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BROWSE GUUUI POSTINGS

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) 
 

261

Search interfaces should be guided by knowledge about how people search

According to Daniel E. Rose, current search interfaces reflect the inner workings of search technology rather than what we know about how people look for information. In his opinion, we should use our understanding of search behaviour to rethink how we interact with search engines.

Search interfaces should be guided by three principles:
- Provide different forms of interaction to match different search goals
- Facilitate selection of context for the search
- Support the iterative nature of the search task

Most of the time, search is an iterative process like the interaction between a reference librarian and a library patron. Users don't know the right questions to ask until they begin to see some of the results and learn about the subject. Rose mentions the AltaVista Prisma feature, which suggests search refinements, as an example of how search engines can support this iterative process.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - November 08, 2004

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See also: Search (27)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

262

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) 


 

263

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) 


 

264

Customers research online and buy offline

According to a survey, 65% of online US consumers come in to a retailer already knowing exactly what they want because they've done their product research online. The phenomenon, called cross-channel shopping, shows how important online merchandising is.

Additional findings from the survey:
- 51% of cross-channel customers are active shoppers who made at least one purchase in the past three months
- Cross-channel shoppers are comprised of wealthier, younger and more experienced online customers
- When cross-channel shoppers go to the offline retail, 47% end up spending more for additional products ($154 in average)
- 48% noted that the reason for buying offline is that they want to see the item before purchasing it
- 16% noted that the reason for buying offline was the need to talk with a salesperson before buying

The survey is based on 8,000 online customers and was conducted in 2004.

Links:

  • The article Majority of US Consumers Research Online, Buy Offline Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 18, 2004

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See also: E-commerce (27)  Research (129) 


 

265

The optimal layout of search result pages

The authors of this article have studied the optimal layout of search result pages. Their findings suggest that categorizing search results improve users' performance significantly.

The authors tested seven different search result layouts, and found that:
- In all cases, categorized search results were faster than non-categorized results
- Despite the cost of additional scrolling, the layout with categorized search results, page titles and text summaries were the most effective
- Participants generally preferred the categorized results to the non-categorized
- Adding category information to non-categorized results didn't improve performance
- Removing category names from categorized results didn't hurt performance, but the participants disliked the absence of a category name

Apparently, categorized search results help users weed out irrelevant results and focus in on the area of interest more quickly.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 10, 2004 - via Semantic Studio

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See also: Research (129)  Search (27) 


 

266

Creating friendly forms

In this sample chapter from the book Defensive Design for the Web, Jason Fried and Matthew Linderman offer a set of illustrated guidelines on how to create attractive and functional forms:

- Highlight either required or optional fields
- Accept entries in all common formats
- Provide sample entries, pull-downs, and formatting hints to ensure clean data
- Explicitly state limits to characters, number of entries, and so forth
- If customers can't choose it, don't show it
- Validate entries (as soon as possible).
- Eliminate the Reset button and disable the Submit button after it's clicked
- Assist form dropouts by saving information

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 04, 2004

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See also: Books (47)  Tips and guidelines (95)  Forms (30) 


 

267

Server side usability - How to make web servers behave

Most usability professionals don't have a driver's licence to servers and are not aware of the step that can be taken to make them behave in a user-friendly way. The GUUUI Q4 2004 issue takes a look at how to avoid that server technology becomes an obstacle to usability.

The article suggests that we should:

- Make the "www" prefix optional
- Support "www" prefix typos
- Support domain name typos and spelling errors
- Support erroneous country codes
- Use tidy URLs
- Don't leave users in a dead end when a page cannot be found
- Alert users when a server error occurs
- Have a "We are updating" page ready

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 01, 2004

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See also: GUUUI articles (11)  Tips and guidelines (95)  URLs (3)  Error handling (7) 


 

268

Checkbox and radio button guidelines

Jakob Nielsen strikes a blow for checkbox and radio button design standards:
- Radio buttons are used for two or more mutually exclusive options
- Checkboxes are used when there the user may select any number of choices
- A stand-alone checkbox is used for a single option
- Use standard visual representation
- Visually present groups of choices as groups
- Use subheads to break up a long list of checkboxes
- Lay out your lists vertical
- Use positive and active wording for checkbox labels (avoid negations such as "Don't send me more email")
- Use radio buttons rather than drop-down menus
- Always offer a default selection for radio button lists
- Make sure that the options are both comprehensive and clearly distinct
- Let users select an option by clicking its label
- Define accesskeys for frequently used checkboxes and radio buttons

Links:

  • The article Checkboxes vs. Radio Buttons Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 27, 2004

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


 

269

Paging vs. scrolling search results

In a study from 2002, SURL examined how much information should be presented at one time on a search result page.

In the study, users were asked to locate specific links on three different search result pages:
- One layout with 10 links per page
- One with 50 links per page
- One with 100 links on one page

The study showed that participants favoured and performed best on layouts with both reduced paging and scrolling.

Overall, the fifty-link condition had the fastest search time and was most preferred, possible because this layout required only a limited amount of paging.

The layout with hundred links was by far least preferred, while the ten link layout performed the worst.

Links:

  • The article Paging vs. Scrolling Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 18, 2004

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See also: Research (129)  Search (27)  Navigation (63) 


 

270

How to handle the Page Not Found error

Every site should handle the page not found error gracefully. Two quite similar articles have the following tips:
- Do not redirect people to the home page
- Let the visitor know that something unexpected is going on at first glance
- Do not call it "Error 404"
- Don't assume it's the visitor's fault
- Offer a site map
- Offer a search form
- Fix broken links
- Redirect outdated links to the new page locations

It's also possible to make 404 pages more intelligent by:
- Checking whether the link is an outdated bookmark and redirect to the new location
- Check whether it's a broken link in the site and notify the webmaster
- Check whether the link is from a search engine and use the search phrases to suggest relevant content (e.g. by doing an internal search)
- Add spell checking to catch minor typos in the URL

Links:

  • 'Not Found' Is Not An Option: Error Handling and User Experience Open link in new window
  • The Perfect 404 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 15, 2004

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See also: Error handling (7)  Tips and guidelines (95) 


 

Browse GUUUI postings

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) 

Design elements

Navigation (63)  Web page design (40)  Search (27)  Text (24)  Forms (30)  Links (19)  Guidelines and Standards (15)  Site design (14)  Ads (9)  Design patterns (8)  Sections (8)  Shopping Carts (9)  Error handling (7)  Home pages (9)  Help (3)  E-mails (3)  Sitemaps (2)  Personalization (1)  Print-friendly (1)  Landing pages (5) 

General aspects

E-commerce (27)  Persuasive design (21)  Visual design (19)  Information architecture (15)  Accessibility (13)  Search engines (7)  Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6)  Emotional design (10)  Simplicity vs. capability (7)  Web applications (6)  Intranets (3) 

Technology

Flash (6)  Download time (5)  Javascript (3)  URLs (3)  Browsers (3)  Web standards (2) 

Humour

Bad designs (20)  Cartoons (14)  Fun music and videos (13)  Funny tools and games (12)  Misc humor (8)  Fun with Jakob Nielsen (9)  Designs with humor (3)  Fun posters (5)  Funny 404 pages (2) 

Resource types

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) 

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