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1.
#37049

The $300 Million Button

It's hard to imagine a form that could be simpler: two fields, two buttons, and one link. Yet, it turns out this form was preventing customers from purchasing products from a major e-commerce site, to the tune of $300,000,000 a year. What was even worse: the designers of the site had no clue there was even a problem.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2009). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Forms

2.
#33458

About Us Information on Websites

We found a 9% improvement in the usability of About Us information on websites over the past 5 years. But companies and organizations still can't explain what they do in one paragraph.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing

3.
#20624

"About Us" -- Presenting Information About an Organization on Its Website

Study participants searched websites for background information ranging from company history to management biographies and contact details. Their success rate was 70%, leaving much room for usability improvements in the 'About Us' designs.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2003). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing

4.
#33131

Accessible Forms

This document is concerned with what the user of a Website form "sees" and interacts with. It outlines how you can create forms for the Web that are more accessible and describes the appropriate use of.

Hudson, William. Webusability (2004). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Forms

5.
#24578

Afraid So: Horrible Web Monstrosities

Here they come. Nightmare web sites that, from a usability perspective, are horrid monsters. When you're tired and in a hurry, you want a web site to quickly and easily provide relevant content to you, so you can solve a problem or perform some task. Discover common hideous impediments to web usability. WARNING: Not for the faint hearted!

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Web Design>Usability>User Centered Design

6.
#20179

Alertbox #200

Jakob Nielsen has published 200 Alertbox columns on the Web since 1995; in addition to promoting usability, the column's readership statistics validate the practice of archiving content.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2003). Articles>Usability>Web Design

7.
#35397

(Almost) Never Add a Reset Button to a Form

Next time you consider adding a reset button to a form, think it through very carefully first. Does the user really benefit from being able to reset the form? Is being able to reset the form to its initial state so valuable that it is worth the risk of the user losing the data they have entered? Probably not.

456 Berea Street (2009). Articles>Web Design>Forms>Usability

8.
#37627

Alphabetical Sorting Must (Mostly) Die

Ordinal sequences, logical structuring, time lines, or prioritization by importance or frequency are usually better than A–Z listings for presenting options to users.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2010). Articles>Information Design>Web Design>Usability

9.
#24524

Altruistic vs. Narcissistic Web Sites

Users are repulsed by web sites that are narcissistic, egotistic, corporate-speak, hard to understand, and difficult to use. Users are attracted to and enjoy web sites that are altruistic, user-prioritized, user-focused, easy to understand, easy to use, and full of fresh, relevant content.

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design>Usability

10.
#36193

Are Your Online Forms User-Friendly?

A poorly designed form always reduces your chances for getting a sale or gaining a qualified lead. This article discusses the merits of a good form and the pitfalls of bad forms. It offers advice and tips on how to increase your success rates by making your forms more user friendly.

Raspberry Frog (2007). Articles>Web Design>Usability

11.
#14191

The Art of Being Human

Site visitors crave the sense that someone is there, within and behind your Web pages, your emails and newsletters. Dealing with the bare technology of online interactions is a cold experience for many, or even most of us. It makes us feel anxious. Technology isn't warm. It has no heart. It neither understands us, nor cares for us. For many Web sites, whether for businesses or organizations, we simply plug in and play the bare technology - the super-duper means of information delivery. All the site visitor sees and feels is the design, the interface, the links and the clicks. The experience is about as warm and human as banking with an ATM machine.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2002). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design>Usability

12.
#19368

As Simple As Possible

The virtues of simplicity are well-known among experienced systems designers. And many of the things that are 'right' with simpler software systems are also applicable to Web pages and site designs.

Sullivan, Terry. All Things Web (1996). Articles>Usability>Web Design

13.
#33230

As the Page Scrolls

Users say they don’t like to scroll. As a result, many designers try to keep their web pages short. But one of the most significant findings of our research on web-site usability is that users are perfectly willing to scroll. However, they’ll only do it if the page gives them strong clues that scrolling will help them find what they’re looking for.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (1998). Articles>Web Design>Usability

14.
#37306

Asking Your Users, Part 1

We tech writers need to know what our readers need. One of the simplest ways to find out is to just ask the users. However, the most obvious questions aren’t necessarily the best ones. Today, I look at some questions that don’t work as well as you might think.

