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Demystifying Usability

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Ad Conversion Rate Influenced by Time (Not Click Rate)

Time is an important design variable to understand. Your user experience is effected by it no matter what user experience you are serving up and the rules are different for every context. For example, the "three click rule" (users must get to their destination within three clicks) applies to e-commerce primarily but not to mortgage education, financial services usability or reading the New York Times online.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2004). Design>Web Design>User Experience>E Commerce


Design and Emotion

Emotion is one of the strongest differentiators in user experience namely because it triggers unconscious responses to a product, website, environment or interface. Our feelings strongly influence our perceptions and often frame how we think about or refer to our experiences at a later date.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2004). Articles>Usability>User Experience>Emotions


Designing for the "Average User"

User advocacy is one of the central goals of usability. User advocacy can be defined as the process an IT professional (with an interest in user experience) goes through in re-sensitizing herself to the world of the 'average user'.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2006). Articles>Usability>Web Design


Designing for the "Average User"

User advocacy is one of the central goals of usability. User advocacy can be defined as the process an IT professional (with an interest in user experience) goes through in re-sensitizing herself to the world of the "average user."

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2006). Articles>Usability>User Centered Design


Eye-Tracking Studies: Usability Holy Grail?

The reality is that eye-tracking, while valuable, doesn't make usability testing any more powerful. It's what you do with the observations and the usability test data that counts.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2004). Articles>Usability>Methods>Eye Tracking


Graphic Design vs. Usability

When the philosophy of the 'skin interface' is applied to other applications, it becomes problematic. There is nothing wrong with that concept as long as it is clear that it only works with highly specialized applications such as Winamp. It is even culturally expected in the Winamp community that skins will be created and made available.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2004). Articles>Usability>Graphic Design


Graphic Design vs. Usability

Graphic Design can "hijack" usability efforts if the graphic design team is not "on board" with usability. This is probably why these days more and more graphic artists (like the students at the Art Institute of Portland where I am currently teaching a class) are learning about usability and have a sensitivity for its user-centered intentions.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2004). Articles>Web Design>Graphic Design>Usability


How Many Users Should You Test With in Usability Testing?

Doesn't one need to test with at least 100 or more users for statistical significance, accuracy and validity?

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2005). Articles>Usability>Testing>Methods


How to Avoid Being Blinded By Your Own Design: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

If you design something for your company, organization or department, or help influence the direction of a design, it regularly can become very difficult for you to separate yourself from the design. And chances are, you are not even aware of it most of the time! This entry looks at why this seems to happen and what you can do about it (if anything at all).

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2005). Design>Usability>Assessment


Methodology or Mythology?

What you buy or 'buy into' influences how you think about something and how you represent that information in your mind is what cognitive scientists refer to as an 'internal representation'. Whether you buy usability services or not, at some point along the way I am sure you will or have encountered 'methodology madness', and maybe you don't even know it.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2004). Articles>Usability>Methods>Cognitive Psychology


Progressive Disclosure: The Best Interaction Design Technique?

Progressive disclosure is an interaction design technique that sequences information and actions across several screens in order to reduce feelings of overwhelm for the user. By disclosing information progressively, you reveal only the essentials and help the user manage the complexity of feature-rich sites or applications. Progressive disclosure follows the typical notion of moving from 'abstract to specific'; only it may mean sequencing interactions and not necessarily level of detail (information). In other words, progressive disclosure is not just about displaying abstract then specific information, but rather about 'ramping up' the user from simple to more complex actions.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2004). Design>Web Design>Personalization>Interaction Design

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