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Human Factors International

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Are We There Yet? Effects of Delay on User Perceptions of Web Sites

One of the chronic challenges that will be highlighted by emotional design is site download speed. There are many sources of delay in Web site and application delivery.

Straub, Kathleen. Human Factors International (2003). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design>Emotions


Beating the Rap on User Interface Standards   (PDF)

When your manager asked (told) you to write a user interface (UI) design standard, was it a no-win proposition? Apparently many developers feel that way.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1996). Design>Web Design>User Interface


Challenging Current Practice

Is it better to have more items on a page and requiring fewer pages to be accessed (wide breadth), or to have fewer items per page and require more pages to be accessed (more depth)? Based primarily on studies reported three years ago by Larson and Czerwinski (1998) and Zaphiris and Mtei (1998), designers have been encouraged to construct broad, shallow sites.

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2001). Design>Information Design>Web Design


Displaying Information

Do people learn more when they read material, only observe graphics, hear the material, or when they read, see graphics and read the material?

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2002). Articles>Usability


Even Excellent Sites Benefit from Expert Reviews

Get the flavor of an Expert Review as Dr. Schaffer points out the strengths and weaknesses of 11 award-winning Web sites.

Schaffer, Eric M. and Phil Goddard. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Web Design>Assessment


Five Steps to Unlocking a Web Site's Potential   (PDF)

A systematic approach to the application of human factors principles to ensure customer satisfaction.

Israelski, Ed. Human Factors International (2000). Design>Web Design>Usability


From Inspiration to Action at A.G. Edwards

Discusses how his team of Certified Usability Analysts (CUAs) were instrumental towards making usability a routine practice at A.G. Edwards.

Nadel, Jerome and Pat Malecek. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Usability>Workplace


Heuristic Evaluations vs. Usability Testing

How many of the usability problems identified in a heuristic evaluation are true usability problems? Several years ago, I published an article suggesting that many of the 'problems' identified by heuristic evaluators were not problems at all (Bailey, Allan and Raiello, 1992). Even so, many of us have continued to waste time and go to the expense of fixing many usability problems that were not problems. Recently, three research papers were published that provided some insights into the validity of heuristic evaluations (Catani and Biers, 1998; Rooden, et.al., 1999; Stanton and Stevenage, 1998). The articles discussed usability testing in three totally different domains with very similar results.

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2002). Articles>Usability>Web Design


HFI Certification: Fulfilling Your Needs as a Practitioner

Usability is more and more critical to online success, but most developers have no formal training in it and most companies have no formal program for it.

Schaffer, Eric M. and Phil Goddard. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Human Computer Interaction>Usability


Icons: Much Ado About Something   (PDF)

Every battle has a psy-ops component, otherwise known as psychological operations. Each side attempts to demoralize the other and re-moralize its own troops. In UI design, the battle against GUIs from hell is no different. Recall the evil influence of cryptodesign – design ideas that work for certain situations but get misapplied in other, quite different circumstances. We’ve seen a lot of developer trauma associated with icon design: cryptohyperinconitis. But hang on. This article gives you, the troops in the field, some psycho-innoculation against the cryptic IMFAP syndrome (Icon Mania, Fetish, and Phobia)!

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1996). Design>User Interface


The Institutionalization of Usability

Discusses practical usability, The Third Wave of the Information Age, the institutionalization of usability, developing a holistic strategy, measuring success, and getting started.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Usability>Workplace


Is Beauty the New Usability Attribute?

The beauty of a product can influence the users' overall impression or general user satisfaction of the product. Think iPod. But how do you measure that?

Hall, Mark D. and Kathleen Straub. Human Factors International (2005). Articles>Usability>Aesthetics>User Experience


Keeping Users Stuck to Your Site

Discusses the effect of drop-off and how usability initiatives reduced drop-off at Staples.com by 73%. This discussion begins with a definition of drop-off and moves into an explanation of the value of drop-off data. Then we delve into the correlation between drop-off and return on investment. Finally, we highlight two examples of Staples.com initiatives that were focused on reducing drop-off by using a systematic process of customer research and redesign.

Hynes, Colin. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Web Design>Usability


Key Tips for User-Centered Design   (PDF)

We interact with many developers when researching and designing GUI standards. Some of the recurring problems we find can be solved with knowledge of a few expert tips.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1995). Design>User Centered Design


Location of the Scrollbar

Are scrollbars located close enough to where users typically work with a Website or list box to encourage the fastest possible use?

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2002). Design>Web Design>Usability


Managing the Knowledge Behind Business Decisions Through User-Centered Design: A Case Study

Jerome and Giovanni explain why efficient access to knowledge is essential for global business operations. Giovanni discusses how his company realized its systems needed improvement – and why user-centered design proved to be the appropriate solution. This empirical approach to interface design/architecture enables effective business decisions.

Nadel, Jerome and Giovanni Piazza. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>User Centered Design>Streaming


Managing Your Defense Against GUI's from Hell   (PDF)

Check the number of times you walk out of an office complex grasping a door handle shaped to say 'pull me' while warning you with a label that says PUSH. The unwarranted generalization of 'handle' to both sides of a one-way door shouts cryptodesign at work. You’ve see your VCR mercilessly flashing 12:00 pm into the night (and day), reminding you of your slow-witted inability to set the time. According to a consumer survey, a third of TV viewers have given up ever setting a future video recording date and time. Cryptodesign succeeds in maintaining a useless machine interface. The message is clear. Cryptodesign says 'a technique useful for one situation is probably good in all situations.' The antidote requires that we breath life back into automatic design techniques. Let’s call the antidote 'soul design'.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1995). Design>User Interface


Meeting the Demand for Usability Expertise: An Offshore Model

Discusses how you can create and utilize a 'Center of Excellence' dedicated to realizing your company's development and design projects. Learn how you can staff a sustained usability effort.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>Usability


Mentoring for Mainstream Usability

What mentoring is, and how it is different from consulting, training, or educating.

Schaffer, Eric M. and Susan Weinschenk. Human Factors International (2006). Careers>Mentoring>Usability


Optimal Line Length

What can we conclude when users are reading prose text from monitors? Users tend to read faster if the line lengths are longer (up to 10 inches). If the line lengths are too short (2.5 inches or less) it may impede rapid reading. Finally, users tend to prefer lines that are moderately long (4 to 5 inches).

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2002). Articles>Web Design>Typography


Pull-Down Menus: Out of Sight, Out of Mind   (PDF)

This article focuses on a particularly wily cryptodesign foe: pull-down menus. Recall our definition of the developer’s eternal foe: cryptodesign. These are decisions that worked for certain situations, but are often misapplied in different, inappropriate situations. Pulldowns are the “guerilla” combatants of GUI design – so named because at one glance they look like good-guy civilians, but in another moment, they’ve wreaked havoc on ease-of-use. Let’s explore how to neutralize these design sapper bombers.

Schaffer, Eric M. Human Factors International (1995). Design>Web Design>User Interface


Reducing Reliance on Superstition

Probably the most well-known article in the fields of usability, user interface design and user experience is Miller’s 1956 paper entitled 'The magical number seven, plus or minus two.' It is incredible how this article has lasted for over 40 years, and still seems to influence many design decisions. More recent, better research is available, but not being used.

Bailey, Robert. Human Factors International (2000). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Research>Cognitive Psychology



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