains high because usability is still cheap relative to gains." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Consistent design and integrated IA are becoming standard on good intranets. This year's winners focused on productivity tools, employee self-service, access to knowledgeable people (as opposed to 'knowledge management'), and better-presented company news." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"AJAX, rich Internet UIs, mashups, communities, and user-generated content often add more complexity than they're worth. They also divert design resources and prove (once again) that what's hyped is rarely what's most profitable." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"(...) designing for web apps is different than just designing a web site. It lives in a browser, it has complicated activities and edge conditions, and little things can have big implications, especially when they go awry. You need to know different things when designing for web apps than when designing for any other type of interaction." (Jared Spool - UIE)
"Information foraging shows how to calculate your content strategy's costs and benefits. A mixed diet that combines brief overviews and comprehensive coverage is often best." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
The (unofficial) blog that Jakob Nielsen might have written if he actually had a blog (which he hasn't) - "Some have criticised Jakob Nielsen for having an ugly site and people have wondered if useit.com would benefit from a design makeover. Well I have got tired of waiting for Jakob to start a blog version of useit.com so I decided to build it myself." (Chris McEvoy)
"Server log files are inappropriate for gathering usability data. They are meant to provide server administrators with data about the behavior of the server, not the behavior of the user." (Karl Groves - Boxes and Arrows)
"YouTube has been the Internet success story of 2006. However, when subjected to conventional usability evaluation it appears to fail miserably. With this and other social Web services, the purpose of the user is fun, uncertainty, engagement and self-expression. Web2.0 has turned the passive 'user' into an active producer of content and shaper of the ultimate user experience. This more playful, more participative, often joyful use of technology appears to conflict with conventional usability, but we argue that a deeper 'usability' emerges that respects the user's purposes whether acting as homo ludens." (Paula Alexandra Silva & Alan Dix - People and Computers XXI)
"Users rarely look at display advertisements on websites. Of the four design elements that do attract a few ad fixations, one is unethical and reduces the value of advertising networks." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"My concern is that by embracing new ideas, we will limit our view of our early days as being restricted in scope and naïve in conception. Before that happens, or perhaps, to prevent it, I would like to describe my personal version of our beginnings as a profession and argue that we should be celebrating them, not disparaging them even as we see their limits." (Joe Dumas - UPA Journal of Usability Studies)
"Having a good designer doesn't eliminate the need for a systematic usability process. Risk reduction and quality improvement both require user testing and other usability methods." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"(...) research showing that users make quick judgments on very little information and how this affects the design of the online experience." (HFI UI Design Newsletter)
"You get the same insights regardless of where you conduct user testing, so there's no reason to test in multiple cities. When a city is dominated by your own industry, however, you should definitely test elsewhere." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Making users suffer a drop-down menu to enter state abbreviations is one of many small annoyances that add up to a less efficient, less pleasant user experience. It's worth fixing as many of these usability irritants as you can." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Although the gains don't fall into traditional profit columns, there are clear arguments for improving usability of non-commercial websites and intranets. In one example, a state agency could get an ROI of 22.000% by fixing a basic usability problem." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Find out how people View your website or image and which areas are getting most of the attention. The ViewFinder Heatmap service, simulates human visual attention and creates an attention heatmap."
"Although gift features leverage the online medium and draw new users to a site, they also introduce many usability pitfalls. Among them are poorly designed email notifications, which many users simply ignore." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"This year's winners emphasized an editorial approach to news on the homepage. They also took a pragmatic approach to many hyped 'Web 2.0' techniques. While page design is getting more standardized, there's no agreement on CMS or technology platforms for good intranet design." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Our objectives were simple yet bold: The leaders of the China chapter wanted to raise the profile of usability engineering and user-centered design in China and create the biggest usability conference in the region. We also wanted an event that the China usability industry could call its own. We figured that the best way to do this was to target people who are passionate about integrating usability into their products and give them a chance to meet, network, and attend talks and tutorials by leaders in user experience." (Daniel Szuc and Paul J. Sherman - UXmatters)
"The Internet can be an empowering tool that lets people find good deals, manage vendors, and control their finances and investments. But it can just as easily be an alienating environment where people are cheated. Members of the Internet elite don't realize the extent to which less-skilled users are left out of many of the advancements they cheer and enjoy. Ultimately, I'm extremely optimistic about the economic divide, which is vanishing rapidly in industrialized countries. The usability divide will take longer to close, but at least we know how to handle it -- it's simply a matter of deciding to do so. I'm very pessimistic about the empowerment divide, however, which I expect will only grow more severe in the future." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"As more examples are posted to this website we'll be encouraging visitors to cast their votes for what they think are worthy inductees to the Usability Hall of Shame and the Usability Hall of Fame. On 14 November, World Usability Day, we'll be announcing the first ever inductees!" (About MLE) - courtesy of bloug
"How do you keep usability, accessibility, and user experience requirements on track while developing standards? It is part of the very nature of standards to focus on details—and in the process, to sometimes lose sight of the real goals. This is especially true when a standards-making process goes on for a long time, a situation is highly political, or most people are focused on technology issues. For over two years, I’ve worked in just such a situation as part of the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) creating federal standards for voting systems in the United States." (Whitney Quesenbery - UXmatters)
"Creating successful online social spaces requires attention to usability and sociability. Online social interaction involves individuals interacting with the technology (i.e., usability) and with each other via the technology (i.e., sociability). Attending to issues such as how users create and send messages, and communicate non-verbal cues are examples of usability design; attending to moderation, facilitation, politeness, leadership, and social support online are examples of sociability design. Both are needed for thriving social interaction online." (Jenny Preece - Oxford Internet Institute)
"A study of the benefits of big monitors fails on two accounts: it didn't test realistic tasks, and it didn't test realistic use. Productivity is a key argument for workplace usability, but you must measure it carefully." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Passwords are a widely used mechanism for user authentication and are thus critical to the security of many systems. To provide effective security, passwords should be known to the password holder but remain unknown to everybody else. While personal information and real words are relatively easy for a user to remember, they make weak passwords from a security point of view because vulnerable to informed guessing and dictionary attacks." (Morten Hertzum - uiGarden)
"Interface standards provide context-specific guidance for implementing a system based on the task goals and functions within it. A solid standard provides guidance at two levels. At the level of look and feel, it ensures consistency throughout the application or site. To be meaningful in usability terms, the standard also must provide guidance to support a consistent experience at the functional level." (Kath Straub - uiGarden.net)
"Hear from World Usability Day 2005 event leaders the impact their programs had on their community and what's on tap for 2006! Everyone was asked to introduce themselves, tell us about their World Usability Day event in 2005, the impact it had on their community and what their plans are for 2006." (UPA World Usability Day - Nov. 14, 2006) - courtesy of keithinstone
"Post-conference page with links to speaker slides and resources." (The Usability Professionals' Association)
"User testing shows that business-to-business websites have substantially lower usability than mainstream consumer sites. If they want to convert more prospects into leads, B2B sites should follow more guidelines and make it easier for prospects to research their offerings." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"This study assesses the usability of homepages of three leading Chinese retail banks from a user’s perspective. For comparison, three western banks are selected, one each a leading retail bank from Australia, the UK, and the USA." (Ming Zhao - Apogee) - courtesy of danielszuc
"The Usability Body of Knowledge (BoK) project is dedicated to creating a living reference that represents the collective knowledge of the usability profession. Preliminary work has started, but there is more to do. This website introduces the subject areas that will eventually be included in the Usability Body of Knowledge and a preview of what to come." (About Usability BoK)
"An organization that reaches the managed usability stage still has far to go to reach usability nirvana. Attaining these higher maturity levels requires many years of effort." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Have you ever wondered if your colleagues or clients really understand usability? Too often, standards or guidelines substitute for really engaging our business, technical and design colleagues in a discussion of what usability means. By looking at usability from five dimensions, we can create a consensus around usability goals and use that definition to provide the basis for planning user centered design activities." (Whitney Quesenbery - uigarden)
