Usability Problems

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Finding and fixing usability problems is fundamental to improving the user experience. How common problems are (the frequency) and how impactful they are (severity) should be treated independently in order to meet that goal. While it's generally straightforward to count how many times you observe a problem in a usability test, assigning severity ratings to problems can be more challenging. Most usability tests will uncover

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Finding and fixing usability problems in an interface leads to a better user experience. We often think of usability testing as the only method for evaluating the usability of a website or application. There are, however, other methods that can help uncover usability problems. These methods can be broken down into empirical (usability testing, surveys, and analytics) or inspection methods (expert review, heuristic evaluation, cognitive

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Ever wonder why you keep encountering the same usability problems on the websites and apps you use?  Sure, many organizations don't conduct usability tests on their products, but many do, what explains the persistence of such problems?Finding and fixing usability problems is one of the most effective ways for improving the user experience on websites, applications and hardware.  But just because a problem is identified

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Seeing is believing. Observing just a handful of users interact with a product can be more influential than reading pages of a professionally done report or polished presentation. But what if a stakeholder only has time to watch two or just one of the users in a usability study? Are there circumstances where watching some users is worse than watching no users at all? Watching

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After I conducted my first usability test in the 1990's I was struck by two things: just how many usability problems are uncovered and how some problems repeat after observing just a few users In almost every usability test I've conducted since then I've continued to see this pattern. Even after running 5 to 10 users in a moderated study, there are usually too many

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If only one out of 1000 users encounters a problem with a website, then it's a minor problem. If that sentence bothered you, it should. It could be that that single problem resulted in one visitor's financial information inadvertently being posted to the website for the world to see. Or it could be a slight hesitation with a label on an obscure part of a

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Traveling is hard. Traveling with children is especially hard. A number of things can go wrong, making the trip difficult or even nonexistent. Some problems are nuisances (sick and/or hungry kids, delayed flights, or the wrong sized rental car), while other problems will lead to failure, which in this case means not reaching your destination on time (forgetting your passport or sleeping in and missing

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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 and Mistakes: Two Types of Errors It can be helpful

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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 often a severity rating. Problem severities can be based on

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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 We've all had the experience of fixing the same problem

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