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Usability : Performance testing, task analysis & evaluation


Resources





  
Date
  
Title
  
Developer
  


  
04/30/07
  
Location is Irrelevant for Usability Studies
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
You get the same insights regardless of where you conduct user testing, so there's no reason to test in multiple cities. When a city is dominated by your own industry, however, you should definitely test elsewhere.

  
01/02/07
  
Fast, Cheap, and Good: Yes, You Can Have It All
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
The sooner you complete a usability study, the higher its impact on the design process. Slower methods should be deferred to an annual usability checkup.

  
09/11/06
  
User Testing is Not Entertainment
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Don't run your studies for the benefit of the people in the observation room. Test to discover the truth about the design, even when user tasks are boring to watch.

  
06/26/06
  
Quantitative Studies: How Many Users to Test?
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
When collecting usability metrics, testing 20 users typically offers a reasonably tight confidence interval.

  
05/15/06
  
Variability in User Performance
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
When doing website tasks, the slowest 25% of users take 2.4 times as long as the fastest 25% of users. This difference is much higher than for other types of computer use; only programming shows a greater disparity.

  
05/01/06
  
Corporate Usability Maturity: Stages 5-8
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
An organization that reaches the managed usability stage still has far to go to reach usability nirvana. Attaining these higher maturity levels requires many years of effort.

  
03/25/06
  
Usability Stockholm Syndrome
  
Jensen Harris
  
Articles and White Papers
  
When Jensen Harris had to conduct his first usability test at Microsoft, he expected that the participants would let out their rage at Microsoft. But it turns out that people tend to be less critical than they probably should be. The participants consider themselves guests in the usability lab, don't want to insult the hosts, and are embarrassed when they can't complete a task.

  
03/07/06
  
Interview-Based Tasks: Learning from Leonardo DiCaprio
  
Jared M. Spool
  
Articles and White Papers
  
The silence was deafening. The corporate Vice President of Marketing sat at the head of the table, with the rest of the room populated by the development team. Nobody was saying a word. They were just letting the question just hang in the air: "What did we do wrong?"

  
03/06/06
  
Outliers and Luck in User Performance
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Six percent of task attempts are extremely slow and constitute outliers in measured user performance. These sad incidents are caused by bad luck that designers can -- and should -- eradicate.

  
02/13/06
  
Practical Usability Testing
  
Joshua Kaufman
  
Articles and White Papers
  
You know you’d have a better site or Web application if you ever got around to usability testing, but the process just seems so daunting and expensive. Columnist Joshua Kaufman returns with a practical guide to conducting your first usability testing session without breaking a sweat—or the bank. Now you have no excuse!

  
01/06/06
  
Avoid making wrong conclusions from user analysis
  
Jared M. Spool
  
Articles and White Papers
  
According to Jared Spool, many teams rush the process from user observations to design recommendations. They are so anxious to fix things that they end up making the wrong conclusions and fixing the wrong things.

  
09/12/05
  
Time Budgets for Usability Sessions
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Up to 40% of precious testing time is wasted while users engage in nonessential activities. Far better to focus on watching users perform tasks with the target interface design.

  
08/29/05
  
Open New Windows for PDF and other Non-Web Documents
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
When using PC-native file formats such as PDF or spreadsheets, users feel like they're interacting with a PC application. Because users are no longer browsing a website, they shouldn't be given a browser UI.

  
08/15/05
  
Putting A/B Testing in Its Place
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Measuring the live impact of design changes on key business metrics is valuable, but often creates a focus on short-term improvements. This near-term view neglects bigger issues that only qualitative studies can find.

  
08/08/05
  
International Sites: Minimum Requirements
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Users from other countries have special needs related to entry fields for names and addresses, measurements and dates, and information about regional product standards.

  
07/02/05
  
Hotspots and Hyperlinks: Using Eye-tracking to Supplement Usability Testing
  
Mark C. Russell
  
Articles and White Papers
  
This article discusses how eye-tracking can be used to supplement traditional usability test measures. User performance on two usability tasks with three e-commerce websites is described.

