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151

Video introducing eyetracking

Here's a short video showing how an eye-tracking session is conducted. It also demonstrates how a study is documented with session images showing the path that users' eyes take when looking at a page, and heatmaps highlighting the area that users pay most attention to.

Links:

  • Video introducing eyetracking Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 25, 2006 - via Seth's Blog

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Eye-tracking (14) 


 

152

People scan content in an F-shaped pattern

In an eyetracking study, Jakob Nielsen found that users often scan content on web pages in an F-shaped pattern:
- First, people scan in a horizontal movement across the upper part of the content area
- Secondly, in a shorter horizontal movement further down the page
- Finally, in a vertical movement along the content's left side

According to Jakob Nielsen the F-pattern behaviour shows that:
- People don't read text thoroughly
- The most important information should be at the top
- Headings and paragraphs must start with information-carrying words that users will notice when they scan down the left side of the content

Links:

  • F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 19, 2006

Permanent link Comments (2)

See also: Research (129)  Text (24)  Eye-tracking (14) 


 

153

Predefined tasks in usability tests give flawed results

If usability tests are not guided by what real users want to do, they can give misleading results. Instead of using predefined tasks, Jared Spool suggests that we let the users design their own tasks:

"In interview-based tasks, the participant's interest are discovered, not assigned. Unlike scavenger-hunt tasks, the test's facilitator and participant negotiate the tasks during the tests, instead of proceeding down a list of predefined tasks."

According to Jared Spool, it starts with recruiting. When conducting interview-based tasks it's important to identify candidates that have a passion for the subject matter we're evaluating.

The method is very similar to Mark Hurst's Listening labs.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - April 09, 2006

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Usability testing (68) 


 

154

Review of Axure RP Pro

The Q2 2006 issue of GUUUI is a review of the prototyping tool Axure RP Pro.

The good:
- Drag and drop widgets onto a grid (as you might know it from Visio)
- Generate prototypes in a format that behaves like real web pages (i.e. you can interact with forms and pages can scroll)
- Save time on repetitive changes by using custom widgets and templates
- Simulate rich interactivity by showing and hiding layers
- Automatically generate user interface specifications

The bad:
- You can't navigate your pages inside Axure by clicking links and buttons
- Somewhat expensive

Links:

Henrik Olsen - April 01, 2006

Permanent link Comments (10)

See also: Tools (106)  Prototyping and wireframing (119)  GUUUI articles (11) 


 

155

Stockholm syndrome in usability tests

The term Stockholm Syndrome describes the situation where a hostage becomes sympathetic to his captors.

When Jensen Harris had to conduct his first usability test at Microsoft, he expected that the participants would let out their rage at Microsoft.

But it turns out that people tend to be less critical than they probably should be. The participants consider themselves guests in the usability lab, don't want to insult the hosts, and are embarrassed when they can't complete a task.

"Whatever the cause, this tendency to not criticize the software is a major risk to the results of standard usability testing."

For this reason, Microsoft supplements standard testing by initiatives in which they watch the software more in the real world.

Links:

  • Usability Stockholm Syndrome Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 25, 2006

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Usability testing (68) 


 

156

Axure RP Pro

Axure have released a version 4 of their dedicated prototyping tool Axure RP Pro. The tool is a very strong competitor to Visio.

Some great features:
- It has a adopted the basic concept from Visio, where you drag and drop widgets onto a grid
- The interactive prototypes are generated in real HTML, meaning that they behave like real web pages (i.e. forms are interactive and pages can scroll)
- It can automatically generate specifications in Word format
- With its Masters you can create custom widgets and templates to reuse in your pages
- With its Dynamic Panels you can simulate rich interactions by showing and hiding layers in response to users' actions

I can't tell if Axure is better than Visio, since I haven't used it for a project yet. But it sure looks promising. Download the demo to decide for yourself.

Links:

  • The prototyping tool Axure RP Pro Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 21, 2006

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


 

157

Online video interview with Jakob Nielsen

DevSource has published a nice 8-minute online video interview featuring Dr. Jakob Nielsen.

Nielsen addresses a wide range of topics, such as proper attitude for programmers, the importance of prototyping in design, and the reasons why PDF, Flash, and local search engines can hurt more than they help.

Links:

  • Online video interview with Jakob Nielsen Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 17, 2006 - via WebWord

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See also: Interviews (30)  Search (27)  Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119)  Audio and video (48) 


 

158

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.

Links:

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

Henrik Olsen - March 14, 2006

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Persuasive design (21)  Cost-justification and ROI (27) 


 

159

How to use PowerPoint for prototyping

Jensen Harris from Microsoft has posted a small practical tutorial on how to use PowerPoint for prototyping. Paste screenshots of the different interaction states into PowerPoint, use transparent shapes as link areas and put a static frame into the master background, so that you only need to put the interface elements which changes on each slide.

In Harris' opinion, the technique has several advantages compared to paper prototypes. Prototypes build in PowerPoint feel somewhat interactive, they can be modified more easily, and computer enabled prototypes feel more natural to usability test participants.

Of course, this method is rather primitive compared to prototyping with Visio.

Links:

  • Prototyping With PowerPoint Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 27, 2006

Permanent link Comments (0)

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


 

160

Easy site diagramming

Stephen Turbek shows how to save time on site diagramming using either Excel and Visio or Word and Inspiration.

"Use these lazy techniques and spend your time on better and more interesting problems than lining up little boxes!"

Links:

  • The Lazy IA's Guide to Making Sitemaps Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 01, 2006

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Site and flow diagramming (6)  Information architecture (15)  Tools (106) 


 

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Methods and the design process

Prototyping and wireframing (119)  Usability testing (68)  Cost-justification and ROI (27)  User research (23)  Personas (19)  The design process (24)  Eye-tracking (14)  Card sorting (13)  Web traffic analysis (12)  Expert reviews (11)  Implementing user-centred design (9)  Site and flow diagramming (6)  Envisionments (4)  Use Cases (3) 

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