Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Task success, failure - confidence?

Jeff Sauro talks about the one thing worse than the user failing to complete the task. Failing to complete the task, and thinking they'd been successful. So an important aspect to your usability testing - asking the participant to rate their confidence.

Search landing pages - marketing budget wasted?

A great article about paid advertising on search engine results pages by Jared Spool. Pretty obvious points I would have thought, but from the examples listed it appears not. In the quest to spend the marketing budget, consideration of the user experience seems to go out of the window sometimes...

Writing content - less is more

A nice little piece reminding us that we're producing too much content and often obscuring the key messages we set out to communicate.

Web accessibility myths

An excellent article by Jonathan Hassell which tackles some fundamental challenges presented to people trying to steer their organisations to more accessible websites and services. The accessibility agenda seems to be moving from focusing on the developer to focusing on the business which is encouraging.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Eyetracking Facebook social media

Summaries of a couple of eyetracking studies conducted mainly on Facebook - one for brand pages and one for personal pages. The personal page study also compared behaviour with other social media sites.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

$300 million usability fix revisited

A few years ago Jared Spool told the story of a project he worked on in which a relatively simple alteration had an incredibly profitable pay off. He's recently written a new article telling the back story.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Staff productivity affected by website usability - McGovern

Gerry McGovern rails against organisational apathy in website design and the impact it can have on staff productivity and morale.

Persona guide & how to use them

Another introductory article on personas; this time from usability company Bunnyfoot. I particularly like this one for the little illustrations that run through their discussion of what personas are and what they're not.

Quick tips podcast by Paul Boag

Boagworld boos sounds like a discount off licence, but it's not. Paul Boag delivers short podcast pearls of wisdom and other things that just seem to be on his mind at a particular point in time.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

User testing metrics

So you're conducting a usability study; you've recruited users and organised your tasks. Jeff Sauro suggests the measures (metrics) you might use when putting numerical values on their experiences.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Quantifying the user experience

As soon as I admire a user experience map and feel that it's beyond me, almost the next thing I read is a great article on how to create something very similar. And this seems totally do-able. Consider mapping the user experience to better understand what's going on and see where you can improve things.

Experience map examples

The idea of an experience map is an interesting one and well worth a look. Much more complex and detailed than other diagrams of customer experience I've come across, they're really inspiring even if I think they're a bit beyond me right now. Something to aspire to.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Usability review mistakes

If you don't have an opportunity for testing, then a usability review might be a viable alternative. But you really need to have prior experience of running tests and observing users to do this successfully.

First click vital - McGovern

Gerry McGovern talks about the importance of your website visitors' first click, referencing Bob Bailey's research findings and suggesting some tools to refine your site.

Mobile website strategy

There's more to a mobile site than simply reformatting your existing website to suit a small screen. Jakob Nielsen and Gerry McGovern explain why.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Organisational silos impede user experience - Microsoft in 2003

A fascinating article which discusses an email sent by Bill Gates to senior Microsoft staff about the poor state of the user experience in 2003.

Mapping customer journeys

An interesting approach and tutorial on defining the customer journey from the Cusomer Experience Academy. I'm currently working on a project exploring the prospective postgraduate student experience online, so a lot this resonated with me.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Web project roles

An interesting matrix of roles that work together in a web project. It's prompted me to think how many boxes we tick at the University and where the balance of influence lies.

Content strategy & CMS development

I've been reading some great stuff on a site called CMS Myths. It's reassuring to me that most organisations seem to experience the same frustrations and pain with their content management system. And it's ironic that content and content strategy is so often the poor relation when it comes to planning the procurement or development of the tool.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Link writing advice

A couple of articles offering some very good advice on what makes effective link text.

Links are at the core of what the web is about. When I observe website visitors in user testing sessions, they're often the root cause of the problems they encounter.

Well written links are critical for good usability, accessibility and search engine optimisation.

If you write web content, you should have most of these points at the forefront of your mind.

The only point I'd disagree with is Trenton Moss's "limit links to four words". I've seen research from Jared Spool which suggests the most effective link text is typically longer than this. And I've seen first hand how poorly one- and two-word link text can perform.

While I think it always depends, for me four words would usually be the minimum for in-page link text and a few more words will generally bring more clarity. So long as the most important words are the first two or three.

