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Today is Monday, October 23, 2006 ....is Viral Marketing working for you today?

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Tonight’s Agenda

• Usability
– Usability vs. Functionality
Don’t Make Me Think! – General tips for your website
– Some examples of “Quick Fixes”
Some Quick Tips Regarding: • Testing
Web Usability &
– Why it is important
User Testing
– How to do it
Jason Swackhamer • A Live Usability Test Demo
May 8, 2003 – www.dreamfields.biz
Great Lakes Web Professionals

Usability vs. Functionality Common Usability Problems

• Usability • Unclear labeling and vocabulary


– User-centered design • Users need to remember too much
– Site should be Self Explanatory • Graphics are cluttered and overused
• Functionality • Inaccurate understanding of site design
– Does the site work properly? • Poor match between site design and users’ needs
• Navigation problems
• The difference being that your site may • Designed without clear target-user populations in mind
FUNCTION properly and the user may not run
into technical problems… • Design is not guided by users’ goals
• But is it USABLE...meaning is the user able to • Insufficient privacy and security
maneuver through your site with little • Inadequate buy-in from stakeholders
difficulty…are they forced TO THINK!

The Famous 5 W’s Where To Begin?

• When a visitor is at our site, what we • Need to realize that the way we design websites
don’t want them to have to think about: is not the way people actually use them.
– We hope that the user will suck in every pixel of
– Where am I?
graphics and information on the screen.
– Where should I begin? – What they actually do is glance at each new page,
– Where did they put _____? scan some of the text and click on first link that
catches their interest.
– What are the most important things on this
– We think of our site as great piece of art and literature
page?
and the user’s reality is much closer to “billboard
– Why did they call it that? going by at 60 miles an hour.”
Fact #1 Fact #2

• We Don’t Read Pages, We Scan Them • We Don’t Make Optimal Choices, We


– We’re in a hurry Satisfice
• Web use is motivated by the desire to save time – When designing pages we assume that users will
scan, consider all options, and choose best one
– We know we don’t need to read everything – The reality is that as soon as we find a link that seems
• Only interested in a bits that match our task like it might lead us to right place we click it, this is
– We’re good at it known as satisficing.
• We’re in a hurry
• We’ve been scanning newspapers, magazines and
• Not much penalty for being wrong
books all our lives
• Weighting options might not improve chances
• Guessing is more fun

Fact #3 6 Things To Do
• We Don’t Figure Out How Things Work, • Here are 6 things to do to make sure
We Muddle Through
users see and understand as much of
– Faced with new technology, very few people
take the time to read instructions your site as possible
– People use things all the time without – Create a clear visual hierarchy on each page
understanding how they work or with – Take advantage of conventions
completely the wrong idea about how they
– Break pages into clearly defined areas
should work
• It doesn’t matter that we understand how things – Make it obvious what is clickable
work – Minimize noise
• But when we find something that does work, we
stick with it – Omit needless words

Clear Visual Hierarchy Conventions

• The more important something thing is, • Newspapers all look the same, so it is easy to
the more prominent it is read a newspaper no matter where you are.
• Conventions are becoming more prevalent on
• Things that are related, are linked visually
the web, although most derive from newspaper
• Things are “nested” visually to show and magazine conventions
what’s part of what – Shopping cart metaphor
• Bread crumbs – Bookmark metaphor
• Conventions allow users to quickly figure out
how things work, however everyone tries to be
unique…if it isn't broke, don’t fix it!
Break Up Pages What’s Clickable

• Break up your pages into clearly defined areas • Make it obvious what is clickable
so that users can glance and point at different – Use conventions
areas and determine what they can do • Don’t underline text
• This allows users to decide quickly which areas • Use default color links
to focus on and which they can safely ignore • Use buttons for Search, Submit, etc… not custom
• In latest eye-tracking studies, users decide very links with text and arrows
quickly which parts of the page have useful info
and almost never look at other parts.

