10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines

24 Sep 2009 - 7:58am
4 years ago
9 replies
2224 reads
David Lambert
2009

Interesting article from smashing.com:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/09/24/10-useful-usability-findings-and-guidelines/

Topics:

* Form Labels Work Best Above The Field
* Users Focus On Faces
* Quality Of Design Is An Indicator Of Credibility
* Most Users Do Not Scroll
* Blue Is The Best Color For Links
* The Ideal Search Box Is 27-Characters Wide
* White Space Improves Comprehension
* Effective User Testing Doesn’t Have To Be Extensive
* Informative Product Pages Help You Stand Out
* Most Users Are Blind To Advertising
* Bonus: Findings From Our Case-Studies

If you've never visited smashing.com, they're the single most
prolific source of "list posts" I've ever seen, including a lot of
stuff on web design.

Comments

24 Sep 2009 - 9:12am
William Hudson
2009

Beware the 'users focus on faces' assertion. Tom Tullis and his
colleagues at Fidelity found that put a person's face next to an item
rendered the whole thing invisible. It was a kind of instant 'banner ad
blindness' phenomenon. I talked to him about it at their poster at CHI
in Boston. It was a startling result.

Regards,

William Hudson
Syntagm Ltd
Design for Usability
UK 01235-522859
World +44-1235-522859
US Toll Free 1-866-SYNTAGM
mailto:william.hudson at syntagm.co.uk
http://www.syntagm.co.uk
skype:williamhudsonskype

Syntagm is a limited company registered in England and Wales (1985).
Registered number: 1895345. Registered office: 10 Oxford Road, Abingdon
OX14 2DS.

Courses in card sorting and Ajax interaction design - Las Vegas and
Berlin:
http://www.nngroup.com/events/

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-
> bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David Lambert
> Sent: 24 September 2009 6:58 AM
> To: discuss at ixda.org
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines
>
> Interesting article from smashing.com:
>
> http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/09/24/10-useful-usability-
> findings-and-guidelines/
>
> Topics:
>
> * Form Labels Work Best Above The Field
> * Users Focus On Faces
...

24 Sep 2009 - 9:14am
William Hudson
2009

Sorry, just remembered I wrote a blog on this! It's at
http://www.syntagm.co.uk/design/blog/?p=21

Regards,

William

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-
> bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of William Hudson
> Sent: 24 September 2009 3:13 PM
> To: David Lambert; discuss at ixda.org
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] 10 Useful Usability Findings and
Guidelines
>
> Beware the 'users focus on faces' assertion. Tom Tullis and his
> colleagues at Fidelity found that put a person's face next to an item
> rendered the whole thing invisible. It was a kind of instant 'banner
ad
> blindness' phenomenon. I talked to him about it at their poster at CHI
> in Boston. It was a startling result.
>
> Regards,
>
> William Hudson
> Syntagm Ltd
> Design for Usability
> UK 01235-522859
> World +44-1235-522859
> US Toll Free 1-866-SYNTAGM
> mailto:william.hudson at syntagm.co.uk
> http://www.syntagm.co.uk
> skype:williamhudsonskype
>
> Syntagm is a limited company registered in England and Wales (1985).
> Registered number: 1895345. Registered office: 10 Oxford Road,
Abingdon
> OX14 2DS.
>
> Courses in card sorting and Ajax interaction design - Las Vegas and
> Berlin:
> http://www.nngroup.com/events/
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-
> > bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David Lambert
> > Sent: 24 September 2009 6:58 AM
> > To: discuss at ixda.org
> > Subject: [IxDA Discuss] 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines
> >
> > Interesting article from smashing.com:
> >
> > http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/09/24/10-useful-usability-
> > findings-and-guidelines/
> >
> > Topics:
> >
> > * Form Labels Work Best Above The Field
> > * Users Focus On Faces
> ...
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24 Sep 2009 - 10:05am
Caroline Jarrett
2007

David Lambert
>
> Interesting article from smashing.com:
>
> http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/09/24/10-useful-usability-
> findings-and-guidelines/
>
> Topics:
>
> * Form Labels Work Best Above The Field

I'm getting really bored with seeing this piece of nonsense peddled again
and again. It's not entirely untrue for a very short, very ordinary form
like the one in this article. It's unlikely to be true for forms that have a
bit more depth to them.

