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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) 
 

281

Conduct usability tests regularly and constantly

According to Janice Fracer, usability testing is most effective when it's a low-stress routine activity, rather than a special event that requires a lot of attention. Successful organizations conduct usability tests on a regular, fixed schedule, integrate results quickly into the product, and spend less money.

To develop a effective culture of usability you should:
- Test regularly and constantly (once a month or more)
- Train a couple of staff members to conduct the tests
- Test with five people at a time
- Perform the tests in-house
- Keep reports crisp and to the point
- Make changes immediately
- Leave recruiting to others

Links:

  • The article The Culture of Usability Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - July 15, 2004

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


 

282

Calculating confidence intervals of usability test

Imagine a usability test where five out of five participants completed all tasks successfully. What are the chances that 50 or 1000 will have a 100% completion rate? By calculation confidence intervals, you will be able to tell that the chances lies somewhere between 95% and as low as 48%.

In his article, Jeff Sauro shows us how calculate confidence intervals of usability tests.

Links:

  • The article Restoring Confidence in Usability Results Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - July 08, 2004

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


 

283

GoLive

In web development projects, HTML based prototypes have some advantages when it comes to usability testing. In the Q3 2004 issue of GUUUI we'll take a look at the HTML editor Adobe GoLive, which has a number of features that makes it a decent prototyping tool.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - July 01, 2004

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See also: GUUUI articles (11) 


 

284

Prototyping ends the war between clients and developers

In his online book, Client vs. Developers Wars, Eric Holter explains how time commonly wasted in miscommunication during web projects can be poured into actually improving sites by incorporating prototyping into the design process. He tells the woeful tale of conflicts and negative experience, which everybody involved in web development know all too well, and shows how the power of interaction design can change the dynamics of the web design process.

The book is free for download. A must read for interaction designers.

Links:

  • The online book Client vs. Developer Wars Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 19, 2004

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See also: Online books (5)  Books (47)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

285

Institutionalization of Usability: A Step-by-Step Guide

This book by Eric Schaffer (Founder & CEO of Human Factors International) answers the question: "How do I make usability routine in my business?" ... and provides the case for corporate commitment.

Usability must be institutionalized as a sustained, routine, and necessary part of the business process.

Executives, managers, and practitioners need a mature usability engineering capability with infrastructure, standards, training, and proper staffing.

Links:

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - June 10, 2004

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See also: Books (47)  Implementing user-centred design (9) 


 

286

Readability analyser

At readability.info you can analyse the readability of text and ascertain a multitude of scores and statistic based on common readability formats. The tool can analyse web pages and Word documents.

Links:

  • The online readability analyser at readability.info Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 21, 2004

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See also: Tools (106)  Text (24) 


 

287

Web-usability is improving

According to a survey conducted in late 2003 by the Nielsen Norman Group, usability on the web is on the upswing.

Some results from the survey:
- The overall success rate of completing a site-specific task was 66 percent and 60 percent for web-wide tasks. This compares to an overall success rate of 40 percent in a similar survey conducted in 1997.
- For site-specific tasks, the success rates of the less- and more-experienced groups were 59 percent and 72 percent, respectively, while web-wide tasks were completed at a rate of 52 percent and 67 percent, respectively.
- Web users are being more precise in their choice of search terms. In 1994 the mean length of a search query was 1.3 word, in 1997 1.9 word, and in 2003 2.2 words.
- One area in need of improvement is site search. While 56 percent of the searches done using a popular search engine were successful, only 33 percent of searches using a specific site's search tool succeeded.

Links:

  • The article Web-User Satisfaction on the Upswing Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 13, 2004

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See also: Research (129)  Site design (14)  Search (27)  Navigation (63) 


 

288

Guidelines for link appearance

Jakob Nielsen's guidelines for links appearance:

- Links should be coloured and underlined, though exceptions can be made in menus
- Underlining is important for users with low vision and essential for colour-blind users, if you use red or green link colours
- Shades of blue provide the strongest signal for links, but other colours work almost as well!
- Use vivid and bright colours for unvisited links and "washed out" colours for visited links
- Colours for unvisited and visited links should be variants or shades of the same colour
- Use small fonts for nothing but non-important links, such as copyright info
- And, hey, don't underline text that's not a link and don't render text in link colours

Nielsen also dislikes visual effects, when the cursor hovers over a link, but I can't see how this could cause any usability problems.

Links:

  • The article Guidelines for Visualizing Links Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 10, 2004

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Links (19) 


 

289

Choosing form elements

Sarah Miller and Caroline Jarrett present a four-step process for choosing form elements. Here are some of their guidelines:

- Avoid using drop-downs for navigation
- If it is more natural for the user to type the answer rather than select it, use type-in boxes
- If the answers are easily mis-typed, use radio buttons, check boxes, or drop-downs
- If the user needs to review the options to understand the question, don

Links:

Henrik Olsen - May 09, 2004

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


 

290

Web writing that works

Jonathan and Lisa Price, authors of the book Hot Text, have set up a website with loads of tips on how to write for the web. Among the good stuff are their guidelines, their advice on how to write within common genres (such as FAQ's, step-by-step procedures, and customer assistance), and an evaluation tool to measure the quality of your own writing. You'll also find lots of sample chapters from their book spread around the site.

Links:

  • The site Web Writing That Works! Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 26, 2004

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Text (24) 


 

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