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A year ago, Jakob Nielsen's firm, Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) looked at the usability of apps on the world's hottest new computing device, the iPad. What it found: problem areas that create "significant user confusion." The three most prominent: low discoverability, low memorability and accidental activation of UI elements.
At the time NNG conducted its study, the iPad was new, so it wasn't unexpected to see that iPad apps were still rough around the edges usability wise. The tablet is a decidedly different device, and with no best practices yet developed based on real-world observation, developers of iPad apps were sort of left to experiment.
Jakob Nielsen's latest Alertbox post contains some useful tips on mobile usability, using a Korean pop music site as an example and making ten design changes to improve it.
These changes provide some useful tips for mobile sites in general, but are especially relevant publishers and aggregators like NewsNow to make their mobile interfaces more appealing and clickable to users.
The iPad is selling like hot cakes. Already, Apple has sold more than 1m of the tablet devices.
But how does the iPad stack up in terms of usability? According to a study conducted by Jakob Nielsen and his firm, Nielsen Norman Group, