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The Ultimate Usability Resource Roundup: 60 Great Posts

Posted by Jacob Creech on September 13th, 2011

As you may or may not have noticed, we are quite prolific Twitter users here at IntuitionHQ. We love to share everything and anything related to usability and user experience, and judging from our 5000+ Twitter followers (and 700+ on our Facebook page), you’ve enjoyed reading it as well.

Thanks to our favorite Twitter tool, Buffer, we can even view analytics of all of our Tweets, and from that we’ve found our top 60 posts from the past few months.

All of these have been retweeted and clicked many times – with the most popular post garnering more than 1000 clicks thanks to a couple of (well, 30+) great retweets. We’ve also added a summary of the most popular sites at the end of the post which anyone with an interest in usability and user experience should really keep an eye on.

These post are in no particular order, but all are worth a look. Without further ado:

60 Great posts on Usability and UX

  1. The $300 Million Button
  2. A personal favorite as it shows the value of user testing

  3. How To Quantify The User Experience
  4. An interesting post because it looks at something many people think of as unquantifiable

  5. Usability Testing: What You need to Know?
  6. A great discussion of the key information you need to know in order to run successful usability tests

  7. Why Users Fill Out Forms Faster with Top Aligned Labels
  8. A great look at logic of form field layouts
    Top aligned labels - UX Movement

  9. Why Your Form Buttons Should Never Say Submit
  10. An interesting discussion on button labels

  11. What is Usability?
  12. Want to learn about usability? You should start here

  13. Personas: Putting the Focus Back on the User
  14. For anyone interested in learning about personas and user centered design, this is a great post

  15. 10 Things to Know about Usability Problems
  16. Measuring Usability is on of my favorite sites, and this post is a great example of things to remember about usability issues

  17. Website Usability Test: Gizmodo.com
  18. Another usability case study giving you a great starting point of how to run your own website usability tests

  19. Do You Know the 5 Keys to Designing Friendly Websites?
  20. 5 handy tips for designing more user friendly websites

  21. Facebook Rolls Out Privacy-Centric Design Changes
  22. An in depth examination of privacy controls on Facebook – really interesting

  23. Why Users Click Right Call to Actions More Than Left Ones
  24. If you have a call to action you want to convert on, read this post

  25. Swiss Army Knives (and web design)
  26. The Contrast Blog is always very well done, and this post is no exception. It even motivated us to do our own blog post on choosing features for your site or service
    Swiss Army Knife - The Contrast Blog

  27. Why Do Chairs Have Four Legs? The Cornerstones of Usable Websites
  28. Hard to argue with a post title like this; nice, simple tips too

  29. Why Rounded Corners are Easier on the Eyes
  30. This answers once and for all the debate about rounded corners… Right?

  31. Hotel Booking, from Start to Finish
  32. A well done examination of the entire hotel booking process

  33. Website Usability Testing: What To Test
  34. For all those wanting to know what to test on their sites or services, this post is the place to start

  35. Online banking – do we want safety over convenience?
  36. The (information) age old question – convenience vs security

  37. Wireframes are dead, long live rapid prototyping
  38. Not a rapid prototyping fan yet? Maybe this post will convince you

  39. 7 Steps to Avoiding User Adoption Problems with Site Redesigns
  40. Something a lot of sites could learn from – how to make your users not hate your redesigns

  41. Website Usability Test case study: TED.com
  42. A neat case study on usability testing looking at the TED.com site
    TED website usability review

  43. Nobody reads your dialog boxes
  44. Apparently no one likes to read on the internet – learn more about it

  45. SEO and User Experience Work Together
  46. A good way to sell people on the benefits of a good user experience – improved SEO

  47. 7 Tips for a More Engaging Website
  48. Helpful tips on how to improve engagement on your website

  49. How Users Read on the Web – Hint: They don’t
  50. Jakob Nielsen on how users read on the internet; evidently not very much

  51. Some UX Lessons I’ve Learned From Offline Experiences
  52. I really like this post; lessons we can apply online from offline experiences

  53. 4 forgotten principles of usability testing
  54. Handy tips you should bear in mind whenever you are running usability tests

  55. Creating a Usable Contact Form
  56. Want your users to contact you? Make a contact form they can use

  57. Usability versus composability
  58. User friendly vs programmer friendly software

  59. Bing vs Google: A Usability Face-Off
  60. A neat look at Google vs Bing in terms of usability. The verdict? Closer than you might think
    Bing vs Google website usability test

  61. Only five users?
  62. Looking back at the idea of 5 users for usability testing, and the law of diminishing returns (which is different with online/remote testing tools)

  63. Things Web Designers Do That People Love
  64. Want to make people love you? Here are some simple tips

  65. 8 Ways your Landing Page Design is Sabotaging your Click-Thru Rate
  66. Unbounce are landing page experts, and this is a great look at improving landing pages

  67. Another 10 UX mistakes to avoid
  68. 10 common UX mistakes you need to watch out for

  69. An interesting look at UX design
  70. A brief insight to the dark side of UX design – who knew?

  71. Why Users Fill Out Forms Faster with Unified Text Fields
  72. How unified text fields make for a better user experience

  73. Five Low-Hanging UX Tips
  74. 5 simple UX tips anyone can work on

  75. A CRAP way to improve usability
  76. Great examples and explanation of the principles of CRAP

  77. 10 Absentee UX Features on Top e-Commerce Sites
  78. Must read post for anyone involved with e-commerce

  79. The Newspaper User Experience
  80. I really like this post on the design of News sites on the internet, and makes you reconsider why things are the way they are
    The Newspaper UX

  81. A Few Notes from Usability Testing: Video Tutorials Get Watched, Text Gets Skipped
  82. We’ve already learnt that people don’t read, but apparently people do watch videos

  83. Web Accessibility, Usability and SEO
  84. How improving your website’s accessibility can also help with SEO – interesting post

  85. Designing Web Application Interfaces from a User Experience Standpoint
  86. Great post with well illustrated examples on improving user experience on the web

  87. (More) Useful Web Usability Testing Tools
  88. A huge roundup of super-useful usability testing tools

  89. Why the password “this is fun” is 10 times more secure than “J4fS!2″
  90. I love this – complexity and security are not equal

  91. 10 Usability Nightmares You Should Be Aware Of
  92. Learn from others mistakes so you don’t make them yourself

  93. 12 Website Usability Testing Myths
  94. 12 common myths about website usability testing, and why they are wrong

  95. Love the diagram – Have you tried talking to them?
  96. Great post on the UX designer as the man in the middle
    The UX designer as the man in the middle - The Contrast Blog

  97. 7 Usability Principles to Make Your Website More Engaging
  98. The original video on website engagement – check it out

  99. The Difference & Relationship Between Usability & User Experience
  100. Curious to know more about usability and UX? This post is a great start

  101. Form Design And The Fallacy Of The Required Field
  102. Required form fields and users – a look at the interaction

  103. Usability Testing: Usability testing is HOT
  104. Awesome post on why usability testing is so important, and so addictive

  105. A/B Testing and Preference Testing for Usability
  106. A useful comparison between different types of usability tests

  107. Useful Wireframing and Prototyping Tools – Roundup
  108. If you’ve ever done or been interested in wireframing and prototyping, you’ll probably want to check this list out

  109. iPad Usability Test: iReddit
  110. A great example of testing on the iPad, in this case looking at the iReddit app

  111. Why you shouldn’t make users register before checkout
  112. Yes, just yes

  113. If Architects Had To Work Like Web Designers
  114. Dear Mr. Architect: Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms…

  115. 10 Great Reasons To Usability Test
  116. Need a reason to start usability testing? Here are 10 great ones
    Usability test so you don't fail - IntuitionHQ

  117. Do you make these 4 mistakes when carrying out a usability review?
  118. 4 common mistakes in usability reviews that you should watch out for