See my article: "Label Placement in Forms":
http://www.usabilitynews.com/news/article3507.asp

And remember that users don't bail out of forms because they don't like
where the labels are placed - they bail out because they don't like the
questions they are being asked, because they consider the questions are
intrusive, or because they don't know the answers.

best
Caroline Jarrett
Author: "Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability"
www.formsthatwork.com

24 Sep 2009 - 2:31pm
bminihan
2007

I agree with Caroline that summarizing ten random sources and tips for
improving usability, out of context (and out of time, as with the
"users don't scroll" bit), is a little dangerous. At best, some
items will help folks who dig deeper and make the effort to merge
these tips with their project domain. At worst, a new group of
"well, you didn't do it like *this article* said to, so it's not
usable" folks crop up - which is just annoying (esp if you happen to
be the sole UX folk on the team).

Re: website credibility. I'm highly skeptical of studies that
report this in isolation of the much more pertinent facts regarding
that decision. The number one factor in a web site's credibility,
to me (and I suspect, many others), is my opinion of the company who
owns it. The second factor is the URL. The most usable site in the
world won't get me to plug my social security number into
http://56.62.10.5/action.do?action=Refactor&forms=entry#signup

But hey, some of the typography items are neat =]

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24 Sep 2009 - 9:07pm
Will Hacker
2009

Caroline is correct that most people don't bail out of forms because
of label positioning. The user studies I have done have found
validation and error handling to be much bigger problems. For
example, trying to create a strong password of CapLetters lowercase
Punctuation#! and getting a vague error message that says "Please
enter a valid password" is more likely to create a problem than
whether the label "Password" was above or to the left of the text
input. If a certain character is not allowed, say so.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Sep 2009 - 11:26am
Fred Leuck
2009

Hello all,
And Beware the 'Most Users Do Not Scroll' assertion. Not sure it's
true. Interesting studies show just the opposite%u2026:
- Unfolding the Fold : http://blog.clicktale.com/?p=19
- Paging VS Scrolling :
http://www.surl.org/usabilitynews/41/paging.asp
- Blasting The Myth of the Fold:
http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/blasting-the-myth-of

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Sep 2009 - 6:07pm
colombene jenner
2009

Perhaps related, or in addition, or in refutation, I'd say stock
photography is an instant turn-off in terms of usability and
credibility.

If I see a vaguely happy person using their laptop in good lighting
or a rainbow of diverse people around a conference table I instantly
think the site doesn't have anything to say, doesn't know what
they're saying, or is a URL squatter. I wonder if there's any
research on that. :-\

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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25 Sep 2009 - 3:39am
Tim Ostler
2007

The list is very out of date and does not contain anything new. Its main
worth is in demonstrating the well-established viral power of lumping a
collection of random points together and presenting them as a definitive
list, as in "the 100 best novels" etc.

On the scrolling point I would speculate that the greater ease of scrolling
thanks to trackpads and roller mice has changed users behaviour
significantly, although I don't have the research to back it up.

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 10:26 AM, Fred Leuck <fleuck at myway.com> wrote:

> Hello all,
> And Beware the 'Most Users Do Not Scroll' assertion. Not sure it's
> true. Interesting studies show just the opposite%u2026:
> - Unfolding the Fold : http://blog.clicktale.com/?p=19
> - Paging VS Scrolling :
> http://www.surl.org/usabilitynews/41/paging.asp
> - Blasting The Myth of the Fold:
> http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/blasting-the-myth-of
>
>
--
Tim Ostler

E timo at cogarch.com
W www.cogarch.com
W timostler.com

25 Sep 2009 - 9:52am
Chris Heckler
2007

Hopefully next time smashbox will do a "Top 10 Accepted Usability
Guidelines and the Arguments Against Them" type article. It's a
much better read when you add in this type of feedback.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46010

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