Keep Noise to Dull Roar Keep Noise to Dull Roar

• When everything on the page is clamoring


for attention it is overwhelming
• When designing, it’s a good idea to
assume everything is visual noise until
proven otherwise

Omit Needless Words

• Most words are just taking up space


• Remove half the words is a realistic goal
– It reduces noise level
– Makes the useful content more prominent
– Makes pages shorter
• Eliminate Happy Talk
– Self-congratulatory promo writing
• Eliminate Instructions
– If site is good, don’t need them
– The exception is using forms, however good design
eliminates excessive explanation
HOME-RUN Websites

• Reason why users return to websites:


– High quality content
– Often updated
– Minimal download time
– Ease of use

• To make your site a great site:


– Relevant to users’ needs
– Unique to the online medium
– Net-centric corporate culture

How to Determine Good Design

• A visitor should be able to answer the following


questions quickly when a page is designed well
– What site is this? (Site ID)
– What page am I on? (Page name)
– What are the major options at this level? (Sections)
– What are my options at this level? (local navigation)
– Where am I in the scheme of things? (You are Here
indicator)
– How can I search?
Back to the Home Page
• The Home page is THE page and must accommodate all
we talked about AND
– Site identify and mission
– Site hierarchy
– Search
– Teases
– Timely content
– Deals
– Short-cuts
– Registration
– Show me what I’m looking for…and what I’m not looking for
– Show me where to start
– Establish credibility and trust
• Therefore the Home page does NOT have to follow
same design as content pages

Get the Message Across Other Home Page Tips

• Tagline • The home page must allow the user to


– Efficient way to get message across easily know where to begin
– Should be clear and informative – Unique navigation
– Only six to eight words • Can be different, but not too different
– Convey differentiation and a clear benefit
• Welcome Blurb
– Don’t use mission statement as welcome
– A description of the site, displayed in a
prominent block that’s visible without scrolling

Other Home Page Tips

• Four ways to “Kill” a


home page
– Putting a banner ad on
if you don’t have to
– Promoting everything
– Letting deals drive the
Home page design
– Getting greedy for
data
Usability Testing
Usability Testing True Things About Testing

• Crucial step in the design process • If you want a good site, you’ve got to test
• Can be conducted at every level of • Testing one user is 100% better than
production testing none
– Flowcharts • Testing one user early is better than 50
– Sketches or digital layouts of graphics near the end
– Clickable wireframe with placeholders for – Have at least one complete section working
navigation testing well, rather than bits of everything
• These tests are conducted one user at a • Point of testing is not to prove or disprove,
time and user is asked to either figure out it is informed judgment
what it is or try to use it to do a typical task • You don’t just test once, you fix and re-test

True Things About Testing What to Look For

• Each round of testing should consist of three or • Do they get it?


four testers
• Avoid discussing the site beforehand
• Can they find their way around?
• Offer a reasonable incentive • Head slappers (Why didn’t I think of that?)
• Need an office, computer, room with two chairs • Shocks (How couldn’t they notice that?)
even a camcorder and/or observer
• Inspiration (User suggestions)
• Recruit loosely and grade on a curve
– Try to find users who reflect your audience, but don’t • Passion (real connection with something)
get hung up on it
• Exclusive sites, audience is clearly defined groups with
specific interests and needs

What to Keep in Mind What to Keep in Mind


• Brace Yourself (you may be disappointed) • When videotaping, point camera so can
• Don’t panic (don’t jump to conclusions) view screen and testers mouse hand
• You’re grading on a curve (you are an • When observing pay attention to eye gaze
expert) • Test should be task driven
• You’re seeing them at their best behavior • Questions should be open ended
(they will intently read & review everything) • Have the tester relay their observation
• Pay attention to actions and explanations verbally throughout the test
rather than opinions
• Take vigorous notes
Good Resources
• Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug
• Designing Web Usability, Jakob Nielsen
• Interactivity By Design
• Design Wise, Alison Head

• www.useit.com
• www.webpagesthatsuck.com
• www.fixingyourwebsite.com
• www.usableweb.com

Lets Do a Test

Don’t Make Me Think!


Some Quick Tips Regarding:
Web Usability &
User Testing

Jason Swackhamer
• www.dreamfields.biz May 8, 2003
Great Lakes Web Professionals
Keep Noise to Dull Roar
Other Home Page Tips

• The home page must allow the user to


easily know where to begin
– Unique navigation
• Can be different, but not too different
Other Home Page Tips

• Four ways to “Kill” a


home page
– Putting a banner ad on
if you don’t have to
– Promoting everything
– Letting deals drive the
Home page design
– Getting greedy for
data