  119. 10 Mistakes in Icon Design
  120. A well illustrated post on icon design, and what makes them good or bad


Great sites on Usability and User Experience

From that giant collection of resources, we’ve crunched the numbers and found which sites were the most popular with our readers over the past few months. This is how those numbers broke down for the top sites:

The IntuitionHQ Blog – 9 posts. Unsurprisingly perhaps, as we often share our own links, and we also write a lot about Usability and User Experience, the IntuitionHQ Blog (RSS Feed) was the most featured site in our links. You can follow us on Twitter @IntuitionHQ

UXMovement – 5 posts. UXMovement consistently has a range of great posts which are short and to the point with really useful information. Follow them on Twitter @UXMovement

UXBooth – 4 posts. UXBooth is an old favorite of ours (and in fact, I’ve written a couple of posts there) with fantastic posts on a regular basis. Follow them on Twitter @UXBooth

Userfocus – 3 posts. Userfocus is another consistent resource for all things usability, and a knack for writing great posts. Follow them on Twitter @UserFocus

Hongkiat – 3 posts. Hongkiat features a whole range of different posts, including regular posts on usability and related tools. Follow them on Twitter @Hongkiat

The Contrast Blog – 2 posts. The Contrast Blog is a personal favorite of mine; it’s well designed and well written, and although not as prolific posters as some of the sites featured here, the posts are always worth a read. Follow @Contrast on Twitter for more.

UXfortheMasses – 2 posts. Like the Contrast blog, not super frequent posters, but always high quality, and a great reshare value. Check them out on Twitter @NeilTurnerUX

Some further recommendations

There are a whole range of other sites with frequent great posts on Usability and UX that are also worth a look, but that we haven’t tweeted as much over the past few months. We highly recommend you check out the following:

We hope you liked that roundup

Hopefully that is enough good resources to keep you going for some time. If you have other sites you’d like to see us Tweeting in the future, or other great links that we should see, please let us know in the comments below.

If you’ve got some value from this post, we’d love you to leave a comment, share this post using the buttons below, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our RSS feed.

Thanks very much for dropping by, and thanks to everyone who puts all of these great sites together and writes so many fantastic, fascinating posts. Cheers.

Looking to do some quick, easy usability testing? Why not check out IntuitionHQ? You can get started in no time, and collect thousands of results.

Want to test on mobile devices? We’ve also got a Usability Testing iPad app, and work on all mobile browsers.

Learn more and sign up at IntuitionHQ.com

 

Feature Bloat and Usability

Posted by Jacob Creech on September 5th, 2011

This week I came across a really interesting blog post on the Contrast Blog talking about Swiss Army Knives in web design. That is to say, sites trying to pack 101 different features in to one site or app.

We’ve recently been in the market for a new CRM option (still taking suggestions on that front if you’ve got one), and can safely say that a great many CRM services suffer from this issue. Many of these services have clearly gone well past that stage of core development and are now adding a range of ‘nice to have’ (often not really necessary) features.

On the flipside, many of the services we’ve been looking at haven’t met would we’d consider the core functionality of a CRM service, i.e. keeping track of and facilitating customer relationships.

What features should you add?

What makes the people the build these tools add the things that aren’t of much value before the things that are? What method should people use for prioritization?

They’ve got a great chart on the Contrast blog which is definitely worth checking out – I’ve done a quick sketch below:

Choosing features

Choosing features

The idea is that the features on the top right – the features all of the people use all of the time are the most important features to have – which makes perfect sense, but people often don’t seem to follow this logic. The further you move in either direction (either less of the people, or less of the time), the less important the feature is and the less you should consider adding it.

The same problem exists in web design; I’ve lost track of all the sites that think they should include a million and one different navigation items, a million and one different social sharing buttons, or a million and one of anything else.

Do we need this many options?

Do you need this many options?

How do we decide what features to add?

Looking at our own example, with IntuitionHQ every feature or change that we consider, we try and see where it would fit in that chart – will the features be useful for everyone? Will they add value to the service for our users?

