A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Online Persuasion: Seven Ways to Persuade People to Buy

Persuading people to do what you want them to do on your website isn't as hard as you think. Read through these top tips and so your online conversion rates can soar!

Halabi, Lisa. Webcredible (2008). Design>Web Design>Usability>E Commerce


Online Universal Design and Evaluation Tool

A major project of the Trace Center is the development of an on-line design and evaluation tool to assist product developers in creating better and more usable products. The design tool will lead designers through a process that encourages them to ask questions about their design and provides them with information about aspects or features of their product that might pose access barriers. A listing of possible strategies and ideas they might use to address the accessibility issues or to make their product more generally usable is provided. Specific examples, audio and video clips, copies of reference documents and studies, and resources they can contact or refer to will all be included over time.

University of Wisconsin. Design>Usability>Accessibility>Universal Usability


Online Yaşam ve Tasarım Kültürü

Hergün yüzlerce menü görüyor, onlarca 'checklist'i işaretliyor, formlar dolduruyor, bilgi gönderiyor, sepete atıyoruz. Bir sitenin tasarımı denince akla sadece grafikler, 'grid'lerin yerleri, menünün boyutu, renkler vs. geliyor, ancak bütün bu makyajın altında bir sitenin çatısı durumunda ve siteyi diğerlerinden ayıran temel etkenlerden olan sayfadaki farklı elemanların sunuluş biçimi, kullanıcıların siteden beklentilerini karşılamadaki ve kullanım kolaylığını sağlamadaki yeterlilik göz ardı ediliyor.

Ismailk.net. (Turkish) Design>Web Design>Usability


OOBE Project: A Case Study in User-Friendly Hardware   (PDF)

Many people can't even program their VCR, let alone set up a new PC. As part of an industry-wide response to this problem, Epson America came up with the Users Digest. We hoped it would grab users' attention and hold it long enough to get them up and running without calling tech support. This paper relates the history of the User k Digest andprovides a guided tour of this innovative document.

Bergen, Karen A. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>User Centered Design>Usability


An Open Discussion on Web Navigation   (PDF)

What is navigation? • Central metaphor for the web • If they cannot find it, they cannot buy it • Conventions forming, but… • …It depends • Future: Will navigation be less or more important?

Instone, Keith. Instone.org (2002). Design>Web Design>Usability


Open New Windows for PDF and other Non-Web Documents

When using PC-native file formats such as PDF or spreadsheets, users feel like they're interacting with a PC application. Because users are no longer browsing a website, they shouldn't be given a browser UI.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2005). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Adobe Acrobat


Optimal Line Length: Research Supporting How Line Length Affects Usability  (link broken)

What is the optimal line length when reading prose text from a monitor? Certain aspects of usability have been researched for over 120 years. One active area of investigation has been the influence of line length on the speed of reading prose text. Weber (1881) made the first research-based recommendations when he suggested that an ideal line length was 4 inches (100 millimeters). He stated further that the maximum never should exceed 6 inches (150 mm). The same year Javel (1881) reported that line lengths should be no longer than 3.6 inches (90 mm). Two years later, Cohn (1883) confirmed that 3.6 inches (90 mm) was the best length, and that 4 inches (102 mm) was the longest admissible line length.

Bailey, Robert. Web Usability (2002). Design>Typography>Web Design>Usability


Optimize Your Site's Usability

A specter is haunting the world of business: The specter of customer empowerment. Users rule the Internet and vote with millions of mouse-clicks every day. Users go where they are well treated, so customer-centered Web sites that are easy to use and pleasant to visit get the credit card numbers. Sites that are difficult to use or take forever to download suffer the death penalty. This simple fact is the reason usability has become a core competency for business survival in the network economy.

Nielsen, Jakob. ZDNet (1998). Design>Web Design>Usability


Organizing Content 8: Second-Level Faceted Navigation

Peter Morville and Jeffery Callendar, two information architects, call faceted navigation “arguably the most significant search innovation of the past decade.” Because of its importance in content findability, one aspect I want to now explore further is a second-level faceted browsing system.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Information Design>Usability>Documentation


Organizing Digital Information for Others

In this short book, we explore how lists, categories, trees and facets can be better used to organize information for others. We also learn how metadata and taxonomies can connect different collections and increase the findability of information across the website or intranet.

