Measuring Errors in the User Experience

Errors happen and unintended actions are inevitable. They are a common occurrence in usability tests and are the result of problems in an interface and imperfect human actions. It is valuable to have some idea about what these are, how frequently they occur, and how severe their impact is. First, what is an error? Slips

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10 Things To Know About Usability Problems

If you collect nothing else in a usability test it should be a list of problems encountered by users. It seems so simple yet there is a rich history of how many users you need to test, what constitutes a problem and which method to use. A usability problem should have a name, description and

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Is That A Usability Problem Or A Feature?

If you ask independent usability evaluators to run a usability test and report the problems found you’ll get largely different lists of problems. While there are many causes for the differences, one major reason is that evaluators disagree on what constitutes a problem. Usability is often at odds with security and business interests—what’s best for

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Diagnosing Interaction Problems With Cause And Effect Diagrams

It’s good to think positively, but sometimes, negative thinking can solve problems more effectively. There’s no shortage of problems on websites and software. Many of them are interaction problems. Users can’t login Visitors can’t find the products in the navigation Customers are calling support Sales are low Conversion rate are down Fixing Symptoms not Problems

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Can Users Self-Report Usability Problems?

Usability doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming or involve lots of users. Jakob Nielsen popularized this discount services two decades ago. A focus on finding and fixing problems by testing early and often with small-samples generates major insights. More recently Steve Krug has taken this informal services to the masses by encouraging website owners

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How common are usability problems?

Just how common are usability problems in websites and software? Surprisingly there is very little out there on the frequency of usability problems. Part of the reason is that most usability testing happens early in the development phase and is at best documented for an internal audience. Once a website is launched or product released

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Usability Evaluators: Reliable as Radiologists?

      Does this man need back surgery? Does this woman have breast cancer? Does this website have usability problems? Chances are you’re not qualified to answer the first two questions but probably able to provide some answers about the third.  This image comes from the Hotel Pennsylvania website. It was the subject of

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Will Five Users Really Find 85% Of All Usability Problems?

If you ask five users to take a look at a website or application you will find usability problems. If you fix those problems then ask another five users you will get another set of problems. Over time there will be fewer and fewer problems found, but a new set of users will still continue

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Do Severe Problems Affect More Users Than Trivial Ones?

While testing with five users might reveal 85% of problems that impact 31% of users (given a set of tasks and user-type), it doesn’t mean you’re finding 85% of the critical problems.  Are severe usability problems likely to occur more frequently, less frequently or is problem severity independent of frequency? The data on this is

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