"The fads and big deals that get the press coverage are not important for running a workhorse website. To serve your customers, it's far better to emphasize simplicity and quality than to chase buzzwords." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Would we be able to create one site for all enquirers, or would we have to create specialized sites to meet the needs of different user groups? What happens when a site has to appeal to a wide range of people? How do you sort out their different usability requirements? Will they conflict, and if so, how do you prioritize them?" (Whitney Quesenbery - UXmatters)
"The proliferation of usability labs is a sign of success for the field of user-centered design. Whether it's a low-rent lab comprised of a couple adjacent conference rooms, a video camera, and a television, or a fully decked-out space with remote-control cameras, two-way mirrors, an observation room, and bowls of M&Ms — more and more companies are investing in such set-ups. Conducting user tests in labs is probably the most common means of getting user input on projects." (Peter Merholz - Adaptive Path)
"Designing a product for the future is not a simple question of making two-way technology go faster, last longer, weigh less, or do more. It's about understanding how devices tap into people's lives, about how, when, and why we use technology in the ways we do. Design is a tool that helps to envisage our desires as consumers, our expectations as users, and our impulses as human beings. These deep emotional enablers are the ones that tell us how to bring together chips, screens, and microprocessors." (B.J. Fogg et al. - O'Reilly Emerging Telephony Conference)
"People can get a strong impression of your website within one twentieth of a second, according to a new study. But it may not be a lasting impression." (Gerry McGovern)
"Product search is the cornerstone of many Web applications. A user's ability to select what he or she is looking for among millions of search results can make or break the user experience. A cluttered search-results page that is missing the essential filtering and sorting controls squanders customer loyalty and bankrupts sales revenue." (Greg Nudelman - JavaWorld) - courtesy of webword
"This year, we saw increased use of multimedia, e-learning, internal blogs, and mobile access. Winning companies also encouraged consistent design by emphasizing training for content contributors." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Engines extract too much of the Web's value, leaving too little for the websites that actually create the content. Liberation from search dependency is a strategic imperative for both websites and software vendors." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The Internet is growing at an annualized rate of 18% and now has one billion users. A second billion users will follow in the next ten years, bringing a dramatic change in worldwide usability needs." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Judging from the email I receive, the most controversial statement I have made in my Alertbox columns so far was to make 'the use of Ajax' one of the mistakes in my list of top ten mistakes in Web design. For new or inexperienced Web designers, I stand by my original recommendation. Ajax: Just Say No. With respect to the use of ajax by highly skilled Web designers, I have changed my opinion somewhat: people who really know what they are doing can sometimes use Ajax to good effect, though even experienced designers are advised to use ajax as sparingly as possible. (...) This is a spoof article. Please compare it with the original and you will see how little it has been changed." (Constructed by Chris McEvoy with apologies to Jakob Nielsen)
"Eyetracking data show that users are easily distracted when watching video on websites, especially when the video shows a talking head and is optimized for broadcast rather than online viewing." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"(...) a peer-reviewed, international, online publication dedicated to promote and enhance the practice, research, and education of usability engineering. Its aim is to provide usability practitioners and researchers with a forum to share: empirical findings, usability case studies (research case studies, not business case studies), opinions and experiences (regarding the practice and education of usability engineering), and reports of good practices in usability engineering." (The Usability Professionals' Association) - courtesy of markverderbeeken
"Usability goes beyond the level of individual users interacting with screens. It's also a question of how easy or cumbersome it is for the entire organization to use a system." - (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"There is a balance that needs to be struck between a website that is truly functional and one that is elegant and stylish." - (Gerry McGovern)
"Consumers forever grumble about products and services making their life difficult, but there are some shining examples leading the way. As World Usability Day approaches, what are the best doing right?" (Max Gadney - BBC)
"An analysis of intranet portals found slimmer information architectures and a renewed emphasis on fresh content and useful applications. Past findings, including those on role-based personalization, were confirmed" (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Once an online form goes beyond two screenfulls, it's often a sign that the underlying functionality is better supported by an application, which offers a more interactive user experience." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Up to 40% of precious testing time is wasted while users engage in nonessential activities. Far better to focus on watching users perform tasks with the target interface design." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"When using PC-native file formats such as PDF or spreadsheets, users feel like they're interacting with a PC application. Because users are no longer browsing a website, they shouldn't be given a browser UI." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Measuring the live impact of design changes on key business metrics is valuable, but often creates a focus on short-term improvements. This near-term view neglects bigger issues that only qualitative studies can find." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Usability testing has long been a part of the software and product design world. Jakob Nielsen brought the concept of usability to the Web, making Web pages simple to navigate and intuitively organized so that users can easily find the information they're looking for. While this definition may be considered sufficient in the world of software, the definition of usability in the e-learning world should encompass a few more components than simply good user interface design." (Shailesh Shilwant and Amy Haggarty - CLO) - courtesy of usernomics
"Many design elements work for Amazon.com mainly because of its status as the world's largest and most established e-commerce site. Normal sites should not copy Amazon's design." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Our analysis sheds light on a variety of heretofore neglected, user-experience related design challenges associated with blogs' potential to become a mainstream medium for Internet users." (John Franklin - Catalyst Group Design)
"Despite posing well-known risks, websites continue to feature poorly designed scrollbars. Among the ongoing problems that result are frustrated users, accessibility challenges, and missed content." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Usability's job is to research user behavior and find out what works. Usability should also defend users' rights and fight for simplicity. Both aspects have their place, and it's important to recognize the difference." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"I would like to propose the addition of 'Jakob Nielsen' to that list. By continuing to talk to web designers as if they are ignorant, lazy philistines only serves to undermine the role of usability specialists within organisations." (Chris McEvoy - Confusability) - courtesy of usabilityviews
"Most usability practitioners don't derive full value from their user tests because they don't systematically archive the reports. An intranet-based usability archive offers four substantial benefits." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"300,000 words of usability essays have had an impact: online user interfaces are considerably easier to use now than they were in 1995. Many predictions and recommendations have come true, though the full Alertbox vision is far from realized." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"In recent years, intranet homepages have become very similar in their basic layout. Intranets that look the same can nonetheless differ drastically in usability due to different features and content." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"If you frequent our web sites, you've probably noticed the change: There's a fresh new look, and we've also updated things to make it easier to navigate. Rather than explain everything, which I will do in coming weeks, I thought I would show some before and after pictures." (Sun Bloggers)
"Contingency design is design for when things go wrong. It's the error messaging, graphic design, instructive text, information architecture, backend system, and customer service that helps visitors get back on track after a problem occurs." (37signals) - courtesy of guuui
"More and more money is being spent online as consumers switch to shopping on the web. Yet so many websites don't seem to have considered the usability of their ecommerce site and of their ordering process, resulting in users prematurely giving up and abandoning their shopping basket. Here are ten ways to improve the usability of your ecommerce site, so that you can maximise your conversion rate and help convert the contents of users' shopping baskets into orders." (Webcredible) - courtesy of guuui
"A field study identified twenty-two ways that automated hospital systems can result in the wrong medication being dispensed to patients. Most of these flaws are classic usability problems that have been understood for decades." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Today we know that consumers evaluate and select both products and services based on the user-friendliness of an interface." (Kath Straub - Human Factors International Newsletter) - courtesy of usabilityviews
"Change isn't bad. It can't be. If it were, we'd never have any technology advancement and wouldn't be pleased with our iPods and TiVos. Yet people obviously resist some change. Understanding why change is sometimes embraced and sometimes resisted is critical to successfully introducing new designs." (Jared Spool - User Interface Engineering)
"Lower-literacy users exhibit very different reading behaviors than higher-literacy users: they plow text rather than scan it, and they miss page elements due to a narrower field of view." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"More and more intranet teams are buying into the need for usability. However, usability is not a strategy, and without a clear strategy, usability can become a pointless, wasteful and counter-productive exercise." (Gerry McGovern)
"On average, this year's winning intranets increased site use by 149% with designs that supported bigger screens, multinational users, collaboration, easily updated content, and factory-floor workers." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Usability testing is a serious investment of time and resources for any team. Having a clear understanding of what you want to get from it is critical to its success. The most successful teams constantly monitor the decisions that come out of the testing process. They look at subsequent usability problems that appear and ask, 'How did our process miss this? What should we change for next time?' Only with the constant process of honing our skills and improving our processes can we ensure that we're getting the best value from this priceless technique." (Jared Spool - UIE Roadshow: Know Your Users)
