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For example studies on what makes for the most effective shopping cart, how people prefer to view photos in their browsers and on their phone, what people appreciate in a search engine, whether left hand or top navigation performs better, etc.

Resources that I can use to inform my decisions when I set out to build something.

Are there any sites that aggregate this kind of research / experimentation?

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The Nielsen Norman Group conducts excellent user experience research. They post articles for some research and make reports available for a fee for others.

Here are two articles touching on the examples you gave:

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This was going to be my response as well. NNG does some really great research, I'd definitely follow them to get their updates. –  Mark Hazlewood Nov 4 '13 at 20:38
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There are some good resources at SURL.org and I strongly suggest becoming a member of ACM.org as they have a very deep library of research. Not a lot is directly targeted at the things you may want, but there is a lot of research that you can apply to things you are doing.

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