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Top usability findings 2010

Jeff Sauro has complied a list of top 10 research-based usability findings of the year 2010. Here's a sample of the five most interesting:

- Users are able to self-report around half of the problems that can be found during moderated usability tests

- Usability accounts for at least 30% of customer loyalty

- Ratings of website usability after only 5 seconds are the same as those after 10 minutes.

- 10% of paid participants in remote user research will cheat

- Usability problems are almost 10-times more common on business applications than on websites


  • Top 10 Research-Based Usability Findings of 2010 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 12, 2011

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See also: Usability testing (71)  User research (24)  Research (130) 



How removing a button can make you $300,000,000 a year

In this article, Jared Spool tells a story of how his company helped an e-commerce site increase purchases by 45%.

The site lost lots of purchases because the required customer registration frustrated people. Usability tests showed that they resented having to register and repeat customers couldn't remember their account login.

The designers fixed the problem simply. They took away the Register button and made customer registration optional. With an increased sale of $300,000,000 the first year, the client was happy.


  • The $300 Million Button Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 15, 2009

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See also: Cases and Examples (28)  E-commerce (28)  Shopping Carts (9)  Forms (30)  Usability testing (71) 



The ROI of usability is declining

Jakob Nielsen and co. has conducted a study that looks at the benefits of redesigning websites for usability. The study reports an average return of investment (ROI) of 83%. In 2002, the number was 135%.

According to Jakob, the ROI of usability has decreased for two reasons. First, the most obvious usability problems have been eliminated. Second, usability teams haven't been given more funding to challenge the less obvious problems.


  • Usability ROI Declining, But Still Strong Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 22, 2008

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See also: E-commerce (28) 



Intranet usability saves millions

According to Jakob Nielsen, intranet usability has improved 44% over the last few years. But there is still room for improvement. A company with poor intranet usability can save $3 million per year. A company with average usability $2.4 million. If you have 10,000 employees, that is.


  • Intranet Usability Shows Huge Advances Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 11, 2007

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See also: Research (130)  Intranets (3)  Tips and guidelines (95) 



Interview with Jared Spool

InfoDesign has published an interview with Jared Spool. As always, Jared has interesting and provoking views to proclaim:

- Customers don't care about usability and design. Instead, they care about things like increased revenue, reducing expenses, bringing in more customers, and getting more business out of customers.

- The techniques usability professionals use are deeply flawed. We ignore the evidence that there has been no discernable relationship between investment in user-centred design practices and the regular production of usable products. The ones who design the best products don't follow the standard processes that we promote.

- Jared doesn't believe in design guidelines. Instead, his philosophy is to use an iterative approach. "Take a design


  • Jared Spool: The InfoDesign interview Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 12, 2007

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See also: Usability testing (71) 



Usability improvements are worth money for non-commercial sites and intranets

According to Jakob Nielsen, it's a fallacy to believe that only commercial sites can profit from usability. The public sector can realize economic value from making people able to complete self-service transactions, non-profits from increased donations, and intranets from increased employee productivity.

Government agencies typically benefit significantly from usability improvements because they have a large base of users. In one example, Jakob estimates that a state agency could get a return-on-investment of 22,000% by fixing a basic usability problem.


  • Do Government Agencies and Non-Profits Get ROI From Usability? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 12, 2007

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See also: Intranets (3) 



Interview with Rolf Molich: Usability test are not suitable for finding usability problems

The UPA Voice has an interview with Rolf Molich, a Danish usability expert, who is best known for his comparative studies of usability teams evaluating the same products (the CUE-studies).

The most important finding of his studies is that different teams report very different results. For example, in a study involving nine professional usability teams testing Hotmail, only 25% of the usability problems reported where the same.

So where does this leave usability testing?

"Its most important role is to make people understand the need for the prevention of usability problems." "But the method is much too expensive to eradicate all usability problems or even just all serious usability problems."

Instead we should prevent usability problems in the first place. Rolf recommends that development teams follow basic usability rules, such as the heuristics he and Jakob Nielsen have developed.


  • The interview with Rolf Molich Open link in new window
  • More about the CUE-studies Open link in new window
  • Rolf and Jakob's usability heuristics Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 06, 2007 - via Column Two

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See also: Expert reviews (11)  Usability testing (71) 



How to measure designs' impact on productivity

Provoked by a flawed study by Apple on productivity gains of big monitors, Jakob Nielsen has written an article on how to estimate designs' impact on productivity - and how not to do it.

According to Jakob, this is how to measure productivity:
- Involve a broad spectrum of representative users (not just experts).
- Have the users perform realistic tasks (not just low-level operations like cut and paste)
- Don't tell users how to do the tasks - observe their real behaviour

In the article, Jakob gives an example of how to calculate a design's productivity and ROI.


  • The article Productivity and Screen Size Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 23, 2006

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See also: Usability testing (71) 



MyTravel redesign increases online booking conversion by 20%

A major redesign of MyTravel has increased their online booking conversion by 20%. Streamlining the booking process reduced booking times by up to 40% and resulted in a 10% improvement in conversion. A more intuitive navigation structure and better use of page real estate improved conversion by a further 10%.


  • ROI: MyTravel Redesign increases online Booking Conversion by 20% Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 05, 2006 - via Usernomics

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See also: Cases and Examples (28) 



Spending on advertising vs. customer experience

What is most profitable? Investing in marketing to drive traffic to a web site or investing in the customer experience of the site?

According to ICE, it's insane to begin anywhere else than improving customer experience. "If you were throwing a party, wouldn't you clean up your house before you invited people over?"

By improving the customer experience, we improve conversion rate and can make more money with fewer people.

To maximize return on investments, the only smart move is to begin with customer experience and spend money on driving traffic to the site later on.


  • Put Your Money Where The Experience Is Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 14, 2006

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See also: Persuasive design (23) 

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