a technique used to evaluate a product by testing it on users. This can be seen as an irreplaceable usability practice, since it gives direct input on how real users use the system.

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115
votes
16answers
6k views

How to discover what users NEED and not what they WANT?

I have been thinking a lot about my favorite quote from Henry Ford: If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said 'Faster Horses'. -Henry Ford The trouble I have been having is that ...
78
votes
17answers
15k views

What is best practice for designing form error messages?

I've seen quite a lot of research on form design, but so far, I haven't come across any studies on error message design best practices. The only piece of advice seems to be that each error should ...
42
votes
7answers
3k views

How do you prevent scope creep in agile projects when usability testing?

I have a client who recently asked me about this problem. I was wondering how you'd handle it? They are new to UX and to Agile methods, so they are struggling in interesting ways. As part of a ...
40
votes
5answers
4k views

Why does the space bar do page down in browsers

Why is the space bar doing a page down in some viewer apps, especially browsers and PDF readers? For me this seems to be a bit counter-intuitive, and also this behaviour affects games and other ...
39
votes
21answers
3k views

Do I really need a login button?

We've been having a discussion in the office surrounding a login page we're developing for a new web application. The web application is in intranet-based application, and is mainly used by users who ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

What objective qualities make a user interface intuitive?

How is intuitive defined in terms of UI? Are there any studies about what objective and measurable qualities make a user interface intuitive? What design principles, patterns, or approaches are most ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

Studies showing that the more form fields there are the less conversions you will get

Same old story really; another client is requesting that they need x number of fields on their Contact Us form, and no amount of explaining that less=more will suffice without providing objective ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

How to design for people not willing to learn?

During quite a few usability tests in the past I have noticed the following: A test person gets a simple task to achieve. Lets say "Book a flight from A to C via B". He should then fulfill the task ...
23
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does the golden ratio work? Or does it?

This is just one example of an article promoting use of the golden ratio in design. Over the past few years I've seen quite a few similar articles, but none of them really seem to go into depth beyond ...
19
votes
7answers
305 views

What's the biggest surprise you've had in a usability test? [closed]

Usability tests often present some real surprises where the participant's mental model does not match what they're presented with. What are the biggest or most interesting surprises you've come ...
19
votes
2answers
545 views

Apart from safety, has there been any research conducted, hopefully current, with respect to user-experience and right- vs left-hand traffic?

Background The terms right-hand traffic and left-hand traffic refer to regulations requiring all bidirectional traffic, unless otherwise directed, to keep either to the right or the left side of ...
18
votes
4answers
683 views

Dark screens in cars

I am a designer just preparing an app for the "in car" area. Normally we have a bunch of colors to use and we usually use dark colors on a light background. Now our client came up with some question ...
17
votes
5answers
533 views

Usability results: 5 users fly through UI, 1 user fails. What to do?

Which approach do you usually take when a majority (5 of 6) of users can easily complete a task during usability testing while one user fails? I cannot really describe the task exactly but it would be ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Do we really need a “Remember me” option on a Login page?

I'm wondering why do we need to ask user to make a decision, for how long he want to be authenticated? This is done by having "keep me signed in" option login page: Why can't we simply "predict" ...
15
votes
6answers
787 views

UX impact of standard stock photos

It's pretty clear to me that standard stock images (examples 1 / examples 2) don't help to build a brand or identity. Are there any studies about the impact of stock images? Any other thoughts? In ...
15
votes
5answers
714 views

SUS Scores and Doubts

My team just started using the SUS to baseline our applications against each other. There are some doubts regarding the relation of the questions to web applications and web sites. At times study ...
14
votes
6answers
662 views

Correct terminology for “please the interviewer” bias?

I'm pushing usability testing within my workplace by performing some Steve Krug style usability tests, which have gone down so well that the product owner now wants me to add some marketing questions. ...
14
votes
1answer
499 views

Tufte's data density, readability and comparison

I'm intrigued by Tufte's data density. While I love his definition of data / ink ratio which can be easily measured, I have hard time measuring data density. He defines data density in a graphic as a ...
13
votes
7answers
607 views

Which makes for a better UX: using copy that is short and simple or copy that is casual, yet possibly more wordy?

In the context of a web app, which makes for a better User Experience: using copy that states the facts as simply as possible or copy that speaks in casual language, yet could end up being more wordy? ...
13
votes
9answers
167 views

How do you ensure that you've covered the whole site in your work?

I'm a relatively recent practitioner, and although my work's quality is pretty good, I still have one big back-draw (in my opinion): I always miss something or two when making or fixing a web site. ...
13
votes
2answers
579 views

Have usability studies been conducted on the use of alphanumeric characters as labels for controller buttons?

Controller Question Over the years there have been a wide variety of home consoles each with their own (mostly) unique controller designs1. One thing that most consoles have in common is their use of ...
12
votes
11answers
472 views

If people don't know what they like, how do we make things that they will like? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to discover what users NEED and not what they WANT? The question "What are your favorite counter-intuitive principles or ideas within UX?" has interesting responses ...
12
votes
11answers
593 views

How do you take notes at speed?

One of the things that I've quickly found out when doing usability testing and field studies is that it's hard to keep up with the pace of what's going on and take sufficient notes. How do you cope ...
12
votes
5answers
219 views

Helping participants in usability tests

I've just completed a round of lab-based, co-present usability tests as part of a usability audit for a web-based map application. I have ten tasks for the participants that require them to perform ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

full-color icons vs. greyed-out icons in menus

Icons in menus are often full-color. Even though the page an icon/menu item controls is not active, the icon still appears in its normal hues. To distinguish the icon which is active, a designer will ...
11
votes
4answers
164 views

How to rescue a usability test whose participant is lacking confidence?

