Monday, October 22, 2012

10 useful usability findings and guidelines

I've just discovered this Smashing Magazine article on 10 useful usability findings and guidelines.

I'll be referring to this again for sure.

In short they are:
  1. Form labels work best above the field
  2. Users focus on faces - and also look where faces face
  3. Quality of design is an indicator of credibility (users judge a book by it's cover, shit design, layout, consistency, typography, errors, typos, usability, rate of update erode credibility)
  4. Most users do and don't scroll - read the article, it makes sense.
  5. Blue is the best colour for links
  6. The ideal search box is 27-characters wide
  7. White space improves comprehension
  8. Effective user testing doesn't have to be extensive (5-15 people)
  9. Informative product pages help you stand out
  10. Most users are blind to advertising (or things that look liek advertising)

Click here to find out why you should never use click here

One question I'm frequently asked by publishers and people who generally want to revise their "bit" of the website I mainly work on at the moment is why can't we use phrases like "Click here" or "Our address is shown below".

It's sometimes hard to explain but this article from Smashing Magazine sums it up nicely; which I've further summarised below as:

  • Click here emphasises mouse interaction (press here is more apt for a touchscreen, press enter here perhaps for a screen-reader?)
  • Click means nothing if you're using a screenreader which reads links in isolation.
  • Links should tell you about their destination / behaviour - "Click here to download pictures of naked ladies" vs "Download pictures of naked ladies".
  • Not using click here can help you simplify your links - "Click here to see Hugh's photos" vs "Hugh's photos"
"The challenge is to make your links communicate “click here” without actually saying “click here,” and there are many ways to do this. It will take some thought and effort on your part, but in the end, users will benefit with a better experience"