Editorial Style for Inline Links - article for meetcontent.com by Rick Allen

Writing effective link text - artilce for webcredible by Trenton Moss

Copywriting tips for SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often a big issue for website owners at the University of Edinburgh. This article covers some excellent advice that every copywriter should put into practice.Most will have a positive impact on your content's usability and accessibility too.

Despite what you may suspect or have heard, there is no magic wand or secret tricks to improve your web pages' ranking. It really is down to your content - how useful it is to your readers and how well you structure it.

This meetcontent.com article distills this into 9 top tips.

SEO Copywriting for Content Contributors - article by Rick Allen

Remote user testing tips

12 useful titbits from usertesting.com. Many of these apply to in-person testing too.

usertesting.com have offered me a free trial code to pass to friends, so if you work at the University of Edinburgh and want to try out a $39 test for free, email me by 15 November. Has to be worth a try!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Practical user research guidelines

3 top tips on conducting user research which the author feels you're more likely to pick up as you go along rather than get from a text book. All good points and worth a read.

Importance of your users first click

An interesting article from Jeff Sauro in which he talks about how important the first click is. His research indicates that when the users' first click is down the right path, 87% eventually succeed. When they click down an incorrect path, only 46% eventually succeed.

Advertising banner blindness

A recent psychologist's eyetracking study considered whether banner blindness was real and whether there were any techniques advertisers could employ to get their ads noticed by more website visitors.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Free usability & accessibility event at Uservision in Edinburgh

Edinburgh usability company Uservision are celebrating World Usability Day on 10 November with a free open house event, which features a talk on website accessibility from Jonathan Hassell from the BBC.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Scottish UPA HTML5 session

This month's Scottish Usability Professionals Association (SUPA) session is on HTML5 and its impact on accessibility. It's being held in central Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October.

User testing & focus groups

Steve Krug covers the fundamental misunderstanding some managers have about usability testing with a funny animated vid and blog article.

Usability testing forum

I mentioned Steve Krug's new blog a little while ago. Hanging off that is a forum for people to share their usability testing experiences. You may even get a response from Steve if you pose a question...

Or failing that, from one of the many eager usability testers contributing.

The current categories:

  • Questions?
  • Testing success stories
  • Testing horror stories
  • Polls

Steve Krug interviews

A couple of interviews in which Steve talks about his approach to usability testing, with lots of hints and tips. The biggest area of interest to me was around raising awareness, buy in and support for this kind of activity.

Getting real - a new way to think about development

'Getting real' is an online publication - a collection of essays by developers 37 Signals - that outlines their philosophy and methodology for applications development. I haven't read it all yet, but the concepts covered so far have great resonance for me and apply just as well I think to website content development.

Avoiding your next site redesign - Lou Rosenfeld

I attended a seminar by Lou Rosenfeld last week - "Adaptable Information Architecture; How to say no to your next website redesign". It was a great session, and his slides are available online.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Search site analytics - Lou Rosenfeld interviews

A collection of recent interviews with Lou Rosenfeld who this year wrote an excellent, must-read book - Search Site Analyitcs.

Form design crib sheet

A great reference sheet for designers of online forms. Download in multiple formats, with lots of examples and guidance.

Search engine ranking factors

A fantastic visual representation of the things you need to think about if you're keen to see your web pages perform well in search engine results pages.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Usability and user experience

"The difference (and relationship) between usability and use experience". An article on a website called Usability Geek. Maybe not something that immediately strikes you as something for anyone other than a specialist, but worth a look as the author does a good job of placing the role of usability in the wider context of website management and marketing.

Monday, 26 September 2011

McGovern on satisfaction surveys

Gerry McGovern repeats the often heard maxim - what people do and what people say are not the same. I've seen first hand many times what Gerry outlines this week.

Metrics don't equal success

A pithy, but worthwhile reminder of why we shouldn't get too caught up in various metrics collected through web analytics packages.

Reasons to try remote testing

A nice little article in which Jeff Sauro lists his 5 reasons why he likes remote testing. He lists a few services he's involved with too, so if you're new to this kind of thing there are a few companies to investigate.

Persona mistakes to avoid

Jared Spool picks on 5 mistakes he's observed in development teams using personas. There's a fair amount of effort involved in putting the user at the centre of your design in this way, so it makes sense not to fall into these traps and waste the effort you've put in.

