Usability articles at Webcredible

The article on 10 ways to orientate users on your site is useful because more and more users arrive at our sites via search engines or deep links. Keeping these tips in mind when designing sites helps us give users a sense of the scope, structure and purpose of a website, no matter whether they start from the front page or three levels down.

How to embed usability & UCD internally “offers practical advice of what a user champion can do to introduce and embed usability and user-centered design within a company” and includes ‘guerrilla tactics’ or small steps towards getting usability implemented. But probably the most important point is this:

The most effective method of getting user centered design in the process is through usability testing. Invite key stakeholders to watch the usability testing sessions. Usability testing is a real eye-opener and once observed most stakeholders find it difficult to ignore the user as part of the production process. (The most appropriate stakeholders are likely to be project managers, user interface designs, creative personnel, developers and business managers.)

I would have emphasised the point above even if they hadn’t. The difference that usability testing makes to the attitudes of internal stakeholders is amazing and can really focus the whole project team on usability and user-centred design.

I’m sure it’ll be eons before it trickles down into the museum sector, but it’s an interesting change:

Nielsen/NetRatings to use total time spent by users of a site as its primary measurement metric

In a nod to the success of emerging Web 2.0 technologies like AJAX and streaming media, one of the country’s largest Internet benchmarking companies will no longer use page views as its primary metric for comparing sites.

Nielsen/NetRatings will announce Tuesday that it will immediately begin using total time spent by users of a site as its primary measurement metric.

Nielsen/NetRatings will still report page views as a secondary metric, and it will continue to reevaluate its primary metric as technology continues to evolve, Ross added. “For the foreseeable future, we will champion minutes if you are comparing two sites. Going forward, we’ll see what that equates to in terms of true advertising opportunity,” he said.