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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
  • Intranet Usability: The Trillion-Dollar Question

Ron Zeno - November 11, 2002

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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

Henrik Olsen - November 07, 2002

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See also: Tools (49)  Web log analysis (7) 



Selling user centered design

Selling an initial user centered design process to customers can be a challenge. Here are two brochures from IBM, showing how it can be done. They both focus on business objectives and explain the purpose and outcome of the individual steps in the design workflow.

Some punch lines from the brochures:
"Want to make the most of the e-business opportunity? Easy does it."

"…an unhappy customer is somebody else's customer."

"The marketplace practices natural selection. People will, naturally, select the easiest way to do something…"

"There's nothing more expensive than a poorly received solution."


  • The brochure Mastering the obvious
  • The brochure ...but can your users use it?

Henrik Olsen - September 20, 2002

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Examples and statistics on return of investment in usability

If you are in need of arguments for investing in usability, this article from Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. will provide you with lots of cases to use for predicting likely quantifiable benefits and ROI. The article is a collection of examples and statistics from the literature on how usability has increased revenue, reduced development costs and improved user effectiveness.


Henrik Olsen - August 31, 2002

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ROI on user-centered design

Few companies set goals for improving site experience, and haphazard design and development processes keeps them from discovering and correcting the causes of user experience problems.

According to a report form Forrester Research, firms can boost revenue, lower support costs, reduce development waste and affect customer satisfaction by setting specific goals for improving user experience, modeling costs, and estimate benefits.

The report gives some examples on how to measure ROI on design investments and ways to prioritize fixes.


Henrik Olsen - August 26, 2002

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Guerrilla HCI

Discount usability engineering is one of Jakob Nielsen's hobbyhorses and indeed his most valuable contributions to web and software design. In his contribution to the book Cost-Justifying Usability Nielsen states that software developers rarely use the recommended usability engineering methods, because they are seen as too costly, too time consuming, and all in all intimidating in their complexity.

In the paper Nielsen shows how to conduct discount usability and give some examples of how to estimate usability ROI.


  • The paper Guerrilla HCI: Using Discount Usability Engineering to Penetrate the Intimidation Barrier
  • The book Cost-Justifying Usability at

Henrik Olsen - May 23, 2002

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See also: Usability testing (28) 



Cost-benefit of usability

According to an article from WebWord all available research proves that the return on investment in usability is high for all stakeholders.

Usability has the benefits of:
- Reducing time to market
- Reducing testing and quality assurance costs
- Reducing sales costs
- Reducing production costs
- Improving customers' return on investment

Some key findings:
- Usability has demonstrated reductions in the product development cycle by over 33-50%
- 63% of all software projects overrun their budgetary estimates, with the top 4 reasons all related to unforeseen usability problems
- 80% of maintenance is due to unmet or unforeseen user requirements


  • The article A Business Case for Usability

Henrik Olsen - May 20, 2002

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Market Maturity

Users' expectations of a product depend on the maturity of its market. In the article "Market Maturity" the usability research company User Interface Engineering (UIE) explains how software products go through four stages of maturity. This product evolution is comparable to the life cycle of many products and is similar to the development we have seen on the Internet until now.


  • The article Market Maturity

Henrik Olsen - May 16, 2002

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