Web personalization is much over-rated and mainly used as a poor excuse for not designing a navigable website. The real way to get individualized interaction between a user and a website is to present the user with a variety of options and let the user choose what is of interest to that individual at that specific time. If the information space is designed well, then this choice is easy, and the user achieves optimal information through the use of natural intelligence rather than artificial intelligence. In other words, I am the one entity on the world to know exactly what I need right now. Thus, I can tailor the information I see and the information I skip so that it suits my needs perfectly.
The design of commercial products that are intended to serve millions of people has been a challenge for collaborative approaches. The creation and use of fictional users, concrete representations commonly referred to as 'personas', is a relatively new interaction design technique. It is not without problems and can be used inappropriately, but based on experience and analysis it has extraordinary potential. Not only can it be a powerful tool for true participation in design, it also forces designers to consider social and political aspects of design that otherwise often go unexamined.
We hear all the time from designers that they're faced with the huge challenge of designing products and web sites for a large number of different users. Many designers tackle this problem by making the functionality of the web site or product as extensive as possible. To do this, they outline all of the goals of each user, identify any commonalities between these goals, and add all of the functionality needed to satisfy these common goals.
Changing people's attitudes and behaviors for the good could help us to make this world a better place. And turning this world into a better one is one of the key drivers for most of the usability people I know. Most of them don't advocate usability for the money; they want to help make things and consequently life easier.
Users need feedback from websites. Buttons, links, and other interactive elements should respond to elementary user input. All web designers probably try to account for user feedback, especially in controls like buttons and links, but a lot of websites have strange ways of letting the user know what he can or can't do. There are some de facto standards from the software visual interface world that apply to web design, as well as a few guidelines that make pliant response more effective.
The fault lies with the separation of powers. There are four legs to product development. Four equal legs are required for good product design, all sitting on the foundation of the business case.
You cannot build a useful product or Web site without usability testing. If you have never watched someone use your designs in a usability lab, you are taking shots in the dark. You can't possibly know whether your hard work is making things better or worse. The features you are focusing on may be things that no one really needs, or could never figure out. Without regular sessions in the usability lab during the development cycle, projects are guaranteed to head in directions that do not benefit the users of the product. As a developer, you should have deep interest as to whether your hard work is making the product better. It's in your interest to make sure your work gets examined in the labs, so that you can make adjustments and ensure that you are making the best possible product for your users.
There's a large body of theory available to guide Web and intranet design, but concentrating too much on theory sometimes leads designers to overlook basic things they can do to improve the usability of sites. This article presents, in no particular order, seven simple ways to make your Web site or intranet more usable.
Writers of performance- and response-oriented documents, such as instructions, procedures, proposals, and grant applications, need to consider the interaction of human factors with conventional document design factors such as accessibility, readability, legibility, consistency, style, language, and suitability to audience. This session explores that relationship, based upon a summation and synthesis of previous Annual Conference presentations as modulated by this presenter's extensive technical communication experience. It will be of particular interest to newcomers to the profession who seek to broaden their grasp of its intricacies.
Først og fremmest er der i relation til æstetik opstillet et ideal i form af princippet om helhed. Konsekvensen af dette princip skulle gerne tegne et portræt af et noget mere alment kendt teoretisk felt; Usability. Det vil herefter være kendetegnet for usability, at det kan afkodes som en bevægelse mod et højere ideal: princippet om helhed.
People will swear up and down that they love a particular product. They will tell you that the colors are right, the size is perfect, and the information is exactly what they needed. However, until you watch and test users you will not see how well the product works. You will not find out if they really would continue using the product, in the right amount, at the right time, under the conditions you expected. People have a funny way of deciding when, where and how they will using something.
Companies are beginning to conduct readability studies to determine how to provide customers with usable sites. Results have been inconclusive, conflicting, and often contradicting results of printed text studies. To discover how users use web sites, two pilot studies were designed to examine users, their purposes, and their reading processes. Many results parallel those of previous studies. In addition, new results indicate we need to examine several new variables, including amount of usage, site-specific knowledge, conventionalization, print bias, gender and age.
Reduce the bounce rate for organic landing pages, collect data to manage PPC for maximum ROI, and take five other steps to maximize your site's holiday sales potential before it's too late.
Interviewing is an artful skill that is at the core of a wide variety of research methods in user-centered design, including stakeholder interviews, contextual inquiry, usability testing, and focus groups. Consequently, a researcher’s skill in conducting interviews has a direct impact on the quality and accuracy of research findings and subsequent decisions about design. Skilled interviewers can conduct interviews that uncover the most important elements of a participant’s perspective on a task or a product in a manner that does not introduce interviewer bias. Companies hire user researchers and user-centered designers because they possess this very ability.
A well designed user interface is comprehensible and controllable, helping users to complete their work successfully and efficiently, and to feel competent and satisfied. Effective user interfaces are designed based on principles of human interface design. The principles listed below are consolidated from a wide range of published sources (Constantine & Lockwood, 1999; Cooper & Reimann, 2003; Gerhardt-Powals, 1996; Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2003; Nielsen, 1994; Schneiderman, 1998; Tognazzini, 2003) and are based on a long history of human-computer interaction research, cognitive psychology, and design best practices.
If everything is equally prominent, then nothing is prominent. It is the job of the designer to advise the user and guide them to the most important or most promising choices (while ensuring their freedom to go anywhere they please). On today's Web, the most common mistake is to make everything too prominent: over-use of colors, animation, blinking, and graphics. Every element of the page screams 'look at me' (while all the other design elements scream 'no, look at me'). When everything is emphasized, nothing is emphasized.
The more complex your product is, the harder it will be to use. And the harder your product is to use, the more your customers will rely on your technical support department, which tends to increase your costs and decrease your customers' overall satisfaction with the product. The good news is that one of the most simple and effective ways to reduce complexity is to cut unnecessary features from your product. But how do you know which features to cut?