Working toward making a web site more "usable" rather than "prettier" is always a good idea. While we often get lost in having our web sites designed in a way that pleases us, this is not exactly the best way to make our audience happy and coming back for more. What readers are seeking is not really any kind of "prettyness" but the ability to easily read our content, to scan the page without being overwhelmed by distracting elements and to be able to easily navigate to other parts of the site intuitively.
Photo credit: Tyler Olson
Website usability can be a lifesaver when it comes to identify pitfalls in your web design or navigation scheme, as these may represent at times the greatest obstacle and frustration for many new potential customers.
A website that is beautiful to look at but which commands lots of patience and attention to unfold its value areas will never be as effective as a site with less bells and whistles but which takes the users straight to the information they are looking for.
With the specific goal to help you improve the usability of your web site contents we have prepared a curated digest of the best articles and reports on website usability published on MasterNewMedia during 2010. Specifically, here is what this guide covers:
Here all the details:
Personas or personae are fictitious profiles that design and marketing professionals draw to identify particularly relevant and popular user-profiles within a certain demographic. In this non-technical report Alistair Gray shares how to create personas without going crazy, and how to use personas as your best customer profile reference.
by Alistair Gray - May 7th, 2010
Website usability testing identifies a precise methodology devoted to uncover specific bugs, idiosyncrasies and ambiguities in the way that website design impacts the effective use, legibility, navigation, and user experience of your website. In this guide you can find the best free website usability testing tools available out there.
by Daniele Bazzano - March 8th, 2010
If you are building a new website from scratch or you are thinking of redesigning your existing website layout, usability testing is a very effective way to gain useful insights into how to best organize your content layout and site navigation for your readers. In this guide you can find all the best paid-for commercial website usability testing tools now available on the market.
by Daniele Bazzano - March 15th, 2010
Effective, practical web accessibility is much more important than correct, academically correct and 100% standards-compliant code. Here is a comprehensive, non-technical guide on what to improve into your own web site.
by Drazen Dobrovodski - April 9th, 2010
In this report you will find a list of some of the most typical user behaviours taking place while visiting a web site, and while many of these should come as no surprise to you, becoming aware of them may greatly help you to identify what items to give priority to when you have the extra time and resources to do some design and navigation improvements.
by Alistair Gray - April 21st, 2010
This in-depth report may serve as a good source of inspiration to develop an effective strategy to deal with large amounts of content needing to be made easily findable in an easy, intuitive and visually-engaging experience for the final user.
by Stefano De Caro, Nicoletta Di Blas and Luigi Spagnolo - August 24th, 2010
While Part 1 of this report dealt more with the theory and the challenges behind the design of a large cultural web site, Part 2 explains what are the actual steps you need to take to organize and present information in simple and engaging ways without overwhelming your final readers.
by Stefano De Caro, Nicoletta Di Blas and Luigi Spagnolo - September 1st, 2010
Originally prepared by Robin Good, Daniele Bazzano and Elia Lombardi for MasterNewMedia, and first published on December 30th, 2010 as "Website Usability: The Best 2010 Articles And Reports From MasterNewMedia".
How To Use Personas In User Experience Design And Development Research - Adaptive Path
Website Usability Testing: Guide To The Best Free Tools And Services - Heat map of MasterNewMedia homepage created with Feng-GUI
Website Usability Testing: Guide To The Best Professional Usability Testing Tools And Services - Heat map of Google homepage
Website Accessibility: How To Make Your Website Highly Accessible And Standards-Compliant - Andrea Danti
Website Design: Ten Areas Where You Can Learn From User Behaviour - Jesper Noer and mashed up by Robin Good
Information Architecture: How To Improve Content Findability On Your Web Site - Part 1 and 2 - Ndul
Originally written by Robin Good and first published on MasterNewMedia.Robin Good -