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How to document interaction designs using Visio and Word

Anders Bjork sent me a link to his article about how to document interaction designs created in Visio. Write your comments in Visio and export the screens and the comments to Word.


  • Documenting Interaction Design/Wire Frames with Visio and Word Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 08, 2007

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See also: Prototyping and wireframing (119)  Tools (106) 



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)  Cost-justification and ROI (27)  Usability testing (68) 



When to use personas?

Jared Spool finds that personas are useful, but not in all situations. They are helpful under the following conditions:

- The design team is an actual team with more than a single individual
- The team members are different from their users (which is most of the time).
- The team members do not have constant interaction directly with the users
- Different users will interact with the artefacts differently


  • When Should You Use Personas? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 02, 2007 - via Usability in the News

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See also: Personas (19) 



The dark side of prototyping

The Q1 2007 issue of GUUUI points out some of the most common pitfalls of prototyping and how to avoid them:

- Make sure that the design reflected by the prototype is realizable within the project constraints
- Keep fidelity at a minimum throughout the design phase
- Involve colleagues in the design process


Henrik Olsen - January 01, 2007

Permanent link Comments (8)

See also: Prototyping and wireframing (119) 



Interview with Alan Cooper on personas

UXpod has published an audio interview with Alan Cooper, the guy who introduced personas to the universe of software development. He talks about where the idea of using personas came from, how personas are distilled from field studies, and how personas are used to inform design decisions.


  • Personas and Outrageous Software - an Interview with Alan Cooper Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 14, 2006

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See also: Interviews (30)  Audio and video (48)  Personas (19) 



Is user-centred design working?

Donna Maurer has published a presentation and recordings of her talk "User centred design: Is it working?"

Here are some interesting (and quite provoking) points from her presentation:

- Lot's of clients are not satisfied with what they get from usability specialists. The work they do is shallow and the clients are left with the hard stuff that they meant to hire out.

- We have to stop selling usability. It doesn't have a value proposition. Usability is a quality aspect. Not a deliverable.

- A lot of the successful websites don't do traditional user research and usability testing. Their model is more about putting something out, see what happens, and modify it if needed.

- We have to stop designing by testing and focus less on user-centred and more on design

- Jakob Nielsen's stuff should be removed from the galaxy. All his rules lure people into a feeling that you can just get these rules and get it right.


  • Donna Maurer's talk User centred design: is it working Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 02, 2006 - via Usability In The News

Permanent link Comments (2)

See also: Talks and presentations (18)  Audio and video (48)  User research (23)  Usability testing (68) 



Visualizations of clicks on web pages

Crazy Egg is a web statistics tool that can track where people click on a web page and visualize the clicks in different ways. Especially their heatmaps are enlightening. They give you a quick view of what people click on and what is popular on a page.

Besides seeing what is popular, you can use the tool for testing different layouts and compare the results. The click visualizations can also reveal that people may click on areas of your pages that are non-clickable (but probably should be clickable), such as headlines and images.

You can sign up for limited free plan at Creazy Egg.


  • The statistics tool Crazy Egg Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 24, 2006 - via 37signals

Permanent link Comments (3)

See also: Tools (106)  Web page design (40)  Web traffic analysis (12) 



Review of prototyping tools

Here's a look at the latest prototyping tools on the market. In this article by Scott McDowell, you'll find short reviews of the products Axure, Elegance Tech LucidSpec, iRise, Serena Composer, Enterprise Simulator, and Sofea Profesy.


  • Visio Replacement? You Be the Judge. Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 18, 2006

Permanent link Comments (3)

See also: Prototyping and wireframing (119) 



How Netflix test features online in fast iterations

Joshua Porter has paid a visit to Netflix and found that a one of the reasons for their success is fast iterations. Every two weeks they make significant changes to their site to improve their service. With each update they try out many new features knowing that only a few of them will work and survive to the next iteration.

According Joshua, Netflix's fast iterations and their "try and see" attitude has a number of benefits:
- They can fail fast and invest less time in the things that don't work
- They can experiment with ideas that might not have a lot of support, but could be potential winners
- They can quickly learn about what works and what doesn't instead of resorting to opinionated arguments
- Making small changes instead of major redesigns makes it easier to measure the effect of the changes
- The constant effort to improve is appreciated by users and provides continuing interest


  • The Freedom of Fast Iterations: How Netflix Designs a Winning Web Site Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 15, 2006

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Usability testing (68)  Web traffic analysis (12) 



Label placement in forms

Matteo Penzo has conducted an eyetracking study to evaluate the best solutions for label placement in forms. A number of suggested guidelines arose from their test results:

- Place labels above input fields so that users aren't forced to look separately at the label and the input field
- Be careful to visually separate labels from the previous input field
- If you choose to place labels to the left of input fields, make them right-aligned
- Don't use bold labels - they are a bit more difficult for users to read than plain text
- Use drop-down list with care since they are very eye-catching


  • The article Label Placement in Forms Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 12, 2006

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Research (129)  Forms (30)  Eye-tracking (14)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


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