Usability Testing

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Usability testing is a technique used to evaluate a product by testing it on users. The future of web design is not just pretty design but web usability, GUI design...

Recommended Reading

  • Steve Krug - Don't Make Me Think!
  • Jeff Johnson's "GUI Bloopers"
  • "Designing Web Usability" by Nielsen
  • "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web" by Rosenfeld and Morville
  • "Designing Large Scale Web Sites" by Sano, and "Web Navigation" by Jennifer Fleming.

Don't Make Me think - A Summary

Don't Make Me Think!

The number one usability rule, most often expresed by users. Web pages should be self-evident, obvious, and self-explanatory. Buttons should have short text and look clickable. The default search for your site should be simple.

Design for scanning not reading

By observing users Krug found that people glance, scan some text, and click on the first reasonable option (called "satisficing"). People scan Web pages, they don't read them. We don't make optimal choices, we satisfice. Here are some things you can do to make sure users understand as much of your site as possible:

  • Create a clear visual hierarchy to show relative importance of content (H1/H2 etc.)
  • Take advantage of conventions
  • Break pages up into clearly defined areas
  • Make it obvious what's clickable
  • Minimize noise

Users like mindless choices

Make each click an unambiguous orthogonal alternative.

Omit needless words

Get rid of half of the words on each page, then get rid of half of what's left. This is especially important on home pages and gateway pages.

Navigation: Use street signs and breadcrumbs

Factoid: The back button accounts for 30 to 40 percent of all Web clicks. Persistent navigation appears on every page of the site and should include the following five elements:

  • Site ID
  • A way home
  • Search
  • Sections
  • Utilities

Your navigation should answer these questions:

  • What site is this?
  • What page am I on?
  • What are the major sections of this site?
  • What are my options at this level?
  • Where am my in the scheme of things?
  • How can I search?

Your home page should convey the big picture

What is the site about? Use a good short tag line and welcome blurb. Rotate site promotions. Remove everything nonessential.

Most Web design usability arguments are waste of time

DIY Usability testing