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Usability testing and return on investment

A white paper from MauroNewMedia discusses return on investment (ROI) implications for integrating formal usability testing methods into web development projects, and compares online and traditional lab-based approaches for their respective strengths and weaknesses.

The white paper provides an in-depth evaluation of current online usability testing methods, such as surveys and monitoring customer behaviour. It also includes a comprehensive trade-off matrix comparing the different usability testing approaches and research benefits.


  • The white paper Professional usability testing and return on investment... Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 15, 2003

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See also: Cost-justification and ROI (27) 



Return on Investment for Usability

Through an extensive study, Jakob Nielsen found that usability redesigns increase usability by 135% on average, while intranets improve slightly less.

Based on data from 863 design projects and findings from other studies, Nielsen concludes that current best practice call for devoting about 10% of a project's budget to usability.

He also found that the cost of usability doesn't increase linearly with project size. A project that's ten times bigger, for example, typically requires only four times more usability spending.


  • The article Return on Investment for Usability Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 08, 2003 - via Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox Announcement List

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See also: Cost-justification and ROI (27) 



Usability requirements: how to specify, test and report usability

This web site provides a guide for how to specify, test and report usability requirements as part of a contractual relationship between a supplier and acquirer.

It includes the downloadable report, and case studies of four trials carried out in Europe by the EU-funded PRUE project.


  • The PRUE Project website Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - January 07, 2003

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See also: The design process (24) 



Cost effective User Centred Design - Winning strategies

This resource describes simple user-centred methods recommended by the TRUMP project to improve the usability of end products and systems.

The TRUMP project has successfully raised the usability maturity of two large organisations and is providing information to help other organisations achieve similar results.

TRUMP provides methods, case studies, various resources, and even real humans one can get in touch with.


  • The TRUMP Project website Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - January 07, 2003

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Gorilla Usability

"Not everyone has time to conduct a formal usability study, or the money to invest in a full blown usability initiative, and frankly, lots of times that might not be the best option anyway. Sometimes a designer or developer needs that one-on-one, maker-to-user interface. Gorilla Usability will show you some ways to get to know your users in a real world, out-from-behind-the-glass kind of way." (D. Keith Robinson,


  • The article Gorilla Usability - Do You Know Your Users? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 05, 2003

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See also: Usability testing (68) 



DENIM, a Sketch-based Web Site Prototyping Tool

Through a study of web site design practice, the Group for User Interface Research at Berkeley University observed that web site designers design sites at different levels of refinement (site map, storyboard, and individual page) and that designers sketch at all levels during the early stages of design. However, existing web design tools do not support these tasks very well.

Informed by these observations, they created DENIM, a tool that helps web site designers in the early stages of design.

DENIM supports sketching input, allows design at different refinement levels, and unifies the levels through zooming.

Supported platforms:
- Windows 95, 98, Me, NT 4.0, 2000, or XP
- Mac OS X 10.1 (10.0 is not supported)
- Solaris, Linux, and other Unix-like operating systems


  • The DENIM Web Site Open link in new window
  • Try an exported DENIM Web Site Prototype Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - December 06, 2002

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



Greek text

Greek text can be helpful when designing initial design comps and prototypes, where the actual content isn't important. has developed a neat little thing, which can generate a specified number of fake latin paragraphs for you.

Jakob Nielsen has an article about how greeked text can come in handy, when you want to test how easy users can identify the location of different content areas in different layout templates.


  • The fake latin text generator Open link in new window
  • The article Testing Whether Web Page Templates are Helpful Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 27, 2002

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



Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web

In the introduction, Christina Wodtke claims that her book on IA isn't for people doing IA for a living since "most of it will probably be old hat." It might be true, that her book won't make a revolution for the IA field, but it is very enlightening to read about Wodtke's practical use of the techniques and principles of IA. And there's no armchair theory here. Everything is backed up by cases, examples, and practical advice on how to make everything work in the real world.

The book concentrates on traditional IA practices, such as:
- User research
- Organising content
- Card sorting
- Personas, scenarios and task analysis
- Site and flow diagramming
- Wireframing and storyboarding

At the end of the book, you'll also find some she-devil tricks on how to persuade you boss and co-workers to do things your way. Highly revealing - my girlfriend is never going to fool me again.


  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 14, 2002

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See also: Books (47)  Site and flow diagramming (6)  Card sorting (13)  The design process (24)  Personas (19)  User research (23)  Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 



Spanking Jakob Nielsen

"The purpose of this article is to critically review Jakob Nielsen's article, Intranet Usability: The Trillion-Dollar Question. In summary, Jakob Nielsen makes some fantastic claims about intranet usability that must be weighed against other business needs and constraints. For example, there might be better ways to spend money than on usability, not all usability improvements are created equal, and it can be hard to apply the changes dictated by a usability study. The criticisms can be applied to many other usability articles" A very good analysis of Nielsen's article, "Intranet Usability: The Trillion-Dollar Question"


  • Spanking Jakob Nielsen Open link in new window
  • Intranet Usability: The Trillion-Dollar Question Open link in new window

Ron Zeno - November 11, 2002

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See also: Cost-justification and ROI (27) 



Calculating market efficiency and business effects of a web site

If you want to know the market efficiency of a web site, web log analysis can be very effective. But most web analytic software doesn't provide you with easy-to-understand metrics and doesn't take business goals and outcomes such as conversion rates and return on investments into consideration.

At Future Now, an e-business consultancy, you can download a suite of calculators included in an Excel file. The calculators can help you measure the success of a site in terms of a few critical metrics on market efficiency and business effects.


  • Download the website conversion calculators Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 07, 2002

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See also: Tools (106)  Cost-justification and ROI (27)  Web traffic analysis (12) 


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