We are always looking for seamless features that improve the user experience without actually taking much thought or effort from the user. We want features that are useful, magical and delightful.

What that means is that we may not have all the features of our competitors, but what we do, we do well. This follows on nicely from the Scrum development principles that we adhere to at IntuitionHQ – it’s better to have 80% of the features 100% complete, than 100% of the features 80% complete. It’s better to have a product that does what it does extremely well, than a product that does a whole range of things to mediocre standard.

So, what next?

If you haven’t yet, go and check out the post on the Contrast blog. We’d your experience on choosing features for your products or services. What do you focus on? Any features you think we should be working on? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

Looking for more interesting links about design and usability? Be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter @IntuitionHQ, or like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest news.

Thanks for dropping by.

Tags:
Posted in: Articles, Links, Usability
 

Satisfying The Cat and User Centered Design

Posted by Jacob Creech on June 28th, 2011

 
People often ask me how they can convince project managers, stakeholders and people who are otherwise invested in a project that spending time and money on usability and user centered design can add value to their projects. (Not that you have to spend much time or money with some of the tools that are out today)

Of course, it seems logical to me (and I imagine to most of you) that providing a better experience for your users will make them a lot happier, more likely to return and use your site or service, and much more likely to recommend your site or service to others. Makes sense, right?

The clients arguments against usable design

I often hear arguments saying that why should they pay for something that they don’t understand or can’t see the value of, although I think the value is pretty obvious. They want to see the value before it is delivered, and this can be pretty hard to quantify and convey – although in my experience showing case studies of previous work is a pretty good way to go, some people still struggle to grasp the concept.

Regardless of my beliefs of what’s obvious, we need to show these people that it’s worth investing in making a better user experience even if they can’t see how it can benefit them. Then I came across this video, and a fantastic new way to explain the value to clients. Check it out:

Satisfying The Cat:

There are a whole bunch of great quotes in this video, but this is the one that I think sums up the situation perfectly:

“…If the cat doesn’t eat the food, how long is the owner going to remain satisfied…”

Next time you have a client who is demanding X and Y from you, maybe you should send them this video, and see if they can see the as well as providing value to them, you really have to provide value (and a great experience) to their end users. Satisfy the cat, and you’ll have a very happy owner on your hands.

Final thoughts:

 
We find the simplest way to show our clients the value of user centered design is by getting them involved in our design and testing process using usability testing tools, and showing them the results of usability reviews we have run in the past.

Once they see how simple things can trip up users, and how much the could improve their return on investment by making a site, tool or app more user friendly, they start to understand the value that testing and a focus on user centered design can provide. It’s pretty hard to argue with solid metrics, and it helps to avoid design by committee as well.

Yahoo Email Test: How would you view your calendar?

Yahoo Test: View your calendar - This is not a good result; clicks everywhere and a long response time

A good example of poor usability; clicks everywhere and a long response time

How do you show your clients the value of usability and user centered design? Do you have problems showing them the value of satisfying the cat? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

We’d love to hear your tips and tricks for showing value to your clients and bringing them over to the light side. Together we can make the world a better place, one website at a time.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up with all the news in the world of usability. Thanks for dropping by!

 

What is usability?

Posted by Jacob Creech on May 31st, 2011

 
Every day we talk about website usability testing, what it can do for you, how it can smooth out the design process, and how usability is an ongoing trend that people need to learn to focus on.

All of that said though, every day I get people asking me ‘What is usability, and why should I care?‘. Today I’d like to talk about what usability is, and why it’s so important. I’d love to hear your views on it too, so please feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.

What is usability?

 
So, what is usability? There are a number of good definitions floating around, these are a couple of the ones that really hit the spot:

The state or condition of being usable; The degree to which an object, device, software application, etc. is easy to use with no specific training – Wiktionary

Usability refers to the ease with which a User Interface can be used by its intended audience to achieve defined goals. Usability incorporates many factors: design, functionality, structure, information architecture, and more – Sitepoint

Something easy to learn and easy to understand. Seems simple enough, right? But when you turn your mind to thinking of sites or products that truly meet this goal, how many can you think of? What examples come to mind?