Nielsen's heuristics in action

Jakob Nielsen's 10 usability heuristics are nicely illustrated in this article pulling together lots of examples of good practice.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Does your CMS support your content strategy?

A blog article by a content management system (CMS) developer with a refreshingly enlightened understanding of content strategy. Rachel Andrew writes about how the CMS should serve to support website editors to do a better job, focusing the content that they write.

Website usability for mobile users

Jakob Nielsen has done a couple of studies in recent years that reveal a lot about user behaviour on websites when using mobile devices. Some companies are very aware of these differences and develop strategies accordingly.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Content management system usability

A well considered and structured series of principles for the usability of content management systems.

User time on web pages

Jakob Nielsen summarises some new research revealing more about how long users typically spend on web pages. Basically an interesting and detailed piece of work that can be summarised as, 'not very long at all, almost all of the time'.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Paul Boag on content management systems

Paul Boag - who wrote the excellent "Website Owners Manual" - has written a number of articles on his views about content management systems (CMS). I've pulled together links to several of his articles that have provided me with some food for thought.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Why people leave your website

A nice little article, including video footage, which highlights 5 common usability problems. I particularly like the points that are the real fundamentals, underlining what happens when you're not 100% clear about what your site is there to do.

Practical website development podcast - Boag

Paul Boag's latest podcast series is an excellent listen. Week by week he is covering all the key tasks and considerations when undertaking a website redesign, and practically applying it to an overhaul of his own site - www.boagworld.com.

Web strategies that don't work

In his article, "5 popular web strategies that don't work", Scott McDonald outlines some common approaches often adopted at the outset of website projects. See how many are familiar to you...

Reporting usability problems - 10 tips & facts

If you've ever conducted your own usability tests and then reported on your findings,  then this article will be worth a read (and bookmarking for future reference).

Usability vs business interests

A really interesting article packed with examples in which Jeff Sauro discusses situations where improved usability doesn't necessarily help a business achieve its goals.

Scenarios & personas

Kim Goodwin discusses how scenarios help bring your personas to life, and encourage stakeholders to engage with them.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Field studies - benefits & costs

Jared Spool writes about field studies - how he's used them, their benefits and the overheads involved.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Steve Krug blog

Steve Krug - author of probably the two most accessible and enjoyable books about usability - has started blogging.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Social media challenges for higher ed

An interesting article in UK newspaper the Guardian, on how college students are using social media more and more - ahead of relying on official communications channels. It also gives a few examples of what universities are doing to begin to engage with these key audiences in new ways.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Diary study research tips

A great introduction to diary studies; what they are, why you might want to use the approach and how to get the most out of them.

Listening skills for usability test moderators

David Travis provides 15 useful hints for anyone conducting a usability test.

Prioritising usability problems

A really useful resource for anyone conducting usability tests and getting overwhelmed by the list of findings. How do you decide what to fix and what to live with?

Tips for persona success

Jared Spool again shares insights from his research with design teams to highlight factors which support successful persona projects.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Data-driven decision making

A great article on website analytics - how to use them to best effect. For yourself and for your organisation.

Local government usability testing

I came across a blog the other day by the Camden Borough Council web team. Great to read about a group so committed to putting the user at the centre of a website overhaul. I suppose one positive from the ongoing rounds of cuts in the public sector - and we have to grasp these positives when they arise! - is an increased user focus in the field of web communication and service delivery.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Writing accessible link text

A quick reminder of why considered link text is important for accessibility, including some examples and a few tips to help you do a better job.

Link purpose: accessibility for web writers - article by 4syllables.com

More accessibility tips for web writers

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Persuasive design - enhanced usability?

Persuasive design has been around for a long time, but usually associated with 'bad' things like fast food, gambling and so on. An interesting article targeted at usability professionals which argues that "...persuasive design should be your next skill set".

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The cost of customer service

I've been supporting a review of email enquiry management, which made me think back to an article by Gerry McGovern about the relative cost of customer service. Digging deeper reveals some very interesting UK local government figures on the cost of managing transactions via a website, versus on the phone, versus in person.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Search analytics book - free chapter

Lou Rosenfold's new book, "Search Analytics for Your Site - Conversations with Your Customers" is due out in the next week or so. In the meantime there's a free chapter. I find the topic fascinating and Lou really knows his stuff.

