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Great Usability Websites & Blogs
Homepage of Usability Guru Jakob Nielsen. Loads of very useful usability tips. Features the same usable layout since over 10 years now. Love it!
Jared Spools Blog – News and Ideas on Usability. One of the most active voices on the net on usability
- Wireframe Magazine
Good Website about wireframe tools
Check out their tools & templates section
- Usable Web
786 links about usability – says it all
- Blog: Usability Post
Comments on usability news as well as feature articles
- UX Exchange
Ask all kinds of usability questions and a community of helpful UI Experts will answer them. Very helpful resource.
- Bokardo – Social Web Design
Excellent usability related blog run by Joshua Porter. Check him out.
Good Usability Articles
- 30 Usability Issues to be aware of
Gives a good overview of 30 most common usability issues one has to be aware of.
- Top 10 Mistakes in Website Usability
Jakob Nielsen’s timeless top 10 list on the biggest mistakes when designing a website. Most of this stuff is still violated today on a lot of big brand websites
- 10 Principles Of Effective Web Design
Good article on the background thought processes about UI when designing any website.
- 10 Useful Techniques To Improve Your User Interface Designs
Very good article on the details of UI.
- Get Wireframing: The All-In-One Guide
Super comprehensive guide to wireframing. If i had to start over this is the place i’d start from!
Web-based Usability Tools
- Google Analytics
The basis for measuring your websites relevant data. Bounce Rate, Site Overlay, Time spent on website… It’s all there. You gotta have it.
- Google Site Optimizer
Good for A/B split tests and increasing conversion. Tim Ferriss once again has a good post about it.
This tool is what the google analytics site overlay always should have been. They deliver really good data to see where people click on your website. See the demo. Click on Heatmap and Confetti. Tim Ferriss has also shown a good overview in his “How To Blog” Video.
Get cheap user testing via this website. You pay 29$ per user test. For that you get a flash video that shows you the interaction with the website as well as the spoken commentary of the user.
this is a really good tool to see if people understand the core message of your website. You upload a picture of your website and people review it for 5 seconds and then write down the 5 things that they remember about your website. you are gonna be surprised to see how little it actually is.
This website enables you to check how your website looks on other systems and browser. They got everything from strange old Unix os up till the modern Mac OS.
A tool like crazy egg. Heatmap style evaluation of your web site visitor. It provides something that google analytics would’ve done but didn’t. Great tool.
Desktop-based Usability Tools
- StomperNet Scrutinizer
This tool allows you to simulate the squint test by blurring websites and then additionally only shows the area around your mouse in clear view. That helps you to get an idea where people would go first on your website when you test your website with people who don’t know your website and use that tool. In my opinion not as correct as real eye tracking or camera recording of interaction. It also resizes the browser window to a standard size like 1024 x 768 to check if your website complies.
- Silverback for Mac only
This software records user session plus iSight user video. So now you can do a user test (speak aloud or similar) record where the person has clicked on your website and also a video with their face and everything they have said. When you play it back you see everything at once. Very handy.
Web-based Accessibility Tools
Accessibility is a very important topic in usability. You want to make sure that as many as people as possible are capable of viewing your content. That includes people who suffer from color blindness or other vision problems. Here are some tools that can help you check on that:
- W3C Link Checker & W3C Markup Validator and W3C Css Checker~
These are tools by the W3C to make sure your Markup and CSS is fine as well as links. This is the bare minimum you can do to make your website accessible.
- Wave Toolbar for Firefox
The WAVE Toolbar provides button options and a menu that will modify the current web page to reveal the underlying accessibility information. It provides an easy-to-use mechanism for evaluating the accessibility and usability of web content for people with disabilities
- Fangs Screen Reader Addon for Firefox
Renders a text version of a web page similar to screen reader output. Helps developers find accessibility issues fast.
- Juicy Studio Accessibility Toolbar for Firefox
Helpful toolbar to examine all kinds of accessibility features
- Firefox Accessibility Extension
The tool supports people with disabilities and web developers in navigating, styling and accessing text equivalents that are useful to people with disabilities.
- Lynx Viewer
See how your website behaves in Lynx a text only browser.
- Web Accessibility Toolbar
Toolbar for checking accessibility for the IE.
Web-based Wireframing Tools
Web-based (like google docs) flowchart and ui design tool that gets a lot of buzz recently on the web. I have tried and reviewed it too. Like it a lot. Payment is subscription based
Is a super nice wire framing app. It has loads of components and just way more as the aver application. there are components for almost anything you can imagine on the web. really cool app.
