Topic: User Testing
February 18, 2001
In addition to being expensive, collecting usability metrics interferes with the goal of gathering qualitative insights to drive design decisions. As a compromise, you can measure users' ability to complete tasks. Success rates are easy to understand and represent usability's bottom line.
January 21, 2001
Although measuring usability can cost four times as much as conducting qualitative studies (which often generate better insight), metrics are sometimes worth the expense. Among other things, metrics can help managers track design progress and support decisions about when to release a product.
March 19, 2000
Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.
February 21, 1999
Details in measurement methodology make the results of a recent market research study irrelevant for predicting real user behavior on the Web.
May 17, 1998
By turning all text into gibberish, a usability test can focus on whether the *layout* of a Web template helps users navigate and use the page.
May 3, 1998
Across 50 teams, the average time needed for their first usability test of a website was 39 hours. The average site had 11 usability catastrophes that prevented users from completing their tasks.
January 1, 1997
Discount usability engineering is our only hope. We must evangelize methods simple enough that departments can do their own usability work, fast enough that people will take the time, and cheap enough that it's still worth doing. The methods that can accomplish this are simplified user testing with one or two users per design and heuristic evaluation.
August 1, 1996
The unprecedented international exposure afforded by the Web increases the designer's responsibility for ensuring international usability. Because of the myriad of issues in international usability, I recommend doing international usability testing with users from a few countries in different parts of the world. No guidelines yet published are sufficiently complete to guarantee perfect international usability, so an empirical reality check is always preferred.
January 1, 1996
When working on a product intended for use abroad your best bet is to conduct international usability testing. You may need to engage a translator or even a local usability consultant, depending on the complexity of the test.
May 25, 1995
Icons for the Sun Microsystems' 1995 Web site design were designed and tested in several iterations, both independent of and in context with the full Web site design.
May 25, 1995
Paper prototyping, card sorting, and traditional usability testing were all employed to guide the design of the 1995 Sun Microsystems' Web site.
January 1, 1995
A summary of statistics for the thirteen usability laboratories in 1994, an introduction to the main uses of usability laboratories in usability engineering, and survey of some of the issues related to practical use of user testing and CAUSE tools for computer-aided usability engineering.
Nielsen, J. (1994). Usability laboratories. Behaviour & Information Technology 13, 1&2, 3-8.
January 1, 1994
Using Discount Usability Engineering to Penetrate the Intimidation Barrier,' paper by Jakob Nielsen on simpler and cheaper ways to a better UI;with examples of fast usability projects.
January 1, 1994
Summary of usability results conducted in 1994 on the web sites of Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Time Warner; the report includes screen captures of several famous early websites and because it is one of the first formal usability studies of the Web.
November 1, 1993
In 4 case studies, the median usability improvement was 165% from the first to the last iteration, and the median improvement per iteration was 38%. Iterating through at least 3 versions of a UI design is recommended, since some usability metrics may decrease in some versions if a redesign has focused on improving other parameters.
Nielsen, J. (1993). Iterative user interface design. IEEE Computer 26, 11 (November), 32-41.