Nielsen usability report free to University of Edinburgh staff

The Nielsen Norman group report "College Students on the Web" is available to University of Edinburgh staff on a site license.

Content strategy - the "how to" book

I've been reading (well, skimming to be fair) a new book - The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane. It's pitched as the "how" of content strategy to go with the "why" book by Kristina Halvorson that I've blogged about previously. If you struggle with too much website content and not enough focus, this short book is well worth a read.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

International usability - Nielsen

Jakob Nielsen summarises his findings from usability testing across 3 continents.

Building websites for ROI - podcasts by Paul Boag

Paul Boag has published a series of podcasts in which he explores ways that your website can begin to pay for itself. It's a great series full of advice and real world examples (both off and online) which can help you focus your thinking on how and why you manage your website like you do.

Remote user testing sample script

I've written before about the usertesting.com service, which I've used and I like. Here's a scenario and example task script written to recruit participants to try out a shopping cart.

User experience stories

UX Storytellers is a collaborative project between a group of usability professionals. 30 or so have contributed experiences in UX (user experience) to a blog which has become a free e-book.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Intro to prototyping presentation - SUPA

I presented an introduction to prototyping at a meeting of the Scottish Usability Professionals Association in Edinburgh last night. Went pretty well I thought, with some good discussion and experience sharing afterwards as hoped. Here are the slides, with lots of links to resources I've blogged about in the past.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Eye tracking without eyes - worthless?

An interesting article looking at 'participant-free eye tracking' services. Conclusion here is that they seem to be pretty worthless.

Click analysis - Research group homepages

I recently ran a click analysis study across 10 research institute homepages in our Medical School. The study only collected data on visitors from outside the University network to exclude as many staff and current student clicks as possible. Unsurprisingly, user behaviour and priorities were the same regardless of the design employed.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Content strategist talks Higher Ed

Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web, answers questions from higher education website managers.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Prototyping session - Edinbugh 22 June

This month's session at the Scottish Usability Professionals Association is "An introduction to prototyping" presented by... me!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Checklist for content management work

An excerpt from a new book - The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kisane - which is very readable and while based in theory, provides some very good tips for those of us writing, editing and commissioning web content.

A psychologist's guide to usability

Fascinating list from psychologist Susan Weinschenk, who also authored Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? (currently on my reading list). Even if you don't delve into the articles, you'll learn something from the titles alone.

100 Things You Should Know About People - articles by Susan Weinschenk

10 reasons to test

A nice piece by Jacob Creech. Nothing particularly new here, but worth a quick read, if only to get you back in the right frame of mind next time you think you don't have time for any testing.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Technology doesn't change org culture

An interesting piece about the introduction of social media to organisations and their impact. For all this is about internal comms, I think there's a lot to reflect on here for external communications and marketing too. Right now there's a real drive to be liked on Facebook, to be followed on Twitter etc etc. But what does it really mean and why are we doing it?

Usability is your online brand - McGovern

I love this article. Gerry McGovern is direct and makes a lot of sense almost all the time. Then once in a while, he hits the nail right on the head for me. A must-read for every manager.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

10 paper prototyping videos

Some really inspiring clips of what paper prototyping can achieve. If you're doing this kind of thing right now, take a look for some great ideas and inspiration.

Persona development & usage tips

A nice little article from persona expert Kim Goodwin. If you're relatively new to the persona creation process and how to get the best out of their use, you'll pick up a few useful tips.

Increase user focus for design teams

A couple of interesting articles by Jared Spool in which he shares his observations of effective and not-so-effective design and development teams as they strive for user-focused developments.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Website development do's & don'ts

A nice article of 10 top tips from Fat DUX, written with the senior manager in mind. Worth a quick skim and a share with those we answer to who perhaps don't understand website development processes as much as we'd like.

Developing a vision for user experience

I'm currently reading up on ways to develop, communicate and validate a vision for the user experience of a website, application or product. A couple of these articles I've blogged before, but there are a number of great resources (new to me at least) out there.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Funny e-commerce evaluation

Funny and astute cartoon; if you're not offended by a bit of swearing check out theoatmeal.com's "How to make your shopping cart suck less".

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Prototyping - video examples

Johnny Holland has pulled together a collection of interesting examples of prototype experiences communicated via video. All are pretty short, informative and inspiring - so well worth a look.

