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Research (129)  Tips and guidelines (95)  Tools (106)  Books (47)  Audio and video (48)  Interviews (30)  Cases and Examples (28)  Talks and presentations (18)  GUUUI articles (11)  Primers (14)  Online books (5)  Posters (5)  Glossaries (3)  People and organisations (3) 
 

211

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 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 13, 2005

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See also: Research (129)  User research (23)  Usability testing (68) 


 

212

Explain icons with labels

"Part of the user experience efforts around Outlook 98 was improving the menu and toolbar structure. One of the problems that were noticed was that non-expert users didn't use the toolbar at all. One change caused a total turnaround: labeling the important toolbar buttons."

According to Jensen Harris, icons can work by themselves, but the richness is just not there relative to human language.

Links:

  • The Importance Of Labels Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 06, 2005

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Navigation (63) 


 

213

Drop-downs or radio buttons

Dissatisfied with guidelines from the old GUI days that tell us to use drop-downs for long lists and radio buttons for short ones, Donna Maurer has done some thinking herself:

- When users are unfamiliar with the items in a list, radio buttons can assist them by communicating the domain at a glance
- On forms that will be used frequently, radio buttons are far easier and faster because they don't have to be opened and are easier to take in a glance
- When designing for the web screen real estate isn't an issue because of "the magic gadget called a scroll bar."
- Since frequent users become familiar with placement of items on a screen, the spatial placement of radio buttons can help them fill them in quickly
- Experienced users might prefer drop-down list that allow them type the first letter to get to the target item

Donna concludes that it all depends on user context, not on size.

Links:

  • It's not about size, it's about context - radio buttons or drop-downs Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 29, 2005

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Forms (30) 


 

214

Global navigation is rarely helpful

According to Jared Spool from UIE, persistent global navigation isn't important to users:

"Maybe they'll click on the global navigation on the home page (however, probably not, if the page is well designed). Then they'll never click on it again, because, after all, they are now looking for local information - not global information"

"We've observed that it's almost always the case that if a user is clicking on global navigation, it's because they are completely lost."

"Having global navigation isn't a bad thing. It's just not something that should garner a lot of resources, as it's unlikely to be important in the user experience."

Links:

  • The article Global Site Navigation: Not Worthwhile? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 21, 2005 - via Usernomics

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See also: Research (129)  Navigation (63) 


 

215

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% Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 17, 2005 - via Dey Alexander

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See also: Cases and Examples (28)  Cost-justification and ROI (27)  Prototyping and wireframing (119)  Usability testing (68) 


 

216

Users' expectations of search

Based on a usability test of a system that allows people to search a large set of content Donna Maurer interpreted the users' expectations of search:

- It is better to put more than one word in as one word gives too much stuff
- Adding an extra word gives fewer results
- The first word in the search box is more important than the other words
- If the words make a sensible phrase the search engine should return results for the phrase
- If the words do not make a sensible phrase, the search engine shouldn't look for the phrase.

Links:

  • Regular folks searching Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 14, 2005

Permanent link Comments (3)

See also: Search (27)  Research (129) 


 

217

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

Permanent link Comments (1)

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


 

218

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 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 19, 2005 - via Column Two

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See also: Websites (11)  Tools (106) 


 

219

Simplifying registration forms

Six tips from Caroline Jarrett on how to make registration forms as easy as possible:

- Explain why you're asking people to register
- Make sure you offer something that users want
- Offer a sample that of what people will get if they register
- Ask as few questions as possible
- Be careful about asking invasive questions
- Don't ask people to register multiple times

Links:

  • Registration Forms - what to do if you can't avoid Them Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 11, 2005 - via Dey Alexander

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Forms (30) 


 

220

Open new windows for PDF and other non-web documents

If you must use PDF or other PC-native documents on websites, open them in new windows. Jakob Nielsen gives the following guidelines:

- Open non-web documents in a new browser window.
- Warn users in advance that a new window will appear.
- Remove the browser chrome (such as the back button) from the new window.

According to Jakob Nielsen, users feel like they're interacting with a PC application when using PC-native file formats. When people are finished, they click the window's close button instead of the back button, and are surprised that the web page is gone. Because they are no longer browsing a website, they shouldn't be given a browser interface.

Links:

  • The article Open New Windows for PDF and other Non-Web Documents Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 29, 2005

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Navigation (63) 


 

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