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.
This week I attended the 2005 UIE Roadshow, which was all about getting to know your users better. Day one was about discovering user needs through field research, and day two covered the use of personas to guide design. I didn’t attend day three, which centered on usability testing.
Both days were intensive, very practical workshops run by a single presenter (or duo in the first case).
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.
I love top 10 lists. Not necessarily because I agree with every point in them, but because they make for easy reading and for very bookmarkable resources. Here’s another one worth adding to your favorites. Read More