When not to listen to users

Jakob Nielsen advises watch what people do, don't listen to what they say. Which is fair enough in the sense that your customers aren't designers. This article by design company Sliced Bread is worth a read as it goes through the kinds of things that customers can tell you that are actually useful, and what you should definitely ignore and why.

Keep online surveys & forms short as possible

There are always exceptions with particular audiences and scenarios, but the general rule seems to be the longer your form or survey, the less likely people are to complete it. And if they do they spend less time thinking about later questions.

Style Guides & UI Guidelines

A long list of corporate style guides and user interface guidelines. Some for websites - branding and editorial - and some for application user interfaces.

Bloated websites attract the wrong visitors

Gerry McGovern again makes the case for cutting back your content and focusing on what's really important to your key website visitors. Avoid the cult of volume. More website visits does not equal success.

US university social media activity

This article is presented as a top 100, but I found it useful just as a means to see what other universities are doing with social media.

How quickly do website users form an impression?

Very quickly is the basic answer. Both in terms of how they feel about the aesthetics, and in terms of how long they take to decide if they're in the right place. Opinions on the former are made much more quickly than on the latter though, it must be said!

How many customers should you test with?

Jakob Nielsen famously wrote about "Why you only need to test with 5 users", and Steve Krug gave a similar variation in his book "Don't make me think". Jeff Sauro digs deeper. He's really into his numbers, so if statistics and probability are a turn off for you, just skip to the conclusion.

Only the publisher is interested in the format

A nice little article from Gerry McGovern where he reminds us that the customer just wants to do what they want to do. The format or the medium they do it through is distinctly secondary. One well worth sharing with colleagues next time the "We must start using [insert the current big thing]" directive comes up.

US HE mobile websites - technical review

An interesting overview of who is doing what in the US university sector with websites developed specifically for mobile devices.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Great social media posts

If you're blogging or tweeting or posting to Facebook, you should be doing it to promote traffic to your website which is where the business happens. This article provides useful tips on creating effective 'link bait'.

Why don't usability problems get fixed?

So you've run some usability testing. You've summarised what you found, and possibly even recommended ways to make things better. Then what happens? Nothing? This is a great article looking at why recommendations don't get taken on and the problems everyone knows are there stay in place.

Friday, 15 April 2011

UPA accessibility session 24th May

The next Scottish Usability Professionals Association (SUPA) event is 24 May. The session, led by David Sloan from the University of Dundee focuses on the challenge of engaging industry and the public sector in accessible, inclusive design.

Free prototyping & balsamiq workshop for UK university sector

On Tuesday 17 May, I'm contributing to the JISC Usability and User-Centred Design Day. It's a free event based at the University of Edinburgh.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Usability blooper videos - usertesting.com

Usertesting.com (a service I rate very highly) are posting videos to a blog highlighting usability problems with a range of major websites.

Compare search terms - google web trends

Web Trends is a really useful tool to bookmark if you're interested in what people are searching for on Google.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Facebook user attitudes to business

Recent market research shows that "despite living online, US teenagers don't want to 'Like' your company on Facebook". This research tallies with a usability study of college students worldwide.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Readability & comprehension of webpages - mobile implications

Jakob Nielsen talks through the difference between readability and comprehension of online content and introduces the Cloze Test - a really easy way to score how easy your content is to understand. He relates this to a study of mobile user behaviour.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Prioritising customer convenience on your website

Gerry McGovern writes about the "price of doing business on the web".  In a nutshell - are we making things convenient for ourselves as organisations, or for our customers?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Interview skills for user testing

If you've ever conducted a usability test, you'll know that a core aspect of the session is how well you encourage the participant to verbalise their thoughts and experiences.

Screenreader usage survey

A survey of over 1000 European screenreader users in December 2010 by Web AIM.

4 usability testing don'ts

An excellent article which picks on four common failures of user testing sessions. Good tips to bear in mind, particularly if you're new to running sessions like this to learn more about your website or application.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Prioritising design & development - the Kano model

Fascinating article on the Kano Model - a means to identify development priorities according to the cost to you, and the expectations of your target audiences.

Students & smart phones session in Edinburgh

This month's Scottish Usability Professionals Association session is "Student attitudes towards mobile library services for Smartphones" on Tuesday 15 March in Edinburgh.