My examples:

Mac OS X

Mac OS X

Mac OS X is well known because ‘it just works’. The simple tasks you would want to achieve are very simple to achieve. The important information is easy to find. Things that say they will work with OS X just work.

Especially if you live inside the Apple ecosystem, everything behaves in a simple and logical way. No blue screens of death, no clippy, no ugly pop up warning bubbles. It just works.


Retail Me Not - save money with coupon codes

Retail Me Not - coupon codes made easy

Retail Me Not is a great website to help you save money on the internet. If you often come to sites that ask if you have a coupon code, then this site will save you money. They have coupon codes for tons of different sites, and the site is designed to make the process of using the coupon codes as simple as possible.

When you find a code you want to use (with the simple, straight forward search function), just click on it and it will be copied to your clipboard. If it’s a referral link it will open up in your browser for you. You can see which codes are working at a glance, and share your own experience with the community. A great way to save money.


Kiwibank is a bit different from regular banking sites. The navigation structure is surprisingly clear and easy to use, and for what should be a content heavy site, none of the pages slap you in the face with too much content.

The important things are easy to find and easy to understand, and you are never more than a couple of layers from the content you are looking for.

They also developed their site without flash (which seems to appear awfully often on banking sites) so it’s extremely accessible as well.


Some more examples:

I’ve actually wrote a post last year over at 1stWebDesigner talking about 9 great examples of well designed, usable sites. Check out the list and see what you think.

Another great site that shows examples of UIs that have had a bit more thought than most is Little Big Details. They have a whole range of examples showing how little details make a big difference to the user experience. Well worth a look.

Why is usability so important?

  1. It gives users a better experience: The more your users enjoy your site, the more likely they are to return, the more likely they are to recommend it to others, and the better your site or product will do in the long run.
  2. It helps you stand out from the competition: Why did the iPod sell so well? It was simple, did what users needed it to do, and not a lot more. It was an extremely usable product in a market where people used to think cramming devices with a million and one different features that barely worked at all was the way to succeed.
  3. It’s what most people want: Well there are a few people who actually like things to be complex and customise things in a million different ways, the mass market wants things that are simple, straight forward and just work.
  4. It means people can spend more time doing, and less time learning: The more usable the interface, the more time people can spend enjoying themselves, making purchases, interacting with your site and achieving goals that are important to you.
  5. You spend less time, money and effort on support: If your site or product is simple and straightforward to use it will require far less support, saving you time, money and energy.

Of course, there is more to usability than this, but these are some really fundamental points about why usability is so important. Regardless of what industry you are in, regardless of the sites or products that you build, good usability will make a big difference.

Your turn

We want your opinion

We want your opinion

So, you’ve seen some examples of what usability is to me and why I think it’s important, and now I’d like to see what usability is to you.

What are your examples of great sites? What products come to mind for you? Or are there any sites or products you can think of that are fail on the usability front?

We’d love to do a usability review of some outstanding sites so people know what is working, and why it works so well, as well as sites that could use some improvement to improve their usability. Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

Interested in learning more about usability and user experience? Curious to see one of our upcoming usability reviews? Subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with all the latest news.

And don’t forget to share your comments on sites you love and hate in the comments below. Thanks for dropping by!

 

The Dangers of Design By User and Other Interesting Tweets

Posted by Jacob Creech on March 11th, 2011

A range of interesting Tweets this week, including the Dangers of Design By User which has stirred up a lot of debate. The avalanche of mobile related tweets continues, and there are some really interesting tweets for both designers and developers. Mobile usability is definitely one big part of this, and something we have a particular interest in.

There is also a range of other interesting topics ranging from marketing for startups to the search for the perfect CAPTCHA. Read on to find out more, starting with a quick look at the state of Wikipedia:

Awesome video/visualisation: The State of Wikipedia http://ow.ly/49Bzd #wiki #online #design

Neat video produced for the anniversary of Wikipedia – worth a look for all the Wiki fans out there.

