GUUUI - The interaction designers coffee break Weekly postings and quartly articles about Interaction Design en-us Checkout guidelines Neil Turner outlines ten ways to improve the usability of the ordering process at e-commerce sites: 1. Identify users with their e-mail address 2. Break up the ordering process into bite size chunks 3. Tell users where they are and where they're going 4. Don't make the ordering process harder than it needs to be 5. Address common user queries 6. Highlight required fields 7. Make the ordering process flexible 8. Put users' minds at ease 9. Have users confirm their order before buying then provide confirmation 10. Send a confirmation e-mail How to represent sample data in interaction designs Dan Brown has made a poster that describes techniques for representing sample data in interaction designs. The techniques discussed are: - Using actual data - Using dummy data invented by the designer - Replacing data with variable names - Illustrating data through repeated characters (such as 9 or X) - Replacing data with Latin or Greek text The poster outlines the pros and cons of each technique, how stakeholder might respond to them, and best practices. Encyclopedia of interaction design Mads Soegaard has started an open-content, peer-reviewed encyclopedia covering terms from the disciplines of Interaction Design, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Design, Human Factors, Usability, Information Architecture, and related fields. The encyclopedia is not as comprehensive as the Usability Glossary (yet) but terms are explained in more detail. How to use eye-tracking for website redesigns This case study by Eyetools demonstrates how eye-tracking analysis can be used for guiding a redesign of a website. The before and after heat maps reveal significant improvements to users attention to content and navigation on a home page. 30% of web users have low literacy According to Jakob Nielsen 30% of web users have low literacy and the number will probably grow to 40% in the next five years. Unlike higher-literacy users, lower-literacy users don't scan text. They can't understand a text by glancing at it and must carefully read word for word. Scrolling breaks their visual concentration and they start skipping text as soon as it becomes too dense. Some recommendations: - Use text aimed at a 6th grade reading level on important landing pages - On other pages use an 8th grade reading level - Place main points at the top of the pages - Make search tolerant of misspellings - Simplify navigation - Streamline the page design - Avoid text that moves or changes A study showed that revising the text of a web site for lower-literacy users made it perform significant better for both lower- and higher-literacy users. Introduction to Use Case diagramming Norm Carr and Tim Meehan have written two nice articles on Use Case diagramming. According to the two authors, Use Cases provide a simple and fast means to decide, specify, and communicate the purpose of a project. Use cases are visual maps of all agreed-upon functionality and can be a powerful tool for controlling the scope of the project. Sitemap design - alphabetical or categorical? In this study from 1999 SURL compared search performance with three types of sitemap designs: 1. Alphabetized sitemap 2. Full categorical sitemap 3. Restricted categorical sitemap, where the links of only one category is visible at the time Results: - Categorical sitemaps had significantly higher numbers of successful searches - Users were significantly more satisfied with the categorical sitemaps - The full categorical sitemap was the most preferred The participants found that it was difficult to find information in alphabetized sitemaps because they had to guess how the links are worded. They also said that the full sitemap design was preferred to the restricted because it was easier to compare information between the categories. Eye-tracking study of e-commerce sites Eyetools Inc and MarketingSherpa have published the report "The Landing Page Handbook". The report describes the results of an eye-tracking study of typical e-commerce sites and has design guidelines for improving web page layout. Some highlights from the report: - The upper-left corner is always seen - Most web pages are scanned, not read - Any text that is underlined or blue get high readership and many people will read only the emphasized text before deciding to read on - Material underneath images is viewed quite often - People experience such a strong pull to look at images that they can trump left-to-right reading - Navigational links or bottoms usually distract visitors from the main purpose of the page Personas and decision-making scenarios To Shannon Ford, personas are employed to better understand what users want to accomplish and to develop design solutions that help meet the goals and needs of the group they portray. They help avoid the common practice of trying to design for all users. Personas have their foundation in real people, but are never based on any on individual. They are created to represent a set of characteristics found across many individuals, and are derived from qualitative research with actual users. The best personas will also go the extra step to describe key behaviors such as a decision making process, an information browsing approach, or a shopping mode - the drivers that affect how people approach a given solution. In her article you'll find a few samples of home improvement customers and their decision-making process. Browse vs. search This paper describes an interesting study of e-commerce sites that was set up to determine factors involved in the decision to use search or browse menus to find products. According to the authors Michael A. Katz and Michael D. Byrne, the decision of a user to search or browse a site is affected by multiple factors including: - The site information architecture in terms of labeling and menu structure - The user's inclination to search - The prominence of search and browse areas They found that: - Given broad, high-scent menus, participants searched less than 10% of the time, but they searched almost 40% of the time when faced with narrow, low-scent menus - Participants showed a higher success rate when using the menus to find products as opposed to search - Searching for products wasn't faster or more accurate than browsing