Categories
usability

Developing sites for users with Cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties

From Juicy Studio, although the article focuses on writing for people with “Cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties”, it could just as well have been for “the typical stressed web-user”. Many of the tips has to do with making your site as accessible as possible for anyone stressed out of their wits and trying to find some important information on your site.

Juicy Studio: Developing sites for users with Cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties

When people think about accessibility of web content, there’s a tendency to concentrate on people with visual impairments. People with cognitive impairments and learning difficulties are often overlooked.

Categories
usability

Free beer for usability

Interesting idea: Café testing

The basic idea behind café testing is to situate yourself at a café, put up a sign to attract participants, and test the people that come to you. Because cafes appeal to a wide variety of individuals, and people at a café often have time to spare, café testing can be a great way to perform a quick litmus test in the marketplace.

Sounds like work for usability testers with a taste for beer ;-)

[Via Brukaropplevingar.com]

Categories
usability

Google Village: Who are you optimizing your site for?

A very good article about Google and optimizing for it and other search engines. Might be basic for some web developers, but it covers the basics of optimizing your site for your users and the search engines.

Google Village: Who are you optimizing your site for?

Categories
usability

Bad service in the US too

John Dowdell has experienced the spreading bad service of a big shop when doing his Mac shopping at CompUSA. He writes that he so far has visited the store twice – in total spending 1 hour and 15 minutes to get the wrong RAM for his iBook.

These kind of shopping experiences are becoming all to common. And at shops like CompUSA (In Norway, simular shops could be Elkøp, Lefdal, Spaceworld and a bounch of other big chains). The problem is high demand, not enough people to help the customers, and low knowledge of the products they are selling.

While there is still hard to pick the good from the bad online, I still think that those kind of shopping experiences are pushing the sales of products on the net. People are starting to find that its easier doing the reserach yourself
and shop for what you have found you need – on the net. All we need to do is make sure the shopping experience is userfriendly to start taking BIG chunks out of the sales of shops like CompUSA.

I am doing some research myself these days on how to make sure the shopping experience of online shops gets better. First I would like to give some tips, and then later on I will follow up with links to sites I think does it right and sites that I think does it terribly wrong. (Unfortuantly there are more sites showing how not to do it).

One way to accomplish better usability is to start using tools like Flash, to make the interfaces more interactive. The lack of repsonse to your selections has been a big usability problem of forms and static HTML pages for a long time. Another way is to avoid wasting your customers time. Let them get to what they want as fast as possible, avoid using splash screens, and try to avoid the user having to do more than three clicks to get to what they want. Registration is another example of wasting a customers time. One of the main gripes about web-shopping I hear from people is that they have to register to be able to shop. If you want to store customer information, make it optional and include it in the shipping process of the store.

Thats a few suggestions and tips. Now lets shop online – with retailers that show they apperciate their customers :-)

Categories
usability weblogs

Why to not _blank

Mark Pilgrim continues on his 30 days to a more accessible weblog, today he explains why the _blank tag is evil.

In all dominant browsers, using the <a target=”_blank”> tag to force a link to open in a new window breaks the Back button. The new window does not retain the browser history of the previous window, so the “Back” button is disabled. This is incredibly confusing, even for me, and I’ve been using the web for 10 years

My personal reason for not using _blank tages on my weblog is that I think it should be up to you – as the reader – when you want a new browser window to open.

Here is a little tip for you if you want to open new windows (I do this all the time myself when I want to look at something and go back to where I was by closing the window I opened):

Hold down the shift key while you click on the link (for Internet Exlorer and Opera – for Mozilla, hold down the control key while clicking the link) , that will make your browser open the link you click in a new window.

Categories
usability weblogs

30 days to a more accessible weblog

Mark Pilgrim (dive into mark) is writing up a whole month of good tips on how to make your weblog more accessible.

Its really a usability exercise – and most of what he is talking about can easily apply to all other forms of web sites too.

I’ve already implemented a few of his tips. They are probably not obvious to the regular IE-browser-user but to others its hopefully of help. With weblogs most of us are already using template based systems – so taking the time to implement features that helps just a few procent of your visitors is fast and easy – and if you have a few visitors a year – that will quickly add up to at least a hundred persons that gets better access. I think its worth investing a couple of minutes for those people – don’t you?

BTW: I would love feedback to what I can do better here – let me know in the thread to this posting.

[Via Mario Klingemann]

Categories
flash usability

Jakob Nielsen wants you to Flash him

Jakob is looking for examples of Flash-Based Applications and tools for user testing.

So if you have a Flash based tool, or you know of good Flash based tools that Jakob should usability test, then you can contact Hoa Loranger at Nielsen Norman Group

Categories
flash usability

The Flash usability discussion continues

John writes about a usability discussion that is going on at the CHI-WEB mailinglist. Involving, amongst others – Donald A. Norman of Nielsen Norman Group and Chris MacGregor of Flazoom.com.

Check out the postings so far

Categories
flash usability

Usability in focus at Macromedia.com

Its the week of User-centered design at the Des/Dev center over at Macromedia.com:

Flash 99% Good – Written by Kevin Airgid and Stephanie Reindel. This is chapter 8 of the Flash99% Good book that has been made available both as HTML and PDF download at Macromedia.com. Chapter 8, “The Future of Flash,” covers Flash as a front end to web services, Flash and broadband, and the future of Flash usability.

Ready, Set, Go: Usability Testing – Written by Elizabeth McLachlan and Leanne Waldal at Otivo.com. Goes through the process of setting up a usability study. With a brief look at how you plan for, conduct, recruit users, execute and analyze the results of a usability test.

Start Now: Develop with Users – Written by Jared Braiterman, Ph.D.

jaredresearch.com. Knowing your audience. Creating profiles and scenarios to design a site that meets the needs of your target audience.

[Via Flazoom]

Categories
flash usability

Follow up: Nielsen to make “best practices” document for rich internet applications in SWF

Chris MacGregor has written a very good reply to Jakob’s latest addition to his “Flash 99% Bad” paper. You did notice that he has added text to it now, text that I am sure wasn’t added because of the job he now has gotten for Macromedia, after all – he is a serious researcher and have more integrity than that, right?

Read Chris’s: The Cooler: An Open Letter to Jakob ‘MX’ Nielsen

Nielsen himself weighs in on the announcement with an addendum to his Flash: 99% Bad column, but unlike the other posts, Nielsen’s is filled with factual errors and misplaced back-patting. Let’s take a look and correct the errors and offer credit where it is due

Chris knows a whole lot about Flash and usabiltiy. If you are interested in this debate, you should take the time to read what he is saying.