The Dangers of Design by User: http://ow.ly/49HT3 #usability #UX #design #webdesign

Interesting post on a topic near and dear to many a designers heart. Pity the site is so… purple, but still a good read.

Use (or looking to use) personas as part of your process? Check out this persona template: http://ow.ly/49Ccb #usability #UX #UCD #personas

Really nifty little template to speed up the process of making personas, and save you some thinking too.

Silly CAPTCHA - unreadable
Um, what?

Really interesting post – In Search Of The Perfect CAPTCHA: http://ow.ly/48UIW #usability #UX #spam #CAPTCHA

Really insightful look at CAPTCHAs on Smashing Mag. The comments are worth a read too – some really interesting ideas there.

The perils of persuasion and user experience: http://ow.ly/48Ucl #UCD #UX #usability #usertesting

An interesting look into the world of user experience design.

Top 6 Mistakes to Avoid in Mobile Usability ==> http://bit.ly/dFP6ZO via @inphoenity #usability #UX #mobile

Great advice for anyone interested in mobile, and making mobile apps/sites that don’t suck.

Good weekend reading – Marketing for startups in 8 simple steps: http://ow.ly/47yRf #marketing #startup

Good advice for anyone really, from The VC himself…

Best Practices for Mobile App Sites: http://ow.ly/47z4Y #mobile #apps #bestpractice #usability #UX

Building a site for your mobile app? Here are some best practices to consider.

Neat concept » Post-Touchscreen Interface – The Looking Glass: http://ow.ly/48UdK #usability #UX #touchscreen #design #mobile

And a look into the future to finish off with – a concept for the future of the touchscreen.

That’s all for this week, be sure to let us know in the comments if there are any great sites/tweets we’ve missed.

Have a great weekend, happy testing everyone.

 

How to avoid creative block and other interesting tweets

Posted by Jacob Creech on February 21st, 2011

A whole range of interesting tweets in the twittersphere this week (hmm, doesn’t really sound like a word) ranging from how to avoid creative block, to time management for freelancers (and everyone else if they feel inclined) and everything in between. Read on for some interesting tips and tricks to make your design/development life a little bit easier.

How to get around a creative block: http://ow.ly/3YF92 #writing #web #webdesign #metalblock

A few quick tips for whenever you get stuck in a creative funk.

When & Where Are People Using Mobile Devices? http://ow.ly/3VDxF #mobile #UX

A neat dissection of mobile data from the always fascinating LukeW on how people use mobile compared to computers. Interesting to see the different behaviours.

Content Strategy and UX: A Modern Love Story http://bit.ly/huAXQN #UX #Usability #UCD via @ponscreative

A neat look at content strategy, and what it can do for you.

Providing great user experience with feedback on @37signals http://ow.ly/3WpZn #usability #UX #UCD #feedback

An insightful view from 37signals on how providing feedback can lead to a much better user experience.

9 Ways to Simplify ‘Sign In’ http://ow.ly/3X3Eh #usability #UX #UCD via @niallkennedy

9 simple tips on making life a little better for your users. Check it out.

Hear hear: Why you should fight Apple’s Subscription Extortion http://ow.ly/3YFyK #apple #ios #mobile

A well written piece from the perspective of a content producer on why Apples subscription system is going to kill good content (or promote html 5 web apps).

12 Useful Techniques For Good User Interface Design: http://ow.ly/3Wpxn #usability #UI #UX #Webdesign #UCD

An oldie but a goodie from Smashing Magazine with some useful tips on how to make a better interface. Worth a read.

How to Allocate Time Effectively if You are a Freelancer (and even if you’re not) http://ow.ly/3YFhU #time #procrastination #GTD

Probably should have started with this tweet – procrastinators have probably give up now. Still, some useful tips if you’ve made it this far.

