All About Website Usability Blog – Holly Phillips


Reminder of usability basics: NNG and Gomez’s “10 Mistakes your website is making”
December 7, 2009, 4:55 am
Filed under: usability basics

Nielsen/Norman Group and Gomez recently presented a webinar on “10 mistakes your website is making – and how to fix them”.  While there’s nothing really new here, it’s a good refresher on the basics of usability.  Here’s a quick summary:

#1: Not recognizing that users don’t read; they scan
– “F” pattern
– 1st Two are important (2 words, 2 sentences, 2 paragraphs, etc.)

#2: Not balancing your and your user’s priorities
– E.g. Registration or request for customer info that gets in the way or is not a value add to the customer

#3: Ignoring Standards
– Search box location
– Emerging standard of having mouse-over for “quick look” of more details w/o leaving current page

#4: Using wrong images
–  Image must add to content, not just attempt to look good
– Image must be clear, right size
– “Approachable” image – real people, looking at camera

#5: Not speaking your user’s language
– Use meaningful names that distinguish items from customer perspective (not rely on descriptions to do this)
– Use of customer-provided product reviews can add ‘user language’ to the site

#6: Blocking Progress
– Don’t have extra steps that are not needed
– Don’t force users to leave a flow to get more information (or make them worry what will happen to the process if they need to leave the flow to get more information)

#7: Saying too much or too little (at one time)
– Don’t use terms that are not clearly standard (“large”, “fast”, etc)
– Suggest using ‘layers’ of information to keep from overwhelming user

#8: Not taking a walk in your user’s shoes
– Watch for issues that exist for users that happen outside your firewall (ISP issues, using images or page elements from different servers and not accounting for this)

#9: Not checking your work twice
– Check how site performs in different web browsers

#10: Not preparing for success
– Ensure highest possible user loading is considered so a spike in load does not crash performance levels
– Highest traffic often happens at most critical times for site to be up and running.

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