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 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 article distills this into 9 top tips.

SEO Copywriting for Content Contributors - article by Rick Allen

Remote user testing tips

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