When it comes to developing web sites – particularly content and features, I’ve often wondered about the usefulness of focus groups and whether they really provide you with information on which you can make a well-grounded design decision. Read More
UXMatters has a very comprehensive introduction to eye tracking this month – “Introduction to Eyetracking: Seeing Through Your Users’ Eyes”:http://www.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000040.php. To quote the author:
bq. Eyetracking offers unique benefits and provides a practical alternative to conventional discount usability testing.
This is the first in a series of articles which will use eye tracking to evaluate user interfaces, both on the web and on the desktop. If you’re interested in usability, these will be well worth following, I’m sure.
The December UI Design Letter from Human Factors International has a great recap of “usability research findings”:http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/dec05.asp#kath from the past few years.
I recently ran one of our regular usability sessions for our “hospital web site”:http://www.seattlechildrens.org. It’s always a fascinating experience watching real users -fumble around- navigate our site and the web team always learns a lot from it.
Usability guru Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (now in its 2nd edition) is one of the best books on web usability that I’ve read. Why? Because it’s short, easy to read and covers all the essentials really well.Read More
Web site usability tests are easy to run and they don’t have to be perfect for you to learn a lot from them. The important thing is just to do them on a regular basis so that you can observe user behavior on your site.
Every time I run one I learn new things about what works and what doesn’t on our site. I also learn how I can improve the way I conduct our testing.
Here are some things I’ve learned that you might find useful:
I was pleased to read Jacob Nielsen’s “latest Alertbox article”:http://www.useit.com/alertbox/open_new_windows.html which recommends opening new windows for PDF and other non-web documents. This is something I’ve been a proponent of for a long time.
I’m always finding broken stuff on the web. Sometimes I take the time to point these problems out to the web site owner, but mostly I just don’t have the time. However, I often find these occurrences to be useful learning experiences, and at the very least they remind me that nobody’s perfect.