"The community includes people working on mobile telephony, web design and in many other industries as usability engineers, user researchers and interaction designers. Take a look at your phone. There’s a good chance that people from UPA China worked on the user interface. (...) There are all these bright, young, clever, motivated people here who are interested in usability." (Whitney Quesenbery - The UPA Voice) - courtesy of usabilityviews
"While a large number of organizations have adopted e-learning programs, far fewer have addressed the usability of their learning applications. More attention should be devoted to assuring the usability of e-learning applications if organizations are to fully benefit from their investments." (Michael J. Miller - Learning Circuits) - courtesy of webword
"When someone has trouble applying knowledge, it's usually because they really never had knowledge. They had information, and that's not the same thing. You can get information just through listening or reading, but knowledge requires thinking... thinking about the RIGHT things." (Kathy Sierra - Creating Passionate Users)
"When using websites, teenagers have a lower success rate than adults and they're also easily bored. To work for teens, websites must be simple -- but not childish -- and supply plenty of interactive features." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"(...) usability professionals use their budgets to run usability studies. That is, when given money, they immediately start setting up usability programs to solve particular problems. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because many usability professionals think the value of usability is derived entirely from the results produced through usability tests. Most people think usability is synonymous with usability testing. It isn’t, and this misconception frustrates me." (John S. Rhodes - Boxes and Arrows)
"About 90% of usability guidelines from 1986 are still valid, though several guidelines are less important because they relate to design elements that are rarely used today." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Design happens at the intersection of the user, the interface, and their context. It's essential for interface designers to understand the gamut of contexts that can occur, thereby ensuring they create designs that are usable no matter what's happening around the user." (Jared M. Spool - User Interface Engineering)
"(...) doing both ER followed by UT optimizes the return on the usability investment. ER identifies fundamental or generic challenges within the user experience. Usability Testing highlights contextually specific gaps between the user model and the site model. Executed together, UT builds on the ER, providing complimentary feedback supporting focused and actionable design recommendations. Thus, the power of combined usability review techniques is significantly enhances the power of the review." (Kathleen Straub - The UPA Voice) - courtesy of step two design
"Professional UI designers tell us that user interfaces should be the first thing designed when we come to develop an application, and that programmers are incapable of doing this kind of design. They say it can only be done by the professional UI experts; OSS projects don't have access to these kind of people, and therefore can never be truly usable." (Benjamin Roe) - courtesy of slash dot org
"(...) a project that brings open source developers and usability experts together. The idea behind is simple: There are many usability experts who want to contribute to software projects. And there are many developers who want to make their software more usable, and - as a consequence - more successful." (Open Usability Projects) - courtesy of slash dot org
"A website is like an information flow, with you as the provider and your site visitors as the receivers of the information. If you don't plan your website with this in mind right from the start, you could find yourself with a brand new website that solves all your immediate needs, but not those of your site visitors." (Trenton Moss - bytestart.co.uk) - courtesy of james robertson
"The last 200 years have driven centralization and changed the human experience in ways that conflict with evolution. The Internet will reestablish a more balanced, decentralized lifestyle." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Usability: The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use. Document design: The field concerned with creating texts (broadly defined) that integrate words and pictures in ways that help people to achieve their specific goals for using texts at home, school or work." (Whitney Quesenbery)
"Usability culture has unquestionably made the Web a much more usable place. Given the way the Web generally worked just five years ago, the role of usability and related disciplines to the evolution of the Web was vital. But usability culture has steered the Web development ship long enough. It's time for a new approach. To understand the urgent nature of making that shift, we need to understand how we got where we are today." (Dirk Knemeyer - Digital Web Magazine)
"An election is a perfect usability case study. It bring together large numbers of diverse voters, an unfamiliar interface and an outcome that shapes the future of our society. With such a seeming simple task, usability was not on the curriculum for elections officials. However, despite the focus on technology and security, it was poor information design and usability in the 2000 Palm Beach ballot that taught us all new words like 'chad' (hanging or pregnant)." (Whitney Quesenbery)
"User research offers a learning opportunity that can help you build an understanding of user behavior, but you must resolve discrepancies between research findings and your own beliefs." (Jacob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Usability studies tend to focus entirely on software, ignoring the impact of hardware design and features on a system's usability. In this first installment of a two-part miniseries, Peter takes a look at the interactions between hardware and usability." (Peter Seebach - IBM Developers Work) - courtesy of lawrence lee
"This article provides an overview of what usability is (and what it is not). It provides ideas on how to include more usability activities in projects and the types of activities that are needed in order to create more usable systems." (Donna Maurer - KM Column)
"Internet scams cannot be thwarted by placing the burden on users to defend themselves at all times. Beleaguered users need protection, and the technology must change to provide this." - (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Why does usability tend to lag behind as Web applications become increasingly complex? Much of this lag can be attributed to the fact that the languages we use to create Web pages are not optimized for usability engineering." - (Ka Wai Cheung - Digital Web Magazine)
"The Washington Post's email newsletter earns a high usability score. It's particularly good at setting users' expectations before they subscribe, though the unsubscribe interface has some problems." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Action is what matters on the Web. Someone comes to your website in order to do something. The only measure of success that counts is whether they have been able to do what they came to your website to do." (Gerry McGovern)
<marketese>"The digital revolution is supposed to have made our lives easier, but studies have shown that’s not the case. (...) Our research showed that we had a unique opportunity to answer your need for simplicity, while strengthening our brand in the minds of consumers and customers everywhere."</marketese> (Royal Philips Electronics)
"The best websites make our lives easier, while the worst ones make our lives more difficult. After trying to renew my driving license online, I was stunned by how awful some websites still are. Much of the Web is a quagmire of appalling design and even worse management." (Gerry McGovern)
"Most usability professionals don't have a driver's licence to web servers and are not aware of the steps that can be taken to make servers behave in a user-friendly way. In this article, we'll take a look at how to avoid that server technology becomes an obstacle to usability." (Henrik Olsen - guuui.com)
"It's difficult to find someone who doesn't believe it's beneficial to make a more usable design. However, in today's design environment, it's often difficult to justify the expense of usability work against other business priorities." (Jared Spool - webpronews.com) - courtesy of john rhodes
"Both candidates for president of the United States offer email newsletters with much good content to excite supporters, but miserable subscription interfaces and several other usability problems." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Many university websites are poorly organized, and filled with out-of-date content that has been directly published from print. Delivering a better service to students and staff faces challenges because of decentralized management structures and concepts such as academic freedom." (Gerry McGovern)
"(...) there are simple, clear ways to accommodate linguistic, cultural, and monetary differences when conducting user research. Follow these four easy steps for a successful interview abroad." (Indy Young - Adaptive Path)
"Simplicity may be the most important usability design principle as well as being the common thread through many other design principles." (Jeff Brace)
"This article reports on a study which used results from 119 scenario-based evaluations of 36 museum Web sites to develop a conceptual framework for analyzing the usability flaws of museum Web sites. It identifies 15 unique dimensions, grouped into five categories, that exemplify usability problems common to many museum Web sites. Each dimension is discussed in detail, and typical examples are provided, based on actual usability flaws observed during the evaluations. The availability of this conceptual framework will help the designers of museum Web sites improve the overall usability of museum Web sites in general." (Paul F. Marty and Michael B. Twidale - First Monday 9.9)
"If it's your job to design the homepage for a newspaper website, you already deserve sympathy. The organization chart may show you have one boss. But you know better. You must drive traffic from that one page to everything else on the site. So everyone else at your company whose job depends on that traffic becomes your boss when design decisions affect his or her interests." (Jay Small - Eyetrack) - courtesy of jakob nielsen
"Reduce the bounce rate for organic landing pages, collect data to manage PPC for maximum ROI, and take five other steps to maximize your site's holiday sales potential before it's too late." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Unless you have explicit links to product pages from article content, users who visit articles directly from search engines might never realize that you sell related products." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The purpose of this article is to challenge a core belief in usability. An argument is made that profits are more important than users since organizations cannot survive without profits. Although the business value is high, usability is only one mechanism for driving profits and success." (John S. Rhodes - Oristus)
