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Topic: Strategy

Acting on User Research

November 8, 2004

User research offers a learning opportunity that can help you build an understanding of user behavior, but you must resolve discrepancies between research findings and your own beliefs.

How Big is the Difference Between Websites?

January 19, 2004

The average difference in measured usability between competing websites is 68%. This is smaller than expected, but makes sense given the dynamics of design within individual industries.

Two Sigma: Usability and Six Sigma Quality Assurance

November 24, 2003

On average across many test tasks, users fail 35% of the time when using websites. This is 100,000 times worse than six sigma's requirement, but Web usability can still benefit from a six sigma quality approach.

Misconceptions About Usability

September 8, 2003

Misconceptions about usability's expense, the time it involves, and its creative impact prevent companies from getting crucial user data, as does the erroneous belief that existing customer-feedback methods are a valid driver for interface design.

Diversity is Power for Specialized Sites

June 16, 2003

Small websites get less traffic than big ones, but they can still dominate their niches. For each question users ask, the Web delivers a different set of sites to provide the answers.

PR on Websites: Increasing Usability

March 10, 2003

Compared with a similar 2001 study, a new study of journalists as they looked for information on corporate websites' PR areas showed significant usability improvements: a 5% higher success rate and 15% increased guidelines compliance.

Return on Investment for Usability

January 7, 2003

Development projects should spend 10% of their budget on usability. Following a usability redesign, websites increase desired metrics by 135% on average; intranets improve slightly less.

Offshore Usability

September 16, 2002

To save costs, some companies are outsourcing Web projects to countries with cheap labor. Unfortunately, these countries lack strong usability traditions and their developers have limited access -- if any -- to good usability data from the target users.

Supporting Multiple-Location Users

May 26, 2002

About half of the users now access the Internet from more than one location. Despite the implications of this for service design, many systems assume that users remain bound to a single computer.

Salary Survey: User Experience Professionals 2001

December 31, 2001

Usability is a well-paying profession these days: A usability specialist in California with five years' experience had an estimated cash compensation of $90,118 a year in 2001, not counting stock options or other benefits. This number is at the high end of our detailed survey, which analyzes salary data from 1,078 professionals who attended the User Experience World Tour from November 2000 to April 2001. The survey respondents represent a response rate of 40% of the 2,682 conference attendees. Because we surveyed people at a high-end professional conference, the data probably reflects the salaries of good user experience professionals.

User Payments: Predictions for 2001 Revisited

December 23, 2001

Advertising-supported websites will soon be a thing of the past. As I predicted a year ago, sites began charging for services in 2001. Although most sites are still not handling payments right, two innovative European projects hold much hope for 2002.

Poor Code Quality Contaminates Users' Conceptual Models

October 28, 2001

Software bugs and system crashes result in huge productivity losses and undermine users' ability to form good models of how computers work. Website designers can help improve user confidence by prioritizing quality and robustness over features and the latest technology.

The End of Homemade Websites

October 14, 2001

Web services will free individual site designers from having to program and design common features. This will decrease business costs, increase usability, and let designers focus on and improve features that are unique to each site.

Salary Survey: User Experience Professionals Earn Good Money

May 27, 2001

A survey of 1,078 user experience professionals finds that usability specialists make more money than designers and writers in the same field. In all three areas, salaries are highest in the U.S., lower in Canada and Asia, and much lower in Europe and Australia.

World Economic Forum Trip Report

February 1, 2001

Jakob Nielsen's trip report for the 2001 World Economic Forum. World Economic Forum (Davos, Switzerland, 2001).

The Web in 2001: Paying Customers

December 24, 2000

Offering free services on websites is not a sustainable business model, nor is advertising, which doesn't work on the Web. Most Internet companies are now pursuing an enterprise strategy to make money, but they'll soon begin turning to individual customers for revenue as well.

The Network is the User Experience: Microsoft's .NET Announcement

June 25, 2000

Microsoft's .NET strategy is a brilliant counter-move that reduces the Justice Department's proposed penalty to a victory in the previous war. Integrating the user experience at the network level opens the door to new and exciting services while diminishing the importance of traditional isolated websites.

The Mud-Throwing Theory of Usability

April 2, 2000

Instead of rushing new websites to a premature launch that will scare away your best customers forever, it is better to run a few fast usability studies in the beginning of the project.

Profit Maximization vs. User Loyalty

March 5, 2000

Instead of maximizing the profits from an individual visit it is better to encourage loyal users and establish non-monetary differentiation and frequent-user programs.

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