Nichani, Maish. PebbleRoad (2012). Books>Information Design>Web Design>Usability


The Origin of Personas

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, published in 1998, introduced the use of personas as a practical interaction design tool. Based on the single-chapter discussion in that book, personas rapidly gained popularity in the software industry due to their unusual power and effectiveness. Had personas been developed in the laboratory, the full story of how they came to be would have been published long ago, but since their use developed over many years in both my practice as a software inventor and architectural consultant and the consulting work of Cooper designers, that is not the case. Since Inmates was published, many people have asked for the history of Cooper personas, and here it is.

Cooper, Alan. Cooper Interaction Design. Articles>Usability>User Centered Design>Personas


Out of Box Experience: Getting it Right First Time

The out of box experience (OOBE) describes the users first interaction with a product or service. In the technology sector this first experience invariably involves plugging stuff in, installing some software and crossing your fingers in the hope that the product will work. The problem is that, in far too many cases, it doesn’t.

Frontend Infocentre (2009). Articles>User Experience>User Centered Design>Usability


Padded Link Targets for Better Mousing

Among the minor tweaks we introduced with the new Basecamp project switcher are some larger link targets at the top of the screen. Since then I’ve been paying extra attention to link target size. Here are a couple examples of generous link targets for inspiration.

37Signals (2008). Design>Web Design>Usability>CSS


Paper Prototypes: Still Our Favorite

We’ve been creating paper prototypes and teaching others to use them for the past eight years. In that time, we’ve learned a lot about what paper prototyping is all about and we’re still pleased by what an effective and easy-to-use tool it is.

User Interface Engineering (1998). Design>Usability>Prototyping


Paper Prototyping with Morae

Morae makes it easy to log usability tests, create video highlights and allow observers to view a test in progress. But Morae is designed to support usability tests of software, not paper prototypes. This how-to article shows you how to exploit the full functionality of Morae when carrying out a paper prototype test.

Travis, David. UserFocus (2007). Articles>Web Design>Prototyping>Usability


Passing the Ten-Second Test

When you make a web page easy to grasp, in the very first 10 seconds after a visitor arrives, you can both increase its credibility and improve its search engines ranking. Rachel shares precise methods for composing effective text for Web sites.

McAlpine, Rachel. Wise-Women (2004). Design>Web Design>Writing>Usability


Password Usability

Poor password usability can ruin your web registration process. While passwords are a painful fact of life, there are ways to minimize the problems that users face. This article contains suggestions on how to best collect passwords during the registration process, and it will help you determine if you should allow users to save their passwords.

Ledwell, Joshua. WebWord (2001). Design>Web Design>Usability>Security


PDF Link Usability

Das kennt man: ein ahnungsloser Klick und plötzlich öffnet sich eine mega-lange PDF-Datei. Seitengestalter sind deshalb angehalten Links auf PDF-Dateien zu kennzeichnen. Selbstverständlich macht das inzwischen auch (fast) jeder.

Lennartz, Sven. Dr. Web (2007). (German) Articles>Usability>Information Design>Adobe Acrobat


PDF Usability: Debate and Reality

This article examines the claims of those PDF critics and argues that usability complaints about PDF documents are misdirected, and further, highlights some of the key reasons why PDF is the preferred electronic document format.

Johnson, Duff. Adobe (2006). Articles>Usability>Information Design>Adobe Acrobat


PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption

Users get lost inside PDF files, which are typically big, linear text blobs that are optimized for print and unpleasant to read and navigate online. PDF is good for printing, but that's it. Don't use it for online presentation.

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


PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption

Users get lost inside PDF files, which are typically big, linear text blobs that are optimized for print and unpleasant to read and navigate online. PDF is good for printing, but that's it. Don't use it for online presentation.

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


People Finder: Searching Without Logic? Improving the People Finder Application

One of the most frequent tasks on many intranets is finding people within the company. Providing an effective way to search people is thus a key goal in designing intranets. This goal becomes even more important for an organization like Emirates, a leading international airline, which has over 35,000 employees with over 140 nationalities and where more people are likely to use this feature more frequently.

Deshmukh, Vivek. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>User Interface


People Search Once, Maybe Twice

Lately, we've been focused on the effectiveness of Search. When looking for content, users often end up using the search engine. In a recent study, we observed that users only found their target content 34% of the time with Search (less than with categories). We wanted to know why.

User Interface Engineering (2002). Design>Web Design>Usability>Search


Perfecting Your Personas

It's easy to assemble a set of user characteristics and call it a persona, but it's not so easy to create personas that are truly effective design and communication tools. If you have begun to create your own personas, here are some tips to help you perfect them.

Goodwin, Kim. Cooper Interaction Design (2001). Articles>Usability>User Centered Design>Personas



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