Usability Problems

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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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Usability doesn't have to be expensive, time consuming or involve lots of users. Jakob Nielsen popularized this discount approach 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 approach to the masses by encouraging website owners to spend a few minutes a month watching users(or your

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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 what little usability testing is done is typically more on

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      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 the Comparative Usability Evaluation (CUE-4). Seventeen usability teams independently evaluated

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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 mixed. The paper from Bob Virzi in 1992 showed there

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Why isn't usability testing done more?  And when it is done why is the sample size small? One major reason is the cost. It takes a lot of money and time to bring users into a lab and conduct a usability test. Even if users don't get compensated for their time, it still takes a lot of time for a test facilitator to prepare for

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