Prioritizing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen, Hoa Loranger (Pre-order today)

Usability_cover In 2000, Jakob Nielsen, the world’s leading expert on Web usability, published a book that changed how people think about the Web—Designing Web Usability (New Riders). Many applauded. A few jeered. But everyone listened. The best-selling usability guru is back and has revisited his classic guide, joined forces with Web usability consultant Hoa Loranger, and created an updated companion book that covers the essential changes to the Web and usability today.

Prioritizing Web Usability is the guide for anyone who wants to take their Web site(s) to next level and make usability a priority! Through the authors’ wisdom, experience, and hundreds of real-world user tests and contemporary Web site critiques, you’ll learn about site design, user experience and usability testing, navigation and search capabilities, old guidelines and prioritizing usability issues, page design and layout, content design, and more!

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

PR Podcast

And even though blogs have given rise to a veritable revolution in personal publishing, Nielsen also explains why the press release is here to stay. "One thing we've found in our user studies, and we've done studies not just with journalists, as I mentioned, but also with financial analysts, and certainly many many studies just with customers, and we know that they actually want to know the company's perspective. Where does the company think its going?" says Nielsen. "The company's own angle is something that people are looking for, whether it's journalists, whether it's investors, or whether it's customers they all want this information, and the pressroom is where to go and get it."

The podcast, which is available for immediate download, runs about 25 minutes, and also includes a discussion of how search engine optimization colors perception, accommodating a global audience through Internet pressrooms, how best to integrate your pressroom into your website, and more.

download MP3 (22.5 Mb)

Press Release

Buy Me : PR sections of corporate sites: optimizing usability for journalists, 75 design guidelines

Hyped Web Stories Are Irrelevant

Wiki_usability Now, if only someone would make a Wiki solution with great usability that average people could use to author strongly interlinked hypertexts. That would be something worth almost any level of hype. The way to knock out Microsoft Office is not to reimplement its feature set from two versions ago in a different programming language. We don't need bad copies -- we need collaborative authoring of hyperspaces as opposed to linear documents.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/hype.html

Jakob Nielson's Dance Party USA

Dance Party via OK\Cancel

Dance_party

Eye tracking Web usability

He gave an example of ecommerce sites with images of current promotions in the middle of a page that get tuned out. "If it's a product associated with what they are interested in, it gets high attention," he noted. Similarly, animation can repel the eye if it's not relevant to the user or if its overly complicated. "These are not spinning things that move around from all different angles, just a simple, predefined, one spin that plays on its own," Nielsen said.

Basically, users have become savvy surfers of Web pages, and that includes advertising content. "Advertising in general fares very poorly," Nielsen said. "There is almost no fixation on ads, and when there is, usually just in corner of the ad, perhaps attracted by some movement for a moment."

ZDNet

Survey offers a 'sneak peek' into Net surfers' brains

The Nielsen firm asked more than 230 participants to research specific tasks and companies online. Tasks included learning to tie a type of knot called a "bowline," figuring out how to invest $10,000, planning a Colorado ski trip, shopping for a mortgage and deciding whether to adopt a cairn terrier or pharaoh hound from an animal shelter.

Other findings from the firm's study:

• Individuals read Web pages in an "F" pattern. They're more inclined to read longer sentences at the top of a page and less and less as they scroll down. That makes the first two words of a sentence very important.

"People are extremely good at screening out things and focusing in on a small number of salient page elements," says Jakob Nielsen, a principal at the firm.

• Surfers connect well with images of people looking directly at them. It helps if the person in the photo is attractive, but not too good looking.

Photos of people who are clearly professional models are a turnoff. "The person has to be approachable," Pernice Coyne says.

USA Today

7 on the Ugly Scale

Kevin and Tom have published an OK/Cancel strip called "7 on the Ugly Scale" that cast some aspersions the design of useit.com

Ugly_scale

I dare them to put that title on a t-shirt.

Growing a Business Website: Fix the Basics First

Space_browser_1 Content rules. It did ten years ago, and it does today. People don't use things they don't understand. Writing for the Web is still undervalued, and most sites spend too few resources refining the information they offer to users.
The same goes for photos: On countless sites, product images are too small, fuzzy, or murky, or they're simply shot from a bad angle, making the product hard to see. These same sites lavish pixels on big glamour illustrations that our eyetracking studies show attract no fixations. Go figure.

Generally, all you need are plainspoken words and clean photos. Nonetheless, these two design elements get almost no coverage in the trade press. Every month, there seems to be a new article in a leading publication about 3D spinning views, even though 3D is nearly useless in most cases. But you never see an article about how to write better headlines or take a clearer product photo.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/design_priorities.html

Great Minds in Development - Dr. Jakob Nielsen

In our first online video in the Great Minds in Development series, Dr. Jakob Nielsen tackles the issues of designing for usability and how to maximize usability in the apps you build. In this interview, he discusses everything from the proper attitude for programmers (why being smart might be bad for your code), to the importance of prototyping in design, to the reasons why PDF, Flash and local search engines can hurt more than they help.

Watch the interview in the Windows Media Player — it's about 8 minutes long — by clicking here.

DevSource

Outliers and Luck in User Performance

Lottery Given that slow outliers account for 6% of Web usage, it's unacceptable to simply write them off. Although the data shows that most users will avoid bad luck in their next online task, you can't just say "better luck next time"; if you do, their next user experience will likely be on somebody else's website.

People leave websites that hurt them -- they don't know that it's just bad luck, and that next time will be better. It's therefore incumbent on you to hunt down the root causes of bad luck and eradicate them from your site.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/outlier_performance.html

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