Monday, 25 October 2010

10 management truths for the web age

I quite like this free e-book by Lisa Welchman, in which she outlines just how wrong approaches to large scale corporate web publishing can be. Best of all it's a light read - pretty much a bunch of illustrated slides really - that you can get through in 5 minutes.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Interaction design essays & articles

This (long) list of links on interaction design includes lots of famous names - if you follow this kind of thing - and famous articles. A great one to bookmark.

Website surveys are broken - McGovern

Gerry McGovern makes the case against the "Rate my website" approach to appraisal. He is of course pushing an alternative too (which is well worth investigating).

Realistic tasks when testing search interfaces

Setting tasks that encourage test participants interact with a search feature in a realistic way is tricky. An interesting article discusses what some experts have said on the issue, and includes recent testing experience on a library search interface.

Label placement in web forms

Caroline Jarrett is an expert in the field of usable web forms, and co-wrote the  book on the subject: Forms that work. A few links relating to her work and recommendations on the topic of label placement.

World Usability Day - Edinburgh event 11 November

Edinburgh usability consulatancy Uservision are holding a free event to celebrate World Usability Day on 11 November.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Nielsen on agile development & UX

A couple of articles by Jakob Nielsen - one late 2008, one late 2009 - in which he looks at the advantages of agile development and the challenges of integrating the user experience into the process. The second article reflects on how things have moved on in this new and rapidly evolving field.

Usability is like cooking - Nielsen's great analogy

A nice little article in which Jakob Nielsen makes a comparison which holds up pretty well. Just because you can't produce a gourmet meal doesn't mean you shouldn't cook for yourself.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Social media marketing today

An excellent, up-front, slightly irreverant summary of everything you need to know about social media in 2010. We think of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and so on when it comes to social media. These are some of the big hitters, but there is so much more.

Making recommendations usable

User testing and diagnosing usability problems is one thing, but reporting and recommendations is quite another. This paper details a study where 17 usability teams independently evaluated the same website and made recommendations.

McGovern on FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions are the product of organisation-centric approaches to web publishing, says Gerry McGovern and I'm inclined to agree with him. For my money, FAQs high up in the site structure are like a big warning sign flashing on your website saying, "The structure of this website is not user-focused and the really important stuff is hard to find!"

McGovern on web marketing & imagery

Three short articles by Gerry McGovern in which he hammers the flaws in applying traditional marketing techniques to the web. Users want to achieve their goals, not have an "experience". Text over images. Clarity over persuasion.

Remote user testing tools summarised

If you're looking for unmoderated remote user testing, the choice of services at the moment can be overwhelming. This article goes through the different types of services available and lists a few companies you might want to try.

Usability & analytics session in Edinburgh - 19 October

This month's session at the Scottish Usability Professionals Association is titled: "Web Analytics + Usability = A Sum Greater Than Its Parts". Open to everyone, it's £10 for non-members.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Future proofing personas

A university library search usability project at Edinburgh has been detailing the steps they went through in the production of their personas. One aspect that particularly caught my eye was the risks around personas getting stale and out of date.

Website review by Krug & Rosenfeld

Online video of Steve Krug and Lou Rosenfeld reviewing the US Library of Congress website.