  
04/25/05
  
Formal Usability Reports vs. Quick Findings
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Formal reports are the most common way of documenting usability studies, but informal reports are faster to produce and are often a better choice.

  
02/15/05
  
Seven Common Usability Testing Mistakes
  
Jared M. Spool
  
Articles and White Papers
  
When a design has a usability problem, it's because someone made a wrong decision. They chose to take the design in a direction that creates frustration for the user. A different design choice would have prevented the frustration.

  
09/20/04
  
Bush vs. Kerry: Email Newsletters Rated
  
Jakob Nielsen
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Both candidates for president of the United States offer email newsletters with much good content to excite supporters, but miserable subscription interfaces and several other usability problems.

  
06/09/04
  
Apples and Oranges
  
Didier P. Hilhorst
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Usability and design are two fields that collide more often than not. But why is that?

  
05/11/04
  
The KJ-Technique: A Group Process for Establishing Priorities
  
Jared M. Spool
  
Articles and White Papers
  
In design, our resources are limited. Priorities become a necessity. We need to ensure we are working on the most important parts of the problem. How do we assess what is most important?

  
02/25/04
  
Conducting Inherent Value Testing
  
Jared M. Spool
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Inherent Value Testing is a simple usability testing technique that can help you measure how your site communicates your product's value.

  
02/19/04
  
Inherent Value Testing
  
Jared M. Spool
  
Case Studies and reports
  
Is your web site chartered with encouraging people to buy or use your product or service? Is it succeeding? It turns out there is a simple usability testing technique that can help you measure how your site communicates your product's inherent value.

  
10/01/03
  
Four Words to Improve User Research
  
Mark Hurst
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Suggestions on how to conduct usability testing.

  
05/22/03
  
Why Standards are Necessary
  
Human Factors International
  
Steps and Presentations
  
An interactive exercise that illustrates the importance of Web usability standards.

  
02/17/03
  
Learning from the Work of Others
  
Will Schroeder, Principal, User Interface Engineering
  
Articles and White Papers
  
Every once in a while it's a good idea to step back from our own day-to-day work and watch other professionals operate. One instinctively feels that a lot can be learned.

  
01/28/02
  
Tests Require Constant Feedback
  
Matt Hicks
  
Articles and White Papers

  
01/01/02
  
Competitor analysis
  
Usability Net
  
Articles and White Papers

  
01/01/02
  
User survey for design
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Contextual inquiry
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Task analysis
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Test & Measure
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Diagnostic evaluation
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Performance testing
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Subjective Assessment (testing & post-release)
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Critical Incident Technique Analysis
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Remote evaluation
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
01/01/02
  
Sample size during testing
  
Usability Net
  
Steps and Presentations

  
10/28/01
  
Poor Code Quality Contaminates Users’ Conceptual Models
  
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen’s Website
  
Articles and White Papers

  
08/05/01
  
First Rule of Usability? Don’t Listen to Users
  
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen’s Website
  
Articles and White Papers

  
02/21/01
  
Success Rate: The Simplest Usability Metric
  
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen’s Website
  
Articles and White Papers

  
01/01/01
  
Structure Evaluation
  
Information & Design
  
Articles and White Papers

  
01/01/01
  
Contextual Enquiry Report
  
Information & Design
  
Downloadable File

  
03/19/00
  
Why You Only Need to Test With 5 Users
  
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen’s Website
  
Articles and White Papers

  
05/17/98
  
Testing Whether Web Page Templates are Helpful
  
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen’s Website
  
Articles and White Papers

  
05/03/98
  
Cost of User Testing a Website
  
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen’s Website
  
Articles and White Papers

  
01/01/94
  
Goal Composition: Extending Task Analysis to Predict Things People MayWant to Do
  
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen’s Website
  
Articles and White Papers
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