The Most Popular UX Articles of 2011

Jeff Sauro, PhD

Thank you to the 585k visitors and 1.3 Million page views on in 2011.

Of the 52 articles written in 2011, in ascending order, here are the 15 most popular:

  1. Reversing the order of survey items probably hurts more than it helps: Many surveys and questionnaires include a mix of positive and negatively worded items. This approach is intended to reduce response biases but likely causes more pain than gain. The research for this article won an award at CHI 2011.
  2. Heuristic Evaluation vs. Cognitive Walkthrough: These terms get used a lot and often interchangeably. What’s the difference and the research behind these poplar UX methods?
  3. Usability as key driver of Revenue: Everyone wins when you can show that improvements in usability increase loyalty and ultimately revenue.
  4. What is a good task-completion rate ?: While it might be the fundamental usability metric and fall nicely between 0% and 100%,it’s not always clear what a good task completion rate is (as over 300 tweets would suggest). Here’s a look at several hundred tasks for a start.
  5. The Methods UX Professionals Use: This article got the most Tweets of 2011 ( over 500) and speaks to the interest in seeing the growth in unmoderated and moderated testing as well as the classic methods of lab-testing, card-sorting and surveys.
  6. How to quantify comments: What do you do with hundreds of comments about a task or interface? You consolidate and quantify.
  7. Do users read license agreements? : In a word, No. But have you wondered how long users spend on those ubiquitous license agreement pages and should we even bother ?
  8. Six controversial topics in usability: Looking for a conversation starter (or stopper)?Here are six topics any UX professional will likely have an opinion about.
  9. Diagnosing Interaction Problems with Cause and Effect Diagrams: There is usually more than one reason why users have problems completing task with an interface. Use this effective method for figuring out what those are and fix them.
  10. 10 Tips for Benchmark Usability Tests: Measure how usable the experience is now with a benchmark usability test, make improvements, then measure again to see how much the experience has been improved.
  11. 14 burdens placed on the user: Sometimes the best user experience is removing the user from the experience.
  12. How much are you worth? Do you get paid to improve the user experience? See how you compare to one of the more comprehensive salary surveys in the industry.
  13. 10 Things to Know about Usability Problems : At the heart of usability evaluations are finding and fixing usability problems.
  14. 8 Ways to Show Design Changes Improved the User Experience: There’s no doubt a need to quantify the positive impact of better design (and likely a future book from Rosenfield Media)
  15. Measuring Usability with the System Usability Scale (SUS): In the 25th anniversary of the most popular questionnaire for measuring usability there are still a lot of questions. Here are some answers which almost 20,000 people thought were worth a look in 2011.


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