Last night, I was conducting a usability test with a participant who was very uncertain of his actions. Before the test, I said all of the usual stuff about it being a test of the software and not ...
11
votes
5answers
763 views

How should I introduce participants to a usability test?

I've been conducting usability tests for a few years now for a variety of products and interfaces. These have been in-person and remote, high-fidelity and low-fidelity, structured and unstructured. ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Usability testing and responsive web design

What are your take on usability testing and responsive web sites? The flow of page objects, hiding and showing different types of menus or the resizing of objects could have a big impact on ...
9
votes
5answers
986 views

UI Lag: What's considered “smooth”?

I'm building a drawing application that let's users annotate images and diagrams in a freehand style. Not unlike a glorified MS Paint program, but there is heavy background processing going on. ...
9
votes
5answers
190 views

How can I produce an insightful, quick 'n' dirty usability report?

I was asked by the company I work at to make a usability report in a few days that shows the state of the current site under the following limitations: I don't have any budget or gifts to give to ...
9
votes
5answers
436 views

Usability testing for open-source projects?

I'm working (slowly) on an open-source project, and I was hoping to do some usability testing once it's a bit further along. Also, hopefully the GIMP devs will notice this question ;-). I'm not sure ...
9
votes
5answers
388 views

Research on Walk-up-and-use systems

I am interested in research on Walk-up-and-use systems. From what I found so far, Walk-up-and-use systems are described as "system that requires no explicit user training" (hci-hub, FH ...
9
votes
4answers
511 views

Paying test subjects for user testing/beta testing

I've read that focus groups are a poor way of conducting user research as it attracts professional focus groupers who work the focus group "circuit" for a living. This obviously has major drawbacks as ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Open source / free screen capture tools for user testing [closed]

What free tools are there on the Windows platform that I can use to capture what mouse movements and clicks a user makes during an evaluation? Ideal product would: Not be likely to crash and freak ...
9
votes
3answers
149 views

How can I structure a usability study to produce findings that relate to the long-term use of a tool by an expert user?

I am building a tool that will be used in a call center. The users range from part-time temps to 5 year veterans. I have personas that reflect these. I have two (quite different) prototypes of a ...
8
votes
4answers
383 views

While establishing Heuristics for usability testing,do you advise using your own heuristics or pre defined ones

I am conducting a usability study of medical content delivery systems and I was planning to use some heuristics present in a CHI paper for my Heuristic evaluation.However since the area of focus is ...
8
votes
3answers
587 views

How do you teach basic usability concepts to people who don't know anything about usability?

At the company I work for I'm the specialist in usability, we produce a lot of work and I try to get involved in the design as much as I can. However I do not have the time to work on every project ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

What should be maximum and minimum length of persons User Name & Password? [closed]

I am wondering because I am trying to make sure that person have right amount of spaces for their user name. User Name and Password are security measures and should not be easy to guess. I have fixed ...
8
votes
1answer
242 views

Applicability of Fitts law in expert user scenarios

Fitts law states that "the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target.". Simply put, if user is about to click/tap/press a ...
8
votes
2answers
198 views

How do people react to voice commands in AI?

I'm looking for documentation on how people react to talking to an artificial intelligence system like, say, Siri (especially now that iOS6 has dictation). How 'comfortable' is it to use voice ...
7
votes
6answers
664 views

How do approaches for UX differ between intranets and normal websites?

I have been asked to offer advice for the development of an intranet for a large international company. The client will be developing the intranet in Sharepoint and is keen to use a user-centric ...
7
votes
4answers
431 views

How usable are digital whiteboards?

I am building a whiteboard that records what is written to it and that is connected to the internet. One of my primary focus is usability. The whiteboard is not like standard digital whiteboards. It ...
7
votes
4answers
176 views

Conveying that usability problems exist to developers, cheaply!

I'm a developer transitioning towards design/usability. I'm giving a talk to the devs at my workplace on design basics and guidelines with a little sneaky UX teaching on the side. My goal is to work ...
7
votes
2answers
249 views

Where can I find usage Heatmaps of common user interfaces?

I found this amazing Mozilla Firefox usage Heatmap and find it a great insight into the usage of Firefox and browsers in general. Are there other resources which have similar heatmaps for use of ...
7
votes
4answers
700 views

Is it good to hide url bar from Mobile websites?

Is it good to hide url bar from Mobile websites? By default it shows. but there are some JavaScript tricks which can hide the bar on page load. but user can get back by dragging from top. For a ...
6
votes
10answers
509 views

Isn't all user testing essentially a way of gathering how people think things should work?

When user testing is performed, users are often presented with a serious of variations of a product and observed to see where they excelled and where they had trouble. People will often click in areas ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Any usability studies on password strength meters?

I put together a password strength meter for a signup form, and overall it works very well. It hooks into our DB for the "rules" (number of characters required, mix of letters and numbers, etc.), and ...
6
votes
5answers
447 views

How do you recruit users for usability evaluation?

Pick random people? Use a service like usertesting.com? What do you do?
6
votes
4answers
610 views

Software to record a user completing a task

We are building a survey/testing website and one feature we would like to include is asking a user to research something on the internet. Give them a "fake" address bar to put the first URL they want ...
6
votes
4answers
149 views

What are factors to take into account when evaluating the effectiveness of symbols?

I'm mainly looking for referrals to studies that were objective in evaluating the effectiveness of a series of symbols, but open to opinions based on anecdotal experience too.