Weber, Kai. Kai's Tech Writing Blog (2010). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Interviewing

15.
#37307

Asking Your Users, Part 2

To get the most out of a user survey, make sure your users can give you answers which are measurable and actionable. This is, in my experience, the key to a good user survey.

Weber, Kai. Kai's Tech Writing Blog (2010). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Surveys

16.
#33455

Aspects of Design Quality

Usability scores for 51 websites show some correlation between navigation, content, and feature quality, but no connections to other usability areas.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Case Studies

17.
#14994

Assessing Web Site Usability from Server Log Files   (PDF)

White paper on how to glean usability data from web server log files and how to use that data.

Tec-Ed, Inc. (1999). Articles>Web Design>Usability

18.
#30873

Avi Parush

Few usability professionals are as well-rounded as Avi Parush. Avi has worked in industry and academia, testing and design, the Old World and the New, with web applications and airplane cockpits, in operating rooms and on the bridges of ships.

Anderson, Clifford. Usability Professionals Association (2008). Articles>Interviews>Web Design>Usability

19.
#21012

Avoiding Bias from the Survivor Effect

Only a few of the survey sites we analyzed in 2000 are still around. We can safely assume that the surviving sites are not a random sample of the original group, but rather that significant differences exist between the sites that made it and those that died. Survival might be due partly to luck, but it is mainly a result of good management and an understanding of Internet fundamentals. Thus, the surviving sites are likely to be disproportionately clued-in about what it takes to run an online business.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2002). Articles>Usability>Methods>Web Design

20.
#34463

Back To Basics: How Poor Usability Effects Accessibility

In recent user testing with a range of participants including Visually Impaired (VIP) and Blind users we found that the majority of problems were common across all groups. However the effect of poor usability is more severe for users with visual disabilities. Surprisingly all of the issues are very familiar and are easy to fix so we thought we’d revisit some of the basics of accessible web design.

Frontend Infocentre (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability

21.
#36414

A Basic Usability Test on Ten Phones

B. is an old friend of mine who owns an old Nokia. And when I say old, I mean really old. It was released somewhere in 2000 or so (the Nokia, not the friendship). It’s not a smartphone, to put it mildly, and B. does not use the mobile Web.

Quirks Mode (2010). Articles>Web Design>Mobile>Usability

22.
#37581

The Beauty of Simplicity

Marissa Mayer, who keeps Google's home page pure, understands that less is more. Other tech companies are starting to get it, too. Here's why making things simple is the new competitive advantage.

Tischler, Linda. Fast Company (2005). Articles>Usability>Web Design>Minimalism

23.
#35096

Best Practices for Designing Faceted Search Filters

Recently, Office Depot redesigned their search user interface, adding attribute-based filtering and creating a more dynamic, interactive user experience. Unfortunately, Office Depot’s interaction design misses some key points, making their new search user interface less usable and, therefore, less effective. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Office Depot site presents us with an excellent case study for demonstrating some of the important best practices for designing filters for faceted search results.

Nudelman, Greg. UXmatters (2009). Articles>Web Design>Search>Usability

24.
#37088

Better JavaScript Minification

Although both CSS and JavaScript may be included within an HTML page, best practices encourage storing CSS and JavaScript in external files that can be downloaded and cached separately. Performance research asks: How can these external resources be downloaded and applied most efficiently? The first approach is to limit the number of external requests since the overhead of each HTTP request is high. The second approach? Make your code as small as possible.

Zakas, Nicholas C. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Web Design>Usability>JavaScript

25.
#29941

Blah-Blah Text: Keep, Cut, or Kill?

Introductory text on Web pages is usually too long, so users skip it. But short intros can increase usability by explaining the remaining content's purpose.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2007). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Usability

 
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