"The website is becoming a less prominent locus of experience as people use search engines to bring up answers to their current questions. How can sites cope with masses of freeloaders?" (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"This spreadsheet allows you to measure task completion rates, analyse questionnaire data, and summarise participant comments. It even includes a timer so you can measure time-on-task." (Userfocus) - courtesy of column two
"So, for anyone out there who feels like failing to get a job in usability, here's a brief checklist of steps." (Caroline Jarrett)
"Users will often overlook the actual location of information or products if another website area seems like the perfect place to look. Cross-references and clear labels alleviate this problem." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"A usability overview of one of the larger open source software projects: the 2.6 version of the GNOME desktop and developer platform. We look at how well GNOME lives up to its challenge of being the desktop for the masses, including a lengthy survey of a group of new users and their reactions to the system." (User Instinct)
"Usability is great when it comes to most applications - unless one of the criteria for the application is 'challenging for the user'. Such is the dilemma of video game design." (Kevin Cheng - OK/Cancel)
"Listening to customers and making sure your website is usable are important to website success. It is much more important, however, to have a website that delivers real value both to the organization and the reader. Going for value can sometimes mean going against customer feedback and usability best practice." (Gerry McGovern)
"Adding confidence intervals to completion rates in usability tests will temper both excessive skepticism and overstated usability findings. Confidence intervals make testing more efficient by quickly revealing unusable tasks with very small samples. Examples are detailed and downloadable calculators are available." (Jeff Sauro - Measuring Usability)
"This is a large field, and there is a lot of material to read. If you are just learning about voting, it can e a bit overwhelming. To help out, we've assembled a short list of the most critical readings on voting and usability." (UPA)
"When done right, usability testing will improve your Web site and your development process, but the current culture surrounding Web site usability testing is such that it rarely benefits the design. Worse, this misapplication can undermine the acceptance of this important technique throughout an organization." (Lane Becker - Adaptive Path)
"Test your knowledge of basic Web usability principles." (Human Factors International)
"Cognitive ergonomics is especially important in the design of complex, high-tech, or automated systems. A poorly designed cellular phone user-interface may not cause an accident, but it may well cause great frustration on the part of the consumer and result in a marketplace driven business failure. A poor interface design on industrial automated equipment, though, may result in decreased production and quality, or even a life threatening accident." (Ergonomics Today) - courtesy of lucdesk
"Designers and user researchers need to communicate effectively, with mutual appreciation, in order to achieve an optimal outcome. In my opinion, as expressed earlier, user researchers need to have an understanding of fundamental design principles such as typography, emphasis, style, layout, composition, color, perspective, space, placement and size." (Didier P. Hilhorst - Digital Web Magazine)
The rule on staying alive as a forcaster is to give 'em a number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once. -- Jane Bryant Quinn Poker Party http://www.party-poker-x.com
"If you write usability reports, how much do you understand about whom you are designing usability reports for? Have you ever applied user centered design principles to usability reports themselves? Why or why not? My guess is that you haven't, and if you did, the results would surprise you. What you're providing is probably not quite what your team (aka your second set of users) needs from you. What they are looking for is probably at odds with what you want them to look for, and the usability report becomes some kind of philosophical battleground. Generally, the authors of the reports lose." (Scott Berkun) - courtesy of columntwo
"Site visitors are more likely to finish Web tasks successfully, but site searches are still troublesome, according to a recent survey." (Dennis O'Reilly - PC World) - courtesy of lawrence lee
"I've been doing usability testing for almost 20 years. Although I haven't been exposed to that many other facilitators, the ones I had seen facilitated very much like I did, which also seemed to be very much 'by the book'. Here, was someone with a very different approach." (Clifford Anderson - STC Usability SIG Newsletter)
"People get lost and move in circles when websites use the same link color for visited and new destinations. To reduce navigational confusion, select different colors for the two types of links." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"B2B websites must support a more complex buying process than B2C sites. Three key goals are to make a buyer's shortlist, offer a downloadable advocacy kit, and build a reputation for great service." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Remote Contextual Inquiry gives us an opportunity to view our end users' desktops to observe how they are using their current products in a cost and time-efficient manner. It is a marriage between the remote usability lab test and contextual inquiry, allowing us to transcend geographical boundaries without actually having to travel to distant locations. We gain contextual insights such as personalized settings, hidden fields, and added functionality that are typically not obtained during a usability test. It is truly a flexible method that provides a wealth of knowledge about the use of customized enterprise software" (Jeff English and Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo - Boxes and Arrows)
"Bystanders rated mobile-phone conversations as dramatically more noticeable, intrusive, and annoying than conversations conducted face-to-face. While volume was an issue, hearing only half a discussion also seemed to up the irritation factor." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"People who make things happen do so through the credibility they earn over time. It can take months or years to develop the relationships needed to make great things happen, so be patient. Be smart. Be helpful. Listen to ideas from other people and show them that you appreciate their help, and consider what they say." (Scott Berkun - UIWeb)
"Anytime somebody does something new with technology, something nobody else has ever done before, that technology goes through a talking horse stage. It's extremely common and, more importantly, it's critical for the design team to recognize that they are in this stage." (Jared Spool - UI Engineering)
"Like all of Rosenberg's observant myths, the misguided belief that statements like these can be made (and more importantly believed!) is the great red herring of usability ROI research. Let's rid ourselves of these top-down, macro-level assertions and get down to the real work of analyzing specific usability interventions at the project level. Only through rigorous and in-depth analysis can larger patterns emerge and applications be developed." (Scott Hirsch - Net Now) - courtesy of ia slash
"Daniel Rosenberg began his talk by confessing that he doesn't believe in usability Return on Investment (ROI). Having spent 30 years in the field of User Experience (UE), and never having been asked to justify usability by its ROI, Rosenberg raises a question: Why are we still discussing this topic?" (BayCHI) - courtesy of nick finck
"Yes, it is possible for white-collar workers to work smarter and become more productive. While intranet usability provides substantial initial gains, workflow usability can go much further and will save millions of jobs." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"(...) look at usability requirements for different aspects of the user experience. For each of the five dimensions of usability (the 5Es), we think about how it is reflected in requirements for each of the user groups." (Whitney Quesenbery - WQusability) - courtesy of beth mazur
"Prove to the world that you understand what it takes to provide the world with good design. Prove that you understand that good design, especially as it pertains to the field of high-technology product design, is also about nuts and bolts, honest, straight-forward usability. Prove to the designers out there you understand the principles of good design by tackling your own little spot on the World Wide Web." (Andrei Michael Herasimchuk - Design by Fire)
"Eyetrack is an effort to show how online news users process information on a Web page. We look through the eyes (literally) of a group of consumers as they view broadband-era news websites and multimedia editorial content." (Poynter Online)
"There are some things, that have been and are done successfully throughout the years of the internet. The biggest one is the big C - content." (Chris Heilmann - Evolt)
"Visceral design is what nature does. (...) Behavioural design is all about use. (...) Reflective design is about the meaning of things." (Guardian Unlimited) - courtesy of lawrence lee
"The discerning usability analyst should employ a mix of both qualitative and quantitative methods when discovering usability problems. The risks of relying heavily on a qualitative approach can lead to a severe misdiagnosis especially when usability problems are difficult to detect. This article is a response to Nielsen’s 'The Risk of Quantitative Studies' and shows how the problems voters had with the 'butterfly-ballot' in the Florida 2000 election would not have been detected with popular discounted qualitative methods. The problems with relying on one-size-fits all usability guidelines such as 'testing with only five users' and the inherent bias of pay-for-hire guru’s are also discussed." (Jeff Sauro - measuring usability)
"Number fetishism leads usability studies astray by focusing on statistical analyses that are often false, biased, misleading, or overly narrow. Better to emphasize insights and qualitative research." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"We've found having a focus works better than just a random tour without any focus. We get to see how users work with the site as they discuss it. Their commentary is easier to understand and more accurately represents true issues with the site." (Jared Spool - UI Engineering)
"As Web design and development become wider in scope, individual topics within it become equally deeper. Usability has become its own depth area over the past few years, largely due to the influence of usability 'Thought Leaders' attempting to create better interactive Web sites for site visitors." (Molly Holzschlag - informIT) - courtesy of andrew fernandez
"Most user studies in the past have focused on the use of static devices. What are the new challenges to us, as designers and evaluators, on how to approach the design and evaluation of multimodal mobile devices and applications? In other words, function, value and meaning are relational and not absolute, as the applications and services reside on the network and not on the device. From the point of view of design and evaluation this presents new challenges. But why should we be interested?"
