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1

Avoid making wrong conclusions from user analysis

According to Jared Spool, many teams rush the process from user observations to design recommendations. They are so anxious to fix things that they end up making the wrong conclusions and fixing the wrong things.

To make solid recommendations we should state all the alternative inference we can for the observations we make, collect enough data to prove or disprove a given inference, compare multiple types of data sources, and construct quick prototypes to test our recommendations.

Links:

  • The Road to Recommendation

Henrik Olsen - January 10, 2006

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See also: Usability testing (29) 


 

2

Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness

Jared M. Spool has made his presentation Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness available online. Download a MP3 and a PDF, listen to the presentation in its entirety and see all the examples using the presentation handout.

Spool shares practical design strategies from effective web sites and shows:
- How the best teams allocate their resources by focusing on the most important content on the site and how this affects every page
- Proven design techniques, such as persona-based design, to help teams understand what users need from the site
- Why the most effective sites never relaunch, yet manage to always have fresh designs
- How we can utilize the scent of information and how people search for their content to give your site a huge advantage

Links:

  • The presentation Scent, Search, and the Pursuit of User Happiness

Henrik Olsen - December 09, 2005

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See also: Navigation (44)  Personas (13)  The design process (14) 


 

3

Setting goals and measuring success for web sites

With this free e-book by Steve Jackson, editor of Conversion Chronicles, you can learn the basics of how to set up measurable goals for web site conversion, how to reach your goals thorough persuasive design and how to measure success with web site statistic tools.

You have to sign up for their newsletter to get the e-book (they are taking their own medicine and use the book to boost their newsletter conversion and prospect acquisition).

Links:

  • The e-book Learn befor you spend

Henrik Olsen - November 22, 2005

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See also: Books (32)  Persuasive design (12)  Web log analysis (7)  Online books (5) 


 

4

Usability is more important that aesthetics in the long run

The October 2005 newsletter from HFI is a discussion of how beauty can influence users' overall impression of a product and how to measure the product-emotion relationship.

The newsletter mentions a study by M. Hassenzahl where a MP3 application was evaluated with a variety of different visual designs. They study showed that:
- When participants only looked at the MP3 player, the overall rating of the product was based on its perceived beauty and anticipated usability
- When participants were allowed to use the player, the overall rating of the product was more influenced by participants' experience of using the product

The study suggests that the emotional aspects of a design are important in attracting customers in the first place. However, when the product is judged through usage over time, usability is what matters most.

Links:

  • Is Beauty the new usability attribute?

Henrik Olsen - November 16, 2005

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Usability testing (29)  Visual design (13)  Research (88) 


 

5

Demographics is not critical when recruiting study participants

When recruiting participants for usability testing, field research and the like, candidates experience and behaviour is more important than demographics.

According to Jared Spool, studies of user experience professionals have shown that successful teams have learnt that candidates' previous experience and how they will behave in the study is more important than where they live, how old they are, and how much they earn. You don't need to have someone who is in your target audience. You only need someone who behaves like people in your audience group and is comfortable with the study situation.

Links:

  • Putting Perfect Participants in Every Session

Henrik Olsen - November 13, 2005

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See also: Research (88)  Requirement Analysis (12)  Usability testing (29) 


 

6

User-centred design cuts support calls by 90%

Here's a great case on how prototyping and early involvement of users pays off. Because McAfee made user interface design of their ProtectionPilot a prime directive, they ended up with a great product and received approximately one-tenth of the support calls that the company would expect.

The article lists 23 tips gleaned from McAfee and their design team.

Links:

  • Clean, cutting-edge UI design cuts McAfee's support calls by 90%

Henrik Olsen - October 17, 2005 - via Dey Alexander

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See also: Cases and Examples (12)  Cost-justification and ROI (18)  Wireframing and prototyping (29)  Usability testing (29) 


 

7

The promised land of prototyping

While some might claim that prototyping isn't one of the wonders of the world, it's definitely a wonder of web and software development. The Q4 2005 issue of GUUUI takes a look at all the good that prototyping can do for us:

- The product is designed rather than left to chance
- We can externalize and develop ideas
- Legalizes experimentation and revisions
- Can make the intangible tangible
- We can satisfy clients' wish to see quick results
- We can take the client for a test drive
- We can reduce scope creep
- Makes early usability tests possible
- Improves team collaboration
- Improves cost-efficiency

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 13, 2005

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See also: GUUUI articles (7)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

8

Idea generation methods

Martin Leith has published a list of all the idea generation methods he's encountered during the past 15 years. Each method is described and some have full instructions on how to use them to generate ideas.

Links:

  • The site All Know Idea Generation Methods

Henrik Olsen - September 19, 2005 - via Column Two

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See also: Tools (49)  Requirement Analysis (12)  Websites (9) 


 

9

Tools for Information Architects

The Information Architecture Institute has a nice section full of tools for Information Architects and Interaction Designers. You will find document and wireframing templates, process maps posters, presentations, introduction brochures, and other tools to help you in your practice.

Links:

  • The tools section at IA Institute

Henrik Olsen - August 25, 2005

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See also: Tools (49)  Personas (13)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

10

Defence of paper prototyping

Despite advances in prototyping technology paper prototyping is still Jared Spool's favourite approach.

The downside of computer based prototyping tools such as Visio, Dreamweaver and Acrobat is that:
- They are clumsy, time consuming and too cumbersome for producing rough designs
- You get bogged down with lining things up neatly and other micro-design activities that take time and tell us nothing about the design's effectiveness
- They are restrictive, since only one person at a time can update the interface

In Jared Spool's opinion the programs are great once the basic design elements are established, but for the initial round of tests, they are overkill and distracting.

Links:

  • The article Looking Back on 16 Years of Paper Prototyping

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2005

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See also: Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


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