Well, that’s all for this week. Be sure to let us know if you’ve got something interesting you’d like to share, and we’ll put it in next weeks list. Happy testing everyone.

 

What is website usability and other interesting tweets

Posted by Jacob Creech on February 14th, 2011

The web is full of experts on all sorts of topics (and website usability is no exception), and often it’s hard to discern who really knows what they are talking about, and who just read a book on the topic and fancies themselves an expert. Of course, I don’t want to judge too harshly, because the way I see it we are all learning the whole time, but some times I come across sites that really make me wonder just what people are thinking and how expert they could possibly be.

That said most of the sites I stumble across are really very well done, and I am constantly impressed with both the quality and quantity of information available on the internet, especially considering how much of this information you can get for free, or in exchange for your email address.

Today we have a large selection of great information, but I’m going to start with a site I was sent that while espousing the virtues of website usability manages to do quite the oposite:

What is website usability? Not this: http://imgur.com/BGas3 (image) #website #usability #UX #webdesign #fail

All I can say about this site is really? Really?

Interesting Post: Designing a Reason to Come Back: http://ow.ly/3UeVr #webdesign #UX #UCD

Anyone with kids will get this immediately – basically describes how using different events can help motivate people to return to your site (or game)

Website Usability Lessons from Chuck Norris http://ow.ly/3UaG4 #usability #UX #webdesign

Funny, well written post. Who doesn’t love Chuck Norris?

Should Developers also be UX Professionals and Graphics Designers? http://ow.ly/3S0Fn #UX #webdesign #usability

Thoughts? I’m sure I know a few people who can design and develop, but this post does make an interesting point

Interesting Look at User Personas: The Cheapest Way To Make More Money With Your Site http://ow.ly/3SKFO #Usability #UX

User personas are a useful tool to help examine your site, and make sure it works for who you’d like it to work for – this post might help motivate you towards that end

@TheOatmeal hits the nail on the head again: What I want from a restaurant website. http://bit.ly/gD5WBF #Usability #UX via @phostercreative

And a funny one to finish off with. The Oatmeal is a great comic, and once again this post sums up poor design very succinctly. Check it out

That’s all for this week, if you’ve got any great post, resources or information you’d like to share, let us know and we’ll be sure to add it next time round.

Happy testing everyone.

 

Website usability testing and the design process

Posted by Jacob Creech on February 10th, 2011

I often get questions from people who are interested in the idea of website usability testing, but unsure of how they can involve testing in their design process. Based on our own experience, I can safely say that whatever stage you are in the process, even if your site has been live for years, it’s never a bad time to start website usability testing.

When you are first thinking of your designs and come up with sketches of your ideas, you can upload them to IntuitionHQ and see how your idea is going to work out. You can put questions as part of your tests, and coming soon we’re even adding the ability to get comments from your users at the end of your tests.

A Simple WireframeFrom Flickr user Rob Enslin

If you’ve got wireframes or prototypes you can test those as well. You can keep tweaking and optimising your designs to ensure it’s as usable as can be.

Even with the finished design you can keep testing to ensure everything is working as you and your users expect. You can keep making small changes, or just getting proof that is working well.

If you’d like to read more on this topic I’ve written a more in depth post at Spyre Studios so head on over and check it out. Any questions let us know in the comments.

The key thing to take away from this all is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the process, you can still get started with testing your sites. Testing will add value for you, and at the very least provide confirmation that your site is working well. If there are any problems or issues, it will help you to realise and rectify these. Whatever the result, it’s still good information for you to know and understand.

Remember, testing with IntuitionHQ costs just $9 a test, so why not get started testing your own sites today? Happy testing everyone.

 

The benefits of wireframing and other interesting tweets

Posted by Jacob Creech on February 4th, 2011

There have been a number of interesting discussions going on in our twitter feed (@intuitionHQ) this week. We’ve found a lot of interesting resources, and now we are happy to share them with you – there are post ranging from the benefits of wireframing to the ROI of user experience. Check them out below.:

war of the roses

The Benefits of Wireframing a Design http://ow.ly/3OuMC #wireframes #webdesign

Great post over at sixrevisions.com (where if you’ll remember my article “The Key to Successful Collaboration” was published last year) on wireframing, what it is, how it adds value for you and helps improve your design process. Well worth a look.