"E-newsletters that are informative, convenient, and timely are often preferred over other media. However, a new study found that only 11% of newsletters were read thoroughly, so layout and content scannability is paramount." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Don Norman used to be known as a critic of unusable things but now, he says, he has changed. He has transformed himself into an advocate for pleasurable, enjoyable products. Beauty is good, says Norman. Successful products should a pleasure to use, and convey a positive sense of self, of accomplishment, and pride of ownership. In this keynote address, Norman shares work from his latest book, Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things." (IT Conversations) - courtesy of ben hyde
"ISO is developing a new standard for web usability. The new standard will be of interest to anyone who designs, evaluates or commissions web sites and it is likely to have a significant impact in improving the overall usability of the web." (Userfocus) - courtesy of usability news
"(..) there are effective ways to utilize the entire height of the page, and to take advantage of the footer location to add value for the user. Innovative sites will surely extend these ideas and come up with new ways to keep users involved no matter what part of the page they are viewing." (Jeff Lash - Digital Web Magazine)
"The average difference in measured usability between competing websites is 68%. This is smaller than expected, but makes sense given the dynamics of design within individual industries." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Many intranets are under-used. Intranet managers lament the low use and discuss how to get staff to 'use the intranet more', resulting in marketing and promotions activities to increase use." (Donna Maurer - Step Two Designs)
"Better prioritization, fewer interruptions, and concentrated information that's easy to find and manage helps people become more productive and stop wasting their colleagues' time." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Final manuscript: Except for proofing. Do NOT tell me about mistakes. These files are riddled with errors. I believe that all have been found and corrected. And if not, well, it is too late." (Don Norman - NN/g) - courtesy of ben hyde
"Once a curmudgeonly champion of 'usable' design, cognitive scientist Donald A. Norman argues that future machines will need emotions to be truly dependable." (W. Wayt Gibbs - Scientific American) - courtesy of lucdesk
"Respected technology commentators say that they now prefer instant messaging (IM) over e-mail as their medium of choice for computer-mediated communication. The main reasons are that e-mail has become an overloaded channel for readers and that you can't be sure to get a timely response from the recipients of your e-mail." (Jakob Nielsen - ACM Queue)
"Sites are getting better at using minimalist design, maintaining archives, and offering comprehensive services. However, these advances entail their own usability problems, as several prominent mistakes from 2003 show." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"A website needs to be as close to perfect as possible before it is presented to the intended audience, and the adherence to a formal test plan and test procedures will assist in making sure that all bases are covered before the site is launched." (Julie Price - Thread Inc.)
"Open-source is becoming an increasingly popular software development method. This paper reports a usability study of the open-source Greenstone Digital Library collection-building software. The problems highlighted by the study are analysed to identify their likely source within the social context of Greenstone's development environment. We discuss how characteristics of open-source software development influence the usability of resulting software products. " (David M. Nichols, Kirsten Thomson and Stuart A. Yeates - Department of Computer Science, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
"Transactional email can be a website's customer service ambassador, but messages must first survive a ruthless selection process in the user's in-box. Differentiating your message from spam is thus the first duty of email design." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"On average across many test tasks, users fail 35% of the time when using websites. This is 100,000 times worse than six sigma's requirement, but Web usability can still benefit from a six sigma quality approach." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"There are ten usability mistakes that about two-thirds of corporate websites make. The prevalence of these errors alone warrants attention, especially since they appear on sites with significant investment in usable design." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"One common concern raised by managers and engineers alike is this: how usable is enough? This question, and the absence of an easy answer, is often the first defense people offer against investing in usability and ease of use. The smart usability engineer or designer has at least one response: the usability benchmark. By capturing the current level of ease of use of the current product or website, a reference point is created that can be measured against in the future. It doesn't answer the question of how usable is enough, but if the benchmark is done properly, it does enable someone to set goals and expectations around ease of use for the future." (Scott Berkun - uiweb) - courtesy of lawrence lee
Presentation by Eugene Chen (Aaron Marcus and Associates), Steve Krug (Advanced Common Sense), and Keith Instone (Usable Web) (AIGA Experience Design) - courtesy of croc o'lyle
"(...) a comic strip written for a very specific audience, but much of what we talk about is quite universal. Most everybody can relate to things in the world which don't work like they should -- and you needn't be a usability specialist, interaction designer, industrial designer or any sort of designer to appreciate that frustration. But if you ARE any of those aforementioned people or have had the pleasure and pain of working with one or more of this rare breed, this strip is for you. " (Kevin Cheng & Tom Chi)
All files on this site are PDFs. (Usability.gov)
"I find that by basing hypotheses on a site or application's goals, I can integrate usability testing into the design process. By thinking in terms of hypotheses based on design goals I can generate relevant, action-oriented findings. In this way, usability doesn't stifle creativity, it focuses it." (Avi Soudack - Boxes and Arrows)
"Study participants searched websites for background information ranging from company history to management biographies and contact details. Their success rate was 70%, leaving much room for usability improvements in the 'About Us' designs." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Value" is like 'quality'Ý-- no one seems to be able to define it, and yet everyone knows it when they see it. This ATW feature explores the concept of 'value' in a Web site and looks at how creating usable Webspace is an integral part of creating valuable Webspace." (All Things Web)
"U-Pods focuses on the business of usability and the people charged with the responsibility of managing that business. As a peer-based community, U-Pods brings the right people together within the right scale and structure to foster the right type of dialog, support, relationships, and history. U-Pods' creation of small-scale pods collectively forming a large-scale organization gives you the best of both worlds. " (About U-Pods) - courtesy of usability news
"This year's winning intranet designs emphasized workflow support, self-service content management, and offloading tasks from email to collaboration tools. On average, companies spent three years between redesigns, and one year on the redesign itself." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Jorma Ollila, chairman and chief executive, says usability is at the heart of the company's approach. He adds that it was one of the first to realise that ease of use had to become the main goal in design." (Neil McCartney - Financial Times) - courtesy of croc o'lyle
"Learning requires a cognitive investment by the user. It doesnít make sense to learn new interactions if there's no return on the investment we must make to learn them. Using standard elements in the interface, and keeping those elements visually consistent among interactions, enables the user to learn once and then apply that knowledge anywhere " (Viswanath Gondi - SitePoint) - courtesy of lucdesk
"By reducing visual complexity at the cost of structural simplicity, you will give your users a hard time understanding and navigating the content of a web site." (Henrik Olsen - guuui)
"I've published 200 Alertbox columns on the Web since 1995; in addition to achieving key victories over multi-million-dollar special interests and enemies of usability, the column's readership statistics validate the practice of archiving content." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The IT industry is maturing. Hopefully, this maturity will result in a slower introduction of new features, which in turn will let companies focus their attention and resources on making existing technology work better for users." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Misconceptions about usability's expense, the time it involves, and its creative impact prevent companies from getting crucial user data, as does the erroneous belief that existing customer-feedback methods are a valid driver for interface design." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The customer experience methodology is a business-oriented method for creating positive change to the customer experience of online technology." (Mark Hurst - Creative Good, Inc.)
"Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word 'usability' also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"New mobile devices show a huge improvement over previous generations, but they're still not good enough to score a real win. To get there, we need both PC-integrated applications and specialized mobile services rather than repurposed website content." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"(...) a good user experience practitioner is a facilitator - someone who quietly (having disappeared) guides the process, allowing knowledge to emerge, from users and the company alike. Instead of coming in with the answers, or the framework, or (my personal favorite) 'the 200 rules of user experience design', they should come in with their auditory organs turned up to eleven." (Mark Hurst - Good Experience)
"The notion of 'patterns', and of a 'pattern language', comes from the work of Christopher Alexander, a contemporary architect who proposed the use of collections of architectural patterns to address deficiencies in modern building design. In later works, Alexander expanded the scope of his rather fascinating concept of patterns to a broader design context. In the early 90s, computer scientists began to apply Alexander's work to software development. The Web usability pattern language described in this book resulted from the collaborative efforts of attendees at a workshop hosted by the author in 1994." (Carl Bedingfield - ACM Ubiquity)
"Government web managers needing users to make their websites citizen-friendly should consider recruiting public sector staff or their families as a 'cheap alternative' to usability consultancies." (Ian Cuddy - The Register) - courtesy of usability news
"One of the best things I've ever (co-)written is now up at Boxes and Arrows (...) We aimed for a New Yorker-style review -- to use the subject as a jumping off point for discussing the underlying issues. So, while about half the review is an evisceration of the reports remarkably flawed methodology and lack of usefulness, the other half suggests steps that user experience professionals can take to begin to appropriately value their contribution." (Peter Merholz)
"This report seems to be directed at usability practitioners, to support their efforts in increasing their budgets. Presumably, usability practitioners will, in turn, show this to management. They will tell management that current 'best practice' is to devote 10 percent of a project's budget to usability efforts. They will also tell management that, 'on average', usability provides measurable improvements of around 135 percent." (Peter Merholz and Scott Hirsch - Boxes and Arrows)
"Spare your users the misery of being dumped into PDF files without warning. Create special gateway pages that summarize the contents of big documents and guide users gently into the PDF morass." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"He conveniently failed to mention that his own research group makes its for-profit reports available for purchase online in PDF." (Planet PDF) - courtesy of webword
"Culture theories can elicit design alternatives, help us ask the 'right questions' and help designers think about new implementations and new interfaces, she said. To be predictive, cultural theory requires constrained target audience, but it can still be productive." (Ann Light - Usability News)
"Users get lost inside PDF files, which are typically big, linear text blobs that are optimized for print and unpleasant to read and navigate online. PDF is good for printing, but that's it. Don't use it for online presentation." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"(...) elements of the interface are so badly designed that the experience of using my phone is often frustrating." (Dirk Knemeyer - Thread)
"This is not to say usability engineering isn't important -- it's critical. But it's also critical that the practice's inputs and outputs stay focused on making things *usable*, that is, making it so that people are able to use the product. Able as in physically able, cognitively able." (PeterMe)
"The easier it is to find places with good information, the less time users will spend visiting any individual website. This is one of many conclusions that follow from analyzing how people optimize their behavior in online information systems." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Over the years, I have seen many questions asked about the use of questionnaires in usability engineering. The list on this page is a compilation of the questions I have heard most often and the answers I gave, should have given, or would have given if I had thought of it first." (Jurek Kirakowski - Human Factors Research Group) - courtesy of webword
"Small websites get less traffic than big ones, but they can still dominate their niches. For each question users ask, the Web delivers a different set of sites to provide the answers." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Most, if not all, Internet users are familiar with the hallmarks of poor usability. How often have you invested time at a site only to be frustrated because you were unable to complete a purchase or registration process, or couldnít find the information you sought? More importantly for commercial websites, how was your perception of the brand behind the website affected by your experience?" (Marc Sparrow - The Usability Company) - courtesy of webword
"How can a small company's website benefit from usability activities despite a minuscule budget? By integrating four simple and effective usability practices into the design process." - (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"There's this idea floating around that programmers, web developers, shouldn't need usability."
"The Usability Engineering Team provides consultation and support for software development teams to ensure that the software they create is easy to learn, easy to use and less costly to develop and maintain. We believe in following a User-Centered Design process that actively involves the users during all phases of the project. We are committed to providing highly effective interface designs that save time, save money and allow users to be more productive. We firmly believe in "making technology work for people." - (NASA) - courtesy of iaslash
"Professionally run design agencies user test their designs to increase the value they deliver to their clients. The challenge is getting clients to understand the benefits of a solid development methodology. " - (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"We spoke with both Lou and Steve about the advantages of their joint seminars, the common pitfalls of web usability and information architecture, and the state of the web industry today." - (Bruce Stewart - O'Reilly Network)
"Evidence-Based Information, Training and Tools for Optimizing the Usability of Computer Systems" (Robert W. Bailey - About Web Usability) - courtesy of ron's ramblings
"Last year we researched the top 10 usability myths. A number of people, including technology pundits, had attacked usability. We thought the attacks were based on misconceptions. (...) We conducted an online survey to see whether web professionals agreed with the pundits." (John Knight and Marie Jefsioutine - Usability News)
"Web users are highly goal-driven, and ads that interfere with their goals will be ignored. To succeed, ads must work with the medium, as well as with the user's aims and mindset." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Usability can sometimes be more about belief than about evidence or engineering, with usability testing heading the list as a central tenet of the dogma of modern practice. (...) Yet, precisely because of its leading role, it is important for the profession to question the dogma of usability testing and for professionals to keep abreast of new developments and changing perspectives." (Larry Constantine - Usability News)
"The purpose of this article is to explain the Practical Review System (PRS). The PRS is an outline of 28 characteristics that can be used to understand any usability method, thereby allowing any individual to decide between methods. This solves many of the problems associated with understanding and explaining usability methods." (John S. Rhodes - WebWord)
"Text-only advertisements work far better than banners, but is this only due to their novelty? Search engine text ads will retain their superiority over time, but text ads on other sites will work only if they focus on directly meeting users' needs." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Fancy media on websites typically fails user testing. Simple text and clear photos not only communicate better with users, they also enhance users' feeling of control and thus support the Web's mission as an instant gratification environment." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Balance design and functionality - get the perspective of today's leading Macromedia Flash gurus." (Macromedia) - courtesy of webword
"With a paper prototype, you can user test early design ideas at an extremely low cost. Doing so lets you fix usability problems before you waste money implementing something that doesn't work." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The professional manager is always looking for feedback. They test their plans and theories constantly. They are sensitive to cues within their environment, adapting as appropriate. The website manager operates within a feedback-starved environment. Thus, they need to be much more proactive in seeking feedback. Usability is a way of doing this." (Gerry McGovern)
"The key difference between user interfaces for sighted users and blind users is not that between graphics and text; it's the difference between 2-D and 1-D. Optimal usability for users with disabilities requires new approaches and new user interfaces." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"With more users testing your site, you'll get more feedback, find more problems, and have more data, but there may be some less obvious advantages as well." (Christine Perfetti and Lori Landesman - User Interface Engineering)
"(...) to improve and evolve Web user interface technologies. Work includes formats and languages that add new interaction methods to the Web (e.g. speech recognition, multimodal access), as well as mechanisms for handling the increasing number of new Web access devices (mobile phones, PDAs, interactive television sets etc.)." (W3C) - courtesy of webword
"Not so very long ago, it was agreed that five to eight users was enough for a good usability test. Somehow, this idea achieved mythic status. We believed it. We preached it to everyone who would listen. It survived in areas where it had been disproved, and was introduced into new situations where it didn't even apply." (Will Schroeder - User Interface Engineering) - courtesy of guuui
