Friday, 27 August 2010

Content Strategy author interview

Discussion of the book "Content Strategy for the Web" between the author Kristina Halvorson and UIE's Jared Spool. Audience questions lead to some useful help and tips.

Friday, 20 August 2010

User testing questions to avoid

A really useful article to improve your usability testing technique. It's so easy to ask leading questions; Jared Spool highlights 3 big no-nos.

Interviewing users

Jakob Nielsen outlines the benefits of interviewing users, and warns of the aspects of this kind of feedback you should treat with caution.

Newspaper usability review

A head-to-head comparison of the usability of two big Scottish newspapers' websites. Covering a range of criteria, with examples and advice, it's worth a read.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Bad link & menu labelling - McGovern

A nice, quick article in which Gerry McGovern rails against the useless, meaningless labels that find their way onto our websites. Catch-all terms that have no meaning to the website user.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Website tone of voice

A good introduction to getting the tone right for your website. The benefits, what tone of voice is (and shouldn't be), and how to go about developing it.

Working your tone of voice online - article by Dan Fielder for Webcredible

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Remote usability testing advice

A useful article if you're considering the quick and cheap option of remote usability testing. Nate Bolt does a good job of discussing some pros and cons.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Are you your target audience?

An interesting article by Jared Spool about when good things can happen without user research. He talks about  successful applications (it applies to websites too) where the target audience was the same as the people doing the development.

Better error messages

I've been writing help text and error messages this week for a new development on the University's content management system. A couple of articles from Caroline Jarrett have been really helpful.

Benefits of personas

Jared Spool looks at three particular benefits of using personas to inform the website development process. With each benefit, he illustrates his point with examples of how personas were used by development teams.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

University homepage cartoon commentary

The venn diagram cartoon by week or so ago really caused a stir. I must have received it from 10 different sources. Now there's a commentary article about it on a US higher education professionals' website.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Blog eyetracking - Nielsen's findings

Jakob Nielsen has recently conducted eyetracking of corporate blogs to help inform a forthcoming writing for the web seminar. As with ordinary websites, overwhelming the user at the outset is the key thing to avoid.

So here goes Mr Nielsen; I'll give it a try...

Website comment moderation strategies

Opening up your website to comment by your visitors can bring tremendous value to your content. But with this comes a few risks and a management overhead.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Half of site searches are unsuccessful

Overview of a paid report which provides a couple of interesting insights. There's also a summary PDF to download.

Free usability & analytics session in Edinburgh

Edinburgh usability company Uservision are running a free session on Web Analytics and Usability twice this autumn in September and November.

5 influential usability papers

If you're particularly into usability, this blog post is worth investigating. I have the papers printed and on my reading pile.

Content strategy resources

Too many websites get built without a clear focus. Or once they're handed over for ongoing management, whatever focus there was gets lost in the day-to-day grind. Content strategy isn't necessarily easy, but it's a key contributor to an effective, lean and focused website.