Managing project meetings - great tips & techniques

A couple of great articles to help manage development projects. How to build a shared vision, diffuse differences of opinion and neutralise dominant stakeholders.

Free usability seminars from UIE

Jared Spool and his usability business UIE are offering free access to 12 online seminars on a range of usability-related topics if you register by 14 March 2011. They're available to download en masse, as well as accessing online.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

User test instructions affect behaviour

If you've conducted usability tests and reflected on how the sessions went, you'll already know that the instructions you give affect the behaviour of the test participants. Particularly when you accidentally pose leading questions. This eyetracking study confirms what we already knew with some fascinating examples.

Better ALT text - context matters

An excellent article on how and when to tag your images with alternate (ALT) text. Examples of good and bad practice help us understand how this image substitute text should be used. A must read for every web publisher.

Combine usability test techniques for maximum benefit

Nielsen reviews 3 basic usability testing techniques - Competitive testing, parallel design and iterative design - and concludes the greatest benefit comes from combining them together.

Content strategy - university case study

An interview with the Director of Strategic Digital Communications at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo who outlines how and why they undertook a full content review in the process of overhauling their web presence.

Non-profit website research - Nielsen

Jakob Nielsen summarises his recent usablity studies on not-for-profit websites, focusing on users trying to donate their money, time or things they no longer need. Some interesting, and not so surprising findings.

Public sector collaboration - technical innovation

I watched an interesting webinar last week by Dave Briggs. He was talking about how collaboration in the public sector can be enhanced through the use of social media. While his focus was on local government and intranets, the parallels with our university website project were hard to miss.

Customer focused council website

Gerry McGovern talks about his work with Liverpool City Council; identifying the top tasks locals want to do online and delivering them on the homepage.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Irrational website user behaviour

A great article from uxmyths.com which lists a range of irrational website user behaviours backed up by research evidence. The good news though is that our irrationality is predictable.

Marketing images' negative effect

Gerry McGovern writes about growing evidence that traditional marketing imagery reduces the credibility and trustworthiness of a website.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Paper prototyping myths

David Travis talks through 7 points around prototyping myths. Not sure that I agree with each one 100%, but all the points are good prompts to think more about how and why we prototype. Plus there are some great links to resources and further reading.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Prior experience affects usability scores

Jeff Sauro digs into his back catalogue of usability testing data to analyse whether participants with prior experience of a website or application respond differently to those with no experience.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Dyslexic university student blog

An interesting insight into the problems a university student with dyslexia encounters in their day to day life and with their studies.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Improving website performance - McGovern case studies

In recent weeks Gerry McGovern has been sharing success stories of major companies who have worked with him. Gerry's techniques are remarkably straightforward but require incredible focus and ruthlessness when it comes to content.

Social media use by UK universities

Brian Kelly of UK Web Focus at the University of Bath has summarised corporate activity of Russell Group universities on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Better content by design

An interesting article and podcast by content strategist Kristina Halvorson, looking at how focused and hardworking the content on your webpage really is. Much like Gerry McGovern, she's emphasising the need to focus on your users' tasks ahead of marketing yourself.

New BBC website accessibility tool

The BBC launched a trial of their new website accessibility tool, My Display, last month.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Social media use in the public sector

I've been reading around a number of reports and articles on the use of social media in the public sector - how to make best use of the tools available and encourage responsible behaviour amongst staff. It's interesting that the same points are coming up again and again.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

What not to measure

A quick reminder from Gerry McGovern about why judging your website by the number of visits you get is not a particularly clever thing to do.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Online surveys - a lesson in what not to do

Jared Spool recounts his recent experience of completing a survey for United Airlines, revealing 19 things not to do.

Your user experience vision

An excellent article (with loads of resources) about developing a user experience vision for your website or service - and why you need one in the first place.

Customer support free webinar - Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern is presenting a free online seminar on Web customer support best practice on Monday, 17 January 2011.

Xbox Kinect interface usability

Nothing to do with university website management, but an interesting article nonetheless. Jakob Nielsen's appraisal reminds us of the underlying usability principles that apply to all interfaces. Plus you may have bought one this Christmas.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Reading behaviour trends

Interesting article about how interaction with the web is affecting our attention spans and the way we read.