September 29, 2002  

Usability Glossary

Usability First provides a very usable (pun intended) and extensive glossary of usability terms. Use the glossary...

Posted by seralat at 08:52 PM | Permalink
Filed in: Usability

  September 11, 2002  


In my opinion, one of the best resources not just on usability but also information architecture and web design in general. To quote the About page, " is a mission driven by John S. Rhodes, to provide you with outstanding usability information for all of your Internet endeavors. The site is devoted to helping you improve your Internet presence. is unique in that it takes a very broad approach to usability and human factors. John gives you quality information about everything from the usability of email to reading on the web to gaining the trust of your users." Visit WebWord...

Posted by seralat at 04:27 PM | Permalink
Filed in: Usability, Weblogs/Webzines
Usability InfoCentre

A compilation of links to other articles and original content from the folks at Frontend in Dublin, Ireland. Visit the Usability InfoCentre....

Posted by seralat at 04:23 PM | Permalink
Filed in: Usability, Weblogs/Webzines

  August 27, 2002  

An interview with Jeffrey Veen and Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path

This interview by Digital Web covers topics including the definition of information architecture, overall design concepts and how IA relates to usability, and Adaptive Path as a business. Read the interview...

Posted by seralat at 10:50 AM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Definitions, IA - Practical Approaches, Usability

  August 09, 2002

"Your resource for designing usable, useful and accessible Web sites and user interfaces." This is an incredible collection of very useful (no pun intended) information about creating accessible web sites, put together by the National Cancer Institute. Visit the website...

Posted by seralat at 06:49 PM | Permalink
Filed in: Usability

  July 26, 2002  

Usability News (Wichita State)

Usability News is a project of Wichita State's Software Usability Research Laboratory (SURL). You'll find a wealth of academic research on usability topics, many of which have direct application to IA practice. Visit Usability News...

Posted by seralat at 12:36 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Academic Approaches, Usability
Determining Cognitive Predictors of User Performance within Complex User Interfaces

"This study sought to assess the full extent of intellectual functioning across participants by administering the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI), along with administering a mirror-tracing task to assess their perceptual-motor skills. The participantsí scores on the individual factors of intelligence and perceptual-motor skills were then examined in relation to their search performance on a complex website interface." From an article by Michael L. Bernard, Chris Hamblin, and Brett Scofield in Usability News, a project of Wichita State's Software Usability Research Laboratory (SURL). Read the article... [via Webword]

Posted by seralat at 12:33 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Academic Approaches, Usability

  July 25, 2002  

ROI for Usability

Steve Vosloo of Usability Junction collected the following list of links on the return on investment ("ROI") for usability and posted them to the SIGIA-L a few weeks ago.

Posted by seralat at 05:22 PM | Permalink
Filed in: Business and the Internet, Usability

  July 18, 2002  

Feature: Jared Spool, a Man with a Task

"Take equal parts determination, curiosity and mischief. Mix in frustration with system design that takes no heed of end-users. It's a successful recipe for running User Interface Engineering, the Massachusetts-based Web research and consultancy company. The man in charge is Jared Spool." A conversation between Ann Light and Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering. Read the interview...

Posted by seralat at 09:38 AM | Permalink
Filed in: Usability

  July 17, 2002  

Beyond Usability:Process, Outcome and Affect in human computer interactions

"Users respond to interface 'beauty', and tend to relate usability to aesthetics in a fairly predictable fashion. Furthermore, users do not predict their own performance (process and outcome) accurately, especially at the early stages of use with a new interface. It is clear therefore from our studies of users that evaluations based on single experiences with technology do not provide stable estimates of long-term (or even medium-term) usability." From Andrew Dillon, of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at UT Austin. Read the paper...

Posted by seralat at 02:45 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Academic Approaches, Interface Design & Layout, Usability

  July 14, 2002  

Automatic for the User

Mary Deaton, in her September 2001 Web Shui column, comments on aspects of usability analysis appropriate for automated testing. "Potential clients of mine regularly complain that user-centric design costs too much to build. Usability testing in particular is said to be too expensive. To meet cost-conscious demands, a few enterprising dot-commers have produced tools that they claim will monitor your site, then tell you how to increase its usability. But a boxed solution seems too good to be true when it comes to usability.... I don't mean to imply that automation tools have no use for Web builders hoping to improve site usability. But you must consider the worth of a particular tool in your effort to improve usability and decide if the added value offsets the cost. " Read the article...

Posted by seralat at 05:15 PM | Permalink
Filed in: Usability

  June 30, 2002  

Achieving Usability Through Software Architecture

From the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute, "In this paper, we present an approach to improving the usability of software systems by means of software architectural decisions. We identify specific connections between aspects of usability, such as the ability to "undo," and software architecture. We also formulate each aspect of usability as a scenario with a characteristic stimulus and response. For every scenario, we provide an architecture pattern that implements its aspect of usability. We then organize the usability scenarios by category. One category presents the benefits of these aspects of usability to users or their organizations. A second category presents the architecture mechanisms that directly relate to the aspects of usability. Finally, we present a matrix that correlates these two categories with the general scenarios that apply to them. " Read the article...

