[Myth] Users make optimal choices

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Myth #15: Users make optimal choices

In an ideal world, users would scan through your entire page to find the very piece of information they’re looking for, but research shows this is not the case. Usability tests prove that people tend to choose the first somewhat reasonable choice that catches their eyes.

That is, once they come across a link whose label refers even a little to what they’ve come for, they’ll click it. This is due to their experience that guessing wrong and hitting the back button is still more efficient than reading a whole page to find an exact match.

This behaviour, known as satisficing, is a well-known decision-making strategy in psychology. Continue reading

Apple Watch

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Check out this video where Apples Senior VP Design, Sir Jony Ive, talks about the Apple Watch.

Do you think this tiny screen will provide a comfortable user experience?

At first, when I saw the presentation, I found the interface pretty bad, with a usability that can cause problems. But in a matter of UX, is a matter of usual usage, whatever…

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[Myth] Aesthetics are not important if you have good usability

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Myth #25: Aesthetics are not important if you have good usability

There are usability practitioners who completely dismiss the importance of aesthetics, often citing unattractive but popular websites such as Craigslist.

However, aesthetics do have a function. Attractive things work better. Studies show that emotions play an important role in the users’ experience. If a website has a pleasant visual design, users are more relaxed, tend to find the website more credible and easier to use. A positive first impression — usually based on looks rather than interaction — determines the value of the website on the user’s behalf.

Aesthetics also tell a good many about your brand, product or service. They show that you care. Continue reading

[Myth] Icons enhance usability

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Myth #13: Icons enhance usability

Many researchers have shown that icons are hard to memorize and are often highly inefficient. The Microsoft Outlook toolbar is a good example: the former icon-only toolbar had poor usability and changing the icons and their positioning didn’t help much. What did help was the introduction of text labels next to the icons. It immediately fixed the usability issues and people started to use the toolbar. Inanother study, the team of UIE observed that people remember a button’s position instead of the graphic interpretation of the function.

In most projects, icons are very difficult to get right and need a lot of testing. For abstract things, icons rarely work well.

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[Myth] Usability testing = focus groups

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Myth #26: Usability testing = focus groups

When it comes to collecting feedback from users, usability tests and focus groups are often confused although their goals are completely different.

Focus groups assess what users say: a number of people gather in order to discuss their feelings, attitudes and thoughts on a given topic to reveal their motivations and preferences.

Usability testing, on the other hand, is about observing how people actually use a product, by assigning key tasks to users and analyzing their performance and experience. Continue reading