7 Business benefits of usability testing #UX #UCD http://fb.me/U97xSneM

Nice to see this kind of post – just the same kind of information that I’m always trying to get out there, and great arguments for anyone who is unsure if they should or shouldn’t be usability testing. The short answer: Do it.

Great reading: 9 Ways to Simplify ‘Sign-Up’ http://ow.ly/3OuyX #usability #UX #signup via @UXFeeds

Good reading for anyone who has a sign up form on their website. Follow these very simple tips and increase the experience of your users hugely. Probably get yourself a few more signups too. Win-win.  

Usability on Quora

How can I learn to be a good product designer? http://b.qr.ae/fpkxTW #ux #UCD #design

A range of interesting answers to this question on Quora, with people ranging from a Facebook designer to average Joe Blogs. All good stuff though.

Getting Real: Copywriting is Interface Design: http://ow.ly/3MTiH #usability #readability #UX #UCD

As always, a very interesting post from the folks at 37signals. Everyone should realise just how important copywriting is to a good interface, and this post will emphasize all those key points for you.

Via the (relatively recent) archive – Saving time with usability testing: http://ow.ly/3MSSo #usability #UX #webdesign

A recent post we wrote on saving time with usability testing (hence the title…). If you haven’t checked it out, give it a quick look. There is some useful advice in there.

Neat animation – The ROI of User Experience: http://ow.ly/3MSwb #Usability #design #UCD

And a neat video to finish off with. This post from HFI does help explain the value of a good user experience. Be sure to send it on to anyone you know who might doubt the value. And then get started with a quick test on IntuitionHQ.

That’s all for this week. Hopefully a few interesting resources there to keep you going. Feel free to leave your thoughts on this selection below and be sure to let us know if you have any other interesting resources or articles you’d like to add.

Happy testing everyone.

 

Usability Tweets of the Week

Posted by Jacob Creech on January 28th, 2011

Lots of interesting information floating around this week, a couple of neat videos, and even a very accurate quote to keep you going for the next week. If you’ve got any other tweets, links or information you’d like to see on this list, be sure to let us know.

And without further ado, our tweets of the week:

A great video on UX design and what it is. Very pretty: http://vimeo.com/19131028 #ux #usability #webdesign #UI

Some really good pointers for improving readability on your website: http://bit.ly/gfYY0Q #usability via @palleman

Get started with usability testing in 7 simple steps: http://ow.ly/3LzXL #usability #UX #usertesting #howto

Ok, this is a post I wrote, but I think it’s well and truly worth a read. Pick up some quick tips so you can get yourself started on a path to a more usable future.

Fixing the AVG interface in just one minute: http://youtu.be/JEHh3grnj0Y #UX #UXTips

The password reset experience http://wfapm.com/e31XpQ #ux #usability #UXTips via @jayphilips

Interesting post on how you can greatly improve the password reset user experience. Check it out if you’re interested in UX.

Great examples: Where have you been all my life Little Big Details? http://j.mp/fDklDx #ux #usability #design #details via @nickdenardis

Fantastic site which points out all the sites that use little details to make sites great. I’ve bookmarked it, and you should too.

Great post: Elevator Logic Applied To Web and Mobile Design http://bit.ly/gbHuOy #UX #Usability #UCD via @ponscreative

Some useful information you could learn from here. I’m not always convinced any logic is applied to some design – hopefully people can learn from this.

And Lastly, our quote of the week:

Quote of the day: “To err is human, but they’ll blame you.” #Usability #FML #UX via @zomgitsmeredith

Have a great weekend everyone, and be sure to check back next time round for some more great tweets on usability.

Any other links, tweets or information you’d like to see here? Send us a tweet @IntuitionHQ and we’ll be sure to add them next time round