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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) 
 

251

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) 


 

252

Accessible doesn't equal usable for people with disabilities

The Communication Technologies Branch of the United States National Cancer Institute has cunducted usability test with blind people to learn how they work with web-sites and what that means for designers and developers. They conclude that meeting the required accessibility standards doesn't necessarily mean that a web-site is usable for people with disabilities.

The authors describe how blind users work with their screen readers and present 31 guidelines based on their findings.

Links:

  • The article Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 17, 2005

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See also: Research (129)  Accessibility (13) 


 

253

Banner blindness is determined by navigation style

In a study, Magnus Pagedarm and Heike Schaumbrug found that when users browse websites "aimlessly", they are significantly better at recalling and recognising banner ads compared to users searching for specific information.

The authors suggest that navigation style exerts a significant influence on users' attention focusing. Directed search focuses users' attention on areas of the site that are expected to contain relevant information, while aimless browsing is guided by the appeal of the different features on a web page.

Links:

  • The article Why Are Users Banner-Blind? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 11, 2005

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See also: Navigation (63)  Ads (9)  Research (129) 


 

254

Navigation blindness

The Q1 2005 issue of GUUUI looks at how people navigate websites. Most web development projects put a lot of effort into the design of navigation tools, but fact is that users tend to ignore them. They are fixated on getting what they came for and simply click on links or hit the back button to get there. This behaviour suggests that navigation should be designed to be a more integral part of website experience.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - January 04, 2005

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See also: Navigation (63)  GUUUI articles (11) 


 

255

Banner blindness

The notion of banner blindness was originally introduced by the research team Benway and Lane in their paper from 1998. In a study they found that when users search for specific information they generally ignore anything that looks like an advertisement. In fact, they have a tendency to overlook anything that stands out.

The authors have the following advice to designers:

"One item separated visually from everything else on a web page may be completely ignored by web searchers, even by searchers who are deliberately searching for the information provided in that item. Designers should be cautious about following guidelines stating that increasing the visual distinction between "important" items and other items is desirable; the visual distinctiveness may actually make important items seem unimportant."

Links:

  • The article Banner Blindness Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 30, 2004

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See also: Ads (9)  Research (129) 


 

256

Trigger words makes users dig into a site

According to Jared Spool, users browse websites using a Move-Forward-Until-Found Rule:

"...a web page can do only one of two things: either it contains the content the user wants or it contains the links to get them to the content they want. If a page doesn't follow this rule, then the users stop clicking..."

Trigger words is what makes users dig in to a site - words that contain the essential elements that provide the motivation to continue with the site.

In a study where the test participants were first interviewed about what they hoped to find on a number of large websites, UIE found that when the participants were successful in finding their target content, the words that they used in the interview appeared 72% of the time on the site's front page. When they where unsuccessful, their words appeared only 6% of the time.

UIE also found that when the participants didn't find any trigger words, they were far more likely to use the site's search function.

Links:

  • The article The Right Trigger Words Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 13, 2004

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See also: Navigation (63)  Text (24)  Links (19)  Research (129) 


 

257

Is Navigation Useful?

In an article from 2000, Jakob Nielsen states that navigation is overdone at many sites. His studies have shown the same user behaviour over and over again:

- Users look straight at content and ignore navigation areas
- Users look only for the one thing they have in mind
- Users will ruthlessly click the Back button if a page isn't relevant to the their goals
- Users don't understand where they are in a website
- Users don't spend time learning certain design elements

Nielsen's advice is to get rid of superfluous navigation:

- Limit pervasive linking to maybe five or six things
- Do not link to all sections from all pages - let people go back to the front page
- Use breadcrumbs to link to all levels of the hierarchy above the current location
- Provide useful links to related content

Links:

  • The article Is Navigation Useful? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 03, 2004

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


 

258

Is your site ready for Christmas?

If you are in Christmas mood, 37signal have a lot of ideas for improving the online holiday customer experience. Here's a few:

- State the cutoff date for holiday delivery
- Offer gift finder categories directly on the home page
- Offer a "Shop By Interest" option
- Offer a "Shop By Price Range" option
- Offer links to gifts specifically for certain age groups
- Offer links to gifts specifically for men or women
- Lure value-conscious customers in by emphasizing low cost items on the home page
- Let people buy gift cards via the usual checkout process
- Give customers a sneak preview of your wrap
- Offer pre-wrapped gifts

Links:

  • 37signal's ideas for improving the holiday customer experience Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 29, 2004

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See also: E-commerce (27)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

259

Big, bold, and colourful doesn't make things noticeable

The fact that people tend to ignore big, flashy, and colourful banners at the top of web pages suggest that screaming out loud doesn't guarantee that something will be noticed.

According to Don Norman, this has to do with conventions. People guide their search using previous knowledge about websites and direct their attention directly to the location most likely to contain information of interest, such as lists of blue underlined links.

Don's moral: "...if you want something to be salient, follow conventions. Violate the conceptual model, even if the violation seems perfectly sensible, and you are apt to discover that readers miss critical information."

Links:

  • The article Banner Blindness, Human Cognition and Web Design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 22, 2004

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Visual design (19)  Ads (9)  Web page design (40) 


 

260

Jeff Bezos on Amazon.com's customer-centric approach to online business

From Amazon.com's early days, founder Jeff Bezos' vision was to create the world's most customer-centric company. He is driven by the belief that what's good for the customer will ultimately turn out to be good for the company. This is the reason why you can find negative customers' reviews on products at Amazon - something that would be inconceivable in most other companies. Bezos is convinced that Amazon will sell more if they help people make purchasing decisions.

One of the keys to the success of Amazon.com lies in their fact-based approach. Some ideas are too complex to try out in small-scale tests, but Amazon will make an extraordinary effort to study customer behaviour rather than rely on their best instincts and judgments.

Links:

  • The article Insinde the Mind of Jeff Bezos Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 14, 2004

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See also: E-commerce (27)  Interviews (30) 


 

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