Posted by seralat at 09:53 PM | Permalink
Filed in: Usability
Usable Tools: Usability Logger

"Usability Logger is a project based application. It acts as a repository for multiple participantís usability session data. While other loggers store one participantís data in one file, Usability Logger allows you to create a project and define all participants involved and all common tasks/scenarios." See the tool...

Posted by seralat at 09:44 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Tools & Software, Usability

  June 27, 2002  

Usability News (British HCI Group)

A project of the British HCI Group, this site provides articles and information on usability issues from a British perspective. Read the Usability News...

Posted by seralat at 10:57 AM | Permalink
Filed in: Usability, Weblogs/Webzines

  June 26, 2002  

A Quiz Designed to Give You Fitts

A February 1999 Ask Tog column that highlights the importance of Fitts Law ("The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target. ") [Google search on "Fitts Law"], "So you think you are an interaction designer? Not if you cannot answer all the following questions quickly and with authority.... If you're not an interaction designer, but you know oneóor you are thinking of hiring oneóslip them just the questions, and see how well they do. I've used variations of this quiz for years during the interview process to good effect." Read the column...

Posted by seralat at 02:41 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Practical Approaches, Interface Design & Layout, Usability

  June 17, 2002  

Usability Experts are from Marx, Graphic Designers are from Venus

A List Apart article by Curt Cloninger, "The war is not between commercial sites and experimental sites. It's not between "Bloggers" and "Flashers." This war is between usability experts and graphic designers." Read the article...

Posted by seralat at 07:09 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Commentary & Criticism, Usability
So, What Size and Type of Font Should I Use on My Website?

From a 2 February 2000 article for Usability News by Michael Bernard & Melissa Mills, "This study examined TNR [Times New Roman] and Arial fonts for readability (accuracy in reading text material), reading time, perceptions of font legibility and sharpness, as well as general font type/size/format preference. To accomplish this, we used an IBM compatible computer and chose a monitor resolution of 1024 x 768 to reflect the current trend towards higher resolutions (GVU, 1998)." Read the study...

Posted by seralat at 07:03 PM | Permalink
Filed in: Interface Design & Layout, Usability

  June 15, 2002  

When Kids Use the Web: A Naturalistic Comparison of Children's Navigation Behavior and Subjective Preferences on Two WWW Sites

"This paper reports the results of scavenger-hunt usability tests conducted with 16 adolescent children (8 males and 8 females) in two age groups (12 years old and 16 years old), using two general-interest topical Web sites. The tests yield comparison data regarding both search performance and self-reported subjective preferences. The sole independent variable affecting search performance was the age of the subject, from which the authors conclude that children's domain knowledge may be a key component of their ability to retrieve information successfully from Web-based systems. Subjective preferences of children are systematically compared to previously reported preference data for adults who tested the same topical Web sites. Based on these data, as well as on insights based on subjects' verbal protocols, conclusions regarding both commonalities and differences in Web usability requirements between adults and children are suggested." By Terry Sullivan, Cathleen Norris, and Martha Peet—of the University of North Texas—and Elliot Soloway of the University of Michigan. Read the study...

Posted by seralat at 10:12 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Academic Approaches, Usability
Text Display Readability Work

An excellent set of academic research papers on the subject of fonts and screen readability by Dr. Lauren Scharff of the Department of Psychology at Stephen F. Austin State University and Al Ahumada from NASA-Ames. See the resources...

Posted by seralat at 09:38 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Academic Approaches, Interface Design & Layout, Usability

  June 13, 2002  

The Intersection of Information Architecture and Usability

A Webword interview with Alison J. Head. "Q: How do you define Information Architecture (IA)? Why is it special? In a few words, what does it impact? A: A good place to start. This is a question that comes up more and more in my work as a usability expert. Fundamentally, IA is about creating navigational and organizational structures that put users in touch with the information they need, when they want it. From a usability point of view, I define five key components that make up the field of IA. They are: 1) organization, 2) content, 3) labeling, 4) navigation, and 5) search. An information architect's typical deliverables (blueprints, wireframes, metadata, thesauri, and vocabularies) are highly valuable and can have great impact at making the Web the kind of useful and workable information retrieval space that most Web users only dream about." Read the interview...

Posted by seralat at 09:01 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Practical Approaches, Usability

  June 11, 2002  

Usable Web

"Usable Web is a collection of links about information architecture, human factors, user interface issues, and usable design specific to the World Wide Web. Value adds: descriptions, multiple organizational schemes (by date, topic, destination, author, popularity), search engine queries to even more resources." Brought to you by Keith Instone, this is an excellent resource list for usability professionals and anyone interested in information architecture resources. Visit the website...

Posted by seralat at 11:56 AM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Resource Collections, Usability

  June 05, 2002  

Usability Professionals Association

"The Usability Professionals' Association was formed to:

  • Provide a network and opportunities through which usability professionals can communicate and share information about skills and skill development, methodology used and/or proposed in the profession, tools, technology, and organizational issues.

  • Present the viewpoints of the profession to the public and other interested parties.

  • Educate the general public and others on the usefulness of the profession.

  • Represent the profession before governmental bodies and agencies.

  • Provide the methods and means to increase the members' knowledge of the profession through seminars, newsletters, magazines, and other communication tools, and through meetings and conventions.

  • Serve the best interests of the usability profession." [About]

Visit their website

Posted by seralat at 10:01 PM | Permalink
Filed in: IA - Professional Associations, Usability