"Usability improvements can save time-on-task, but critics argue that this is not the same as saving money. Others worry that productivity gains cause unemployment. Neither is correct: usable design saves money and saves jobs." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"There are a number of ways that the law impacts on the usability of software and its evaluation." (Richard Griffiths) courtesy of webword
"Compared with a similar 2001 study, a new study of journalists as they looked for information on corporate websites' PR areas showed significant usability improvements: a 5% higher success rate and 15% increased guidelines compliance." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Visitors will leave your web site if they find it difficult to use. The time and money you put into the site will be wasted." (Benefit from IT) - courtesy of cognitive architects
"(...) useful principles on how to think about creating persuasive design, but rarely gives detailed design guidelines. The exception is a section on enhancing website credibility." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Designing technology for the home is a stimulus for change but the new concepts will also be applicable in other contexts, e.g., enjoyable software in the office." (Andrew Monk - Department of Psychology, University of York)
"A new study examines problems with information found on corporate websites." (Eric Hellweg - Business 2.0)
"The book is a how-to guide. It describes methods and techniques for designing websites with the assumption that the principles of usability are pervasive." (Eric Lease Morgan) - courtesy of cognitive architects
"Guidelines conflict on whether to limit intranet search to a single search box or dedicate an additional box to employee directory searches. There's theory to support both guidelines. What's up?." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Individual investors are intimidated by overly complex IR sites and need simple summaries of financial data. Both individual and professional investors want the company's own story and investment vision." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"On average, sample sites evenly distributed valuable screen space between content, navigation, fluff, blank areas, and system overhead. Areas of user interest should occupy more than the current 39%." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Last Updated: November 12, 2001" (Microsoft) - courtesy of craig marion
"2,952 articles about usability, IA, HCI and web design." (Clive McEnroy) - courtesy of guuui
"Do you need a courtesy title? (...) Did you know you could be breaking the law by making them mandatory on your website?" (Silicon Glen) - courtesy of webword
"Visual interfaces are inherently superior to auditory interfaces for many tasks. The Star Trek fantasy of speaking to your computer is not the most fruitful path to usable systems." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The experience was, shall we say, less than pleasant." (Jamie Zawinsky)
"In this paper we review the existing evidence of the usability of open source software and discuss how the characteristics of open source development influence usability." (David M. Nichols and Michael B. Twidale - First Monday 8.1)
"Development projects should spend 10% of their budget on usability. Following a usability redesign, websites increase usability by 135% on average; intranets improve slightly less." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"(...) a guide for how to specify, test and report usability requirements as part of a contractual relationship between a supplier and acquirer." (The PRUE Project) - courtesy of guuui
"Wu is a pattern language for designing and building usable web sites." (Ian Graham et al.) - courtesy of iawiki
"As the Web grows, websites continue to come up with ways to annoy users. Following are ten design mistakes that were particularly good at punishing users and costing site owners business in 2002." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
A project funded by the European Union to promote usability and user-centered design (About UsabilityNet)
"Nielsen credited Macromedia (...) for taking usability seriously and paying attention to such issues while Flash is still relatively young." (David Becker - C|Net News)
"Software companies have finally grasped the value of easy-to-fathom programs, and they're pouring resources into the task." (Jane Black - Business Week)
"In this paper, we review the existing evidence of the usability of open source software and discuss how the characteristics of open source development influence usability." (Dave M. Nichols and Michael B. Twidale)
"Usability increases customer satisfaction and productivity, leads to customer trust and loyalty, and inevitably results in tangible cost savings and profitability." (Aaron Marcus and Associates)
"The Boeing Co. is changing the way it buys software and is making a product's usability (...) a fundamental purchasing criterion." (Patrick Thidodeau - Computerworld)
"The Internet is changing. Although people have primarily used it to read email and Web pages, more functionality-oriented applications are now emerging, with the goal of providing new features that do more for users." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"The average mid-sized company could gain $5 million per year in employee productivity by improving its intranet design to the top quartile level of a cross-company intranet usability study. The return on investment? One thousand percent or more." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"After being neglected for years, suddenly people are talking about it like they've found the Holy Grail or something." (Grokdotcom)
"This new and emerging area – appliance design – is focused on the development of devices which resemble home appliances in their narrow range of function and ease of use, but resemble computing devices in that they deal with information-based tasks." (Peter Thomas - Usability News)
"Even small holiday decorations can increase joy of use and make websites feel more current and more connected to users' lives and physical environment. The key is to commemorate without detracting from your users' main reasons for visiting the site." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"Definitions of usability are part of the problem (...). They not only influence how usability specialists market themselves, but also colour public perception of the profession." (Louise Ferguson - Usability News)
Usability has grown into a monster. (Chris McEvoy)
"Usability problems fall on a continuum. On one end are the nuisance problems, like typos or incorrect grammar. Users may not notice these issues, and can ignore them if they do." (User Interface Engineering)
"Software should respond to your obvious needs, not just your commands. Use these 14 principles to create accommodating software." (Alan Cooper - DevX)
"This report reviews the designs used today for entering dates into hotel booking websites. It proposes a tested, easy-to-use, date-entry layout style and format that can be implemented on any hotel booking website." (Travel UCD)
"(...) the lack of progress. Today's Web UI doesn't look much different than it did in 1994." (Tim Bray - New Architect)
The need for open standards (Peter Seebach - IBM developerWorks)
"(...) how usability testing should be used to find out if your product meets the needs of your users and allows them to do their jobs effectively." (MSDN)
"Designing a web site, either usable or unusable, is hard work." (Jared M. Spool - User Interface Engineering)
A guide to usability and design issues for the Flash developer (Anthony T. Dunn)
"(...) progress indication is much more than animations of documents flying between folders." (Paul McInerney & Jin Li - IBM developerWorks)
"Usability increases customer satisfaction aqnd productivity, leads to customer trust and loyalty, and inevitably results in tangile cost savings and profitability." (Aaron Marcus)
"(...) most major producers of e-learning are not doing substantial usability testing, probably because most major purchasers and consumers of e-learning have no way of evaluating the degree to which a course is usable." (Michael Feldstein - eLearn Magazine)
"(...) how you can prepare for the uncertainties of the waves of the current work environment, both how to ride the wave and how to handle it if you fall off your surfboard." (Anne M. Pauker - The UPA Voice)
"(...) Flash delivers the power and flexibility to become a serious contender in the web application space." (Christine Perfetti - UI Engineering)
"Tiny text tyrannizes users by dramatically reducing task throughput. IE4 had a great design that let users easily change font sizes; let's get this design back in the next generation of browsers." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"We created five versions of the registration process, and used the test to compare the users' success with each version." (Matthew Ellison - WinWriters)
"(...) there is a shift from the technology to what I call the psychology behind the technology. This shift to end-user concerns and usability issues is essential for effective help system design." (Donna Timpone)
"While the Web involves a convergence of presentation, content and behaviour, Nielsen has historically taken a fairly narrow view that's focused around solely functionality." (George Olsen - Usability News)
"Lotus Notes 4.6 contains almost every example of inefficient design illustrated thoughout the entire Hall of Shame site." (Isys Information Architects)
"(...) the vast majority of open-source projects are also volunteer projects; and it seems that the use of volunteers to drive development inevitably leads the interface design to suck." (Matthew Thomas)
"Visual branding is typically based on the use of large graphics, text that is set as graphics, and special effects such as frames, image maps, custom navigation icons, and animated text and graphics." (Roger C. Parker - GraphicsIQ)
"How To Spend Less And Get More From Your Usability-Testing Program" (Janice Fraser - New Architect)
"The concepts and ideas I discuss in this article are not earth-shattering and many of you will already know all of this information." (Matt Gullett - The Code Project)
"Standards related to usability can be categorised as primarily concerned with the use of the product (effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a particular context of use). (Usability Net)
"Not only does the U.S. have a stronger and longer usability tradition, but most usability guidelines are published in English." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"For years we've tolerated buggy, bloated, badly organized computer programs. But soon, we'll innovate, litigate and regulate them into reliability." (Charles C. Mann - MIT Technology Review)