Good web-based wireframe tool. The wire frames look like hand drawn sketches. Quite cool tool. To use it professionally you need to buy a subscription.
Another web-based wire frame tool. Based in india. The tool is currently still in development.
Helpful online wireframe testing tool. You can create wire frames that look like they are hand drawn and interlink them and assign actions to items on the page. Check out the demo.
Very good looking wireframing app in beta stage. Liked it quite a lot.
Desktop-based Wireframing Tools
Highly efficient desktop based wireframe tool. Real good to use and simple to make wire frames. Trouble is, it’s pricey. I think a single licence comes for 500$. Check out the trial software if you like it.
- Balsamiq Mockup
Good desktop based wireframing tool for Windows and Mac.
Super powerful website structure visualisation and wireframeing tool. Pricing starts at $6,995 for iRise Professional Edition.
- Mockup Screens
99.95$ wire frame tool for Windows. Simple to use.
Usability Twitter Accounts to follow
- WeFollow.com Usability Users
WeFollow.com asks people through what they define themselves. Here is all the twitter users that have something to do with Usability
Jarred Spool on Twitter
Nielsen Norman Groups Twitter account
Leading usability consultant and super interesting twitter account.
Exepert on content and the usability aspects of it.
Joshua Porter of Bokardo Blog
Interaction Design Association on Twitter
iPhone and mobile related Usability. Very interesting!
The excellent Smashing Magazine on Twitter
if you need more continue reading below with lists of usability related twitter accounts …
Lists On Twitter With Usabilty Related People and Companies
- Usability-Lovers at TweepML
Collection of 50 or so Usability Accounts on Twitter
A list of Twitter Accounts related to Wireframing Tools.
Design Pattern Websites
Since certain functionalities on websites appear over and over again (login, register, etc) it makes sense to take them from pattern libraries. Here are a few of the best:
- UI Patterns
A lot of the most common patterns with screenshots and everything. Powerful website.
- Yahoo Design Patterns
49 patterns. Good stuff!
Books On Usability
- The Design of Everyday Things
This book teaches how usability improvements of everyday things could be done. Great read as it gets you in the right mindset for usability improving anything
- Designing Web Usability
This book is now quite old but the most of the stuff in there still applies. When you have read this book front to back you know everything to get started seriously in usability improving websites. Your not a pro but well equiped.
- Usability Engineering
Another classic by Jakob Nielsen. Easily readable information on usability testing and interface design. Well worth the time spent.
- E-Commerce User Experience
Now if you have an online shop (or applicable also to a lot of transaction based websites) THIS is the book you need. I know it’s quite expensive (when i bought it, it was even more expensive) BUT i have never learned so much about design of shopping carts from any other resource. I can only recommend this book.
- A Pattern Approach To Interaction Design
A good introduction to the concept and usage of UI patterns.
- Envisioning Information
This book is awesome. I was a bit weak sometimes in that area but Tuftes book helped me a lot with it. Presenting information visually is super important in UI as it speaks to both halfs of the brain and makes people understand easier. A must read!
- Don’t Make Me Think
Loved this book as it made me much more aware of that core principle in everyday work. Don’t make the user EVER think is key to designing a usable interface. It all needs to be a natural flow. Reduction of unnecessary is as always key to get there… for the rest, read this book.
- Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
Now this book changed mostly my perception of home page real estate. I didn’t even know the word/concept but it makes a lot of sense to see your homepage as your most valuable real estate you gotta be ultra sharp about what you place on the homepage. This book takes a look at 50 of the biggest websites homepage and analyzes them to the maximum. Really helpful to solve the ever-present question on what to put on a homepage.
- Prioritizing Web Usability
Another Jakob Nielsen masterpiece. Pretty much an update of his latest usability findings. What was helpful was that he addressed the question i always hear in most projects that i work for: “Do we need usability testing”… Nielsen has some good answers on ROI of usability. But the main focus of the book is on giving a comprehensive view of the most important ui principles.
- Eyetracking Web Usability
Don’t wanna spam Jakob Nielsen stuff here but i find his books just so useful. This book is about his findings in a 3 year-long eye tracking study where they looked at 1.5 Mil. instances of eye tracking. This book is so important to the average website owner because setting up a eye tracking test is still quite complicated so we usually don’t have access to that kind of data. Well this book is here to aid that…
- Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design