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181

Eyetracking study of e-commerce sites

Eyetools Inc and MarketingSherpa have published the report "The Landing Page Handbook". The report describes the results of an eyetracking study of typical e-commerce sites and has design guidelines for improving web page layout.

Some highlights from the report:
- The upper-left corner is always seen
- Most web pages are scanned, not read
- Any text that is underlined or blue get high readership and many people will read only the emphasized text before deciding to read on
- Material underneath images is viewed quite often
- People experience such a strong pull to look at images that they can trump left-to-right reading
- Navigational links or bottoms usually distract visitors from the main purpose of the page

Links:

  • The article Are Your Visitors Seeing What You Think? Open link in new window
  • The book The Landing Page Handbook Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 03, 2005 - via UI Designer

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See also: Persuasive design (21)  E-commerce (27)  Landing pages (5)  Eye-tracking (14)  Research (129)  Books (47) 


 

182

Personas and decision-making scenarios

To Shannon Ford, personas are employed to better understand what users want to accomplish and to develop design solutions that help meet the goals and needs of the group they portray. They help avoid the common practice of trying to design for all users.

Personas have their foundation in real people, but are never based on any on individual. They are created to represent a set of characteristics found across many individuals, and are derived from qualitative research with actual users.

The best personas will also go the extra step to describe key behaviors such as a decision making process, an information browsing approach, or a shopping mode - the drivers that affect how people approach a given solution. In her article you'll find a few samples of home improvement customers and their decision-making process.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - March 01, 2005

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See also: Personas (19) 


 

183

Blog on eyetracking research

Greg Edwards had dedicated a blog to eyetracking analysis. He will publish interesting viewing data and rules-of-thumb from measuring what people read, look at, skip, and ignore on web pages.

Links:

  • The blog Eyetools Research Blog Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 23, 2005

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See also: Blogs (12)  Eye-tracking (14) 


 

184

Projects should start with interaction design

Traditional system development starts with abstract system specifications and ends with interface design. To Jason Fried, this is backwards.

"Functional specifications documents lead to an illusion of agreement. A bunch of people agreeing on paragraphs of text is not real agreement. Everyone is reading the same thing, but they're often thinking something different. This inevitably comes out in the future when it's too late."

Instead we should start from the user interface and build out from there.

"...the interface is the functional spec. First with some quick and simple paper sketches, then directly into HTML. Unlike paragraphs of text that are open to alternate interpretations, interface designs are common ground."

Links:

  • The article Getting Real, Step 1: No Functional Spec Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 15, 2005 - via UI Designer

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See also: The design process (24)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

185

Test review of Morae

NetworkWorldFusion has tested Morae, a software tool for usability analysis from TechSmith that records video and audio of the users along with system data (e.g. mouse clicks, keystrokes, web page changes). Their overall rating is "very good".

Pros:
- Affordable
- Annotates collected data indicating web page changes, mouse clicks, keystrokes, text data appearing on screen, and window events such as opening and closing applications

Cons:
- Remote monitoring and management capabilities could be improved
- Captured data can get quite large (in the gigabyte range)
- Only supports Windows and prefers Internet Explorer

Links:

  • More about Morae at TechSmith.com Open link in new window
  • Review of Morae Recorder Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 09, 2005

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See also: Usability testing (68)  Tools (106) 


 

186

Segmenting online customers by behaviour

According to the authors of this article, the most effective segmentation scheme for online consumers is to group them by their online behaviour.

They have defined seven segments:

- Quickies (8%): Short visits to a few familiar sites.
- Just the Facts (15%): Search for specific information from known sites.
- Single Mission (7%): Information gathering or completion of a certain task at an unfamiliar site.
- Do It Again (14%): Visits to favourite sites.
- Loitering (16%): Longer leisure visits to familiar sites.
- Information, Please (17%): In-depth information gathering from a range of unfamiliar sites.
- Surfing (23%): Short visits to a lot of mostly unfamiliar sites.

The authors claim that by decoding the type of behaviour users are engaged in, online marketers will raise the odds of communicating with their target consumers at the time they are most likely to pay attention to and be influenced by offers.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - February 07, 2005

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See also: Persuasive design (21)  User research (23)  E-commerce (27)  Research (129) 


 

187

Tips on moderating open-ended usability tests

Listening labs is Mark Hurst open-ended version of the traditional think-aloud test. He has put together some tips on how to moderate a open-ended test.

Some highlights:
- Don't write out specific tasks before the test, since the test should be based on where, how, and why people will use the site
- Don't lead the user in any way
- Act only on the lead of the user
- Avoid opinion-based questions
- Avoid conditional or theoretical "if" questions since they won't spotlight users' real-world actions
- Keep the user in "use mode", and avoid "critique mode"

Links:

  • The article Four Words to Improve User Research Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 25, 2005

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See also: Usability testing (68)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

188

Personas doesn't have to be rocket science

Many researchers feel that personas (user archetypes) should be very accurate and based on extensive research. Don Norman disagrees with this philosophy. In his opinion, the purpose of personas is to add empathetic focus to the design.

Personas can be created quickly without real data and employed without much background information and attention to detail. As soon as we start discussing products in terms of their impact upon individuals instead of features and attributes of the product, it makes it easier to be human-centred.

Links:

  • The article Ad-Hoc Personas & Empathetic Focus Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 25, 2004

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See also: Personas (19) 


 

189

What is usability?

Donna Maurer has written a nice overview of what usability is

Links:

  • The article What is usability? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 03, 2004

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See also: The design process (24)  Cost-justification and ROI (27)  Primers (14) 


 

190

Card sorting tools

DonnaM has posted a short summary of seven computer-based card sorting tools. She took a closer look at the two most promising. Her conclusion is:
- IBM's USort was as annoying
- CardZort is nice

Links:

  • The post Card sorting tools - final summary Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 24, 2004

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See also: Card sorting (13)  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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