"No users (...) were researched when Sony chief Akio Morita invented the Walkman." (James Woudhuysen - ITWeek)
"In order for companies to maximize the value they receive from their Internet marketing campaigns, it is critical for human factors practitioners to participate." (Marc Resnick - Internetworking)
"Users who accidentally or unknowingly allow their private or personal files to be shared risk disclosing their private information to other users on the network." (Nathaniel Good - Information Dynamics Lab HP Laboratories)
"All these documents are downloadable. To read these documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader." (Serco Usability Services)
"(...) a collection of forms, checklists and other useful documents for conducting usability tests and user interviews." (STC Usability SIG)
"Involvement with our users provided a great deal of expected and unexpected feedback to the group, and helped us tremendously to learn more about our users, and ourselves as writers and information designers." (Anne F. Jackson - Usability Interface April 2002)
"Macromedia plans to announce a partnership (...) with Jakob Nielsen, a leading Web design guru and one of the most prominent critics of the company's Flash software for Web animation." (David Becker - c|net news.com)
"(...) take advantage of the resources available here." (Scott Weiss - Usable Products)
"How user-centered design techniques can make a cost effective workflow" (guuui.com)
"How usability will be the key differentiator of tomorrow's internet" (guuui.com)
"(...) e-tailers often ignore the fact that they have to keep existing users happy to reap the benefits of new client referrals" (Christopher Saunders - Cyber Atlas)
"A company's homepage is its face to the world and the starting point for most user visits." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
"So he is researching how to categorise in such a way that search becomes redundant. Key to this is the labelling of categories." (Ann Light - Usability News)
"Information architecture is the process of designing the access to information so that users can rely mainly on their intuition to navigate quickly and productively around the site." (Martin White - EContent)
"(...) usability specialists are often the first to go in times of downsizing because the fundamental importance of usability is not yet fully understood." (Karin Lindgaard - HOTLab)
"Current websites are twice as hard to use for seniors than for non-seniors." (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)
Ergonomics dictate interface between hand and surgical tool. (Kent Ritzel - Medical Equipment Designer)
"Author Al Badre has for years contributed to the ideas and methods needed to make any computer application fully usable." (Addison-Wesley)
"Apple's new user interface, Aqua, reads like a checklist of things that the classic Macintosh interface got right, and everyone else got wrong. Aqua gets most of them wrong." (Peter Seebach - IBM developersWorks)
"(...) tips for which user-centered technique to use when, so you can better translate user needs into good design." (Deborah Hinderer Sova - Technology Executives Club)
"Bonnie Nardi is an anthropologist who studies how people use IT." (Elana Varon - CIO)
A Collection of Links (Rashmi Sinha)
"A quantitative analysis of a large collection of expert-rated web sites reveals that page-level metrics can accurately predict if a site will be highly rated." (Melody Y. Ivory et al. - ACM SIGCHI '01)
"(...) the man widely regarded as the king of Net usability, whose rules of Web design have been followed by millions of people" (Dan Oliver - .Net)
"(...) giving users the experience they want and expect. Good design is what it's all about." (Jane Falla - Advisor)
"Links to resources of varying quality. Use with care." (A Pearcey Centre for Computing Short Course)
"After a decade writing computer manuals, in 1989 Steve Krug moved up the food chain to usability testing and interface design so he could fix the problems instead of explaining them." (Jude Murray - webBusters)
"Our current implementation uses Semantic Locations from the shop's infrastructure, but we plan to consider also Physical Location in the future." (Axel Spriestersbach - SAP Design Guild)
"Give representative users realistic tasks, watch quietly, be amazed" (Keith Instone)
"From paper clips to toasters, to cars and computers (...) what makes something user friendly" (National Public Radio) - courtesy of chad thornton
Chapter 2 of 'Don't Make Me Think' (Steve Krug)
"(...) to browse or search the Usability First glossary, which currently has 1032 active terms." (Usability First)
A Usability Testing Technology Service (About Uzilla)
"(....) users felt that Netscape was an overall better web browser than IE in all the areas surveyed." (Carolyn Gargaro) - courtesy pf webword
"(....) cost is the over-riding priority." (Tom Farrell - Frontend Usability InfoCentre)
A Guide to Better and Improved Usability on the Web
"(...) a general framework of web usability guidelines helping people to structure the way they are working with such guidelines." (Dominique Scapin et al. - 6th Conference on Human Factors & the Web 2000)
"Good usability will also help to improve your form completion rates." (Andrew Starling - E-Commerce Guide)
Making the internet more personable (Paul Tate - Internet World)
"(...) the primary goal of communication design: to make vital, engaging work intended above all to be read." (Luca Passani - TopXML)
"(...) we are creating a glossary of terms which customers often ask about." (Ergo Labratories)
"To satisfy surfers, online content must be easy to find--without that pesky search engine." (Scarlet Pruitt - PC World)
Usability and the US Presidential Election Ballot (STC Usability SIG)
"How can we make technology adjust to people, instead of vice versa?" (Don Norman et al. - Pop!Tech 2001 Live webcast)
"(...) an InfoDesign-Café discussion about their usability potentials and problems" (Conrad Taylor)
Understanding the User in your Web Site Audience (Keith Instone)
"Your network resource for professional usability" (About UsabilityNet)
"(...) an approach to improving the usability of software systems by means of software architectural decision" (Len Bass et al. - Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute)
"(...) we are mainly focusing on web usability, information architecture, web marketing, and related content areas." (About Bagarashi)
"(...) this is a 'half-million book' because typically we charge $10,000 to review a homepage" (Andy King - Web Reference)
"A comparative usability test (...) carried out by four professional teams." (DialogDesign Denmark)
A list of relevant places, events, and people (Business 2.0)
"(...) the development of guidelines and principles for three Web research areas that we have found to be critical: organization of the content, navigation, and engagement." (Amy Kanerva et al. - Microsoft Corporation)
"Millions of consumers find themselves (...) saddled with glitched PCs, cell phones and digital assistants that they can't operate." (Tia O'Brien - The Mercury News)
"I place the blame squarely upon BCSS itself." (Don Norman)
"(...) the process of creating style guides and implementing processes for ensuring that a product is consistent in a number of dimensions" (Chauncey E. Wilson - Usability Interface / STC Usability SIG)
"(...) a list of the top usability / ergonomic research sites" (TaskZ)
"Universal usability and design involves understanding how users attempt to accomplish tasks using a variety of technologies in different organizational and social contexts" (Brad Mehlenbacher - NC State University)
"The usability of online learning programs can be broken down into two distinct issues: the usability of an e-college site and the learnability of the course content" (Philip C. Duchastel - Castelnet)
"(...) traditional testing does not necessarily give a complete picture at how effective a site or application is in terms of meeting business goals." - (Tom Farrell - Frontend Usability InfoCentre)
"(...) some useful suggestions" (Ganeman Russell)
"(...) to show measurable effects of usability studies" (Linda M. Davis - School of Information Science & Learning Technology - University of Missouri)
Usability Before Branding (Bruce Tognazzini)
"(...) an analysis of factors affecting usability for the UseIt.com" (UseIt)
"(...) a project to examine the usability factors of interactive television" (Alastair Campbell)
"Make error messages clearly visible, reduce the work required to fix the problem, and educate users along the way" (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)
"For 2001, twenty-four papers will be presented at the conference" (IBM Ease-of-Use)
"(...) feature articles from Usability Interface" (STC Usability SIG)
"Principles and strategies for practitioners designing universally usable sites" (Irina Ceaparu & Dina Demner)
"(...) articles and reports written by employees at theOTHERmedia" (Tom Smith of theothermedia)
"(...) we now have real evidence of where users actually look when they view a web page" (Will Schroeder - User Interface Engineering)
"Your Online Guide To Usability Resources" (Diamond Bullet Design)
"The need for this paper has never been more crucial" (Flazoom)
"(...) with a graphical user interface, there is no limit to the number of possible layouts" (Niall Murphy - Embedded Systems Programming)
"(...) there is something important and special to many experiences" (Nathan Shedroff)
"All Hail HailStorm, Savior of the Web" (Internetworld)
"(...) the prophets of effective Web user-interface design" (Alan Knecht in CNet Builder)
"(...) resource for designing usable, useful, and accessible Web sites and user interfaces" (Provided by the NCI)
"Feature articles from Usability Interface" (STC Usability SIG)
"Let them produce compelling work of their own rather than criticize others' work" (Dale Dougherty in Webtechniques)
"(...) human-computer interfaces should be robust, useful and pleasurable." (Kiana K. Matthews - University of Colorado at Boulder)
3rd International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research (Noldus Information Technology)
"(...) usability testing as a way to enhance the user's performance as a data provider and as a data retriever" (Elizabeth Murphy, et al.)
"(...) when affordable, useful, and usable technology accommodates the vast majority of the global population" (created by the Universal Usability Fellows as part of the Conference on Universal Usability)
"(...) focus on comparisons between printed and electronic documentation" (Mark H. Chignell et al. - Dept. of Industrial Engineering - Univ. of Toronto)
"A Framework For The Expert Evaluation Of Digital Library Interface Usability" (Andrew Dillon)
"(...) to identify the multiple dimensions of usability" (Turkka Keinonen - Research of the Artefacts)
"(...) focus on South African sites that have received Loerie Awards" (Jacques Steyn - Dept IS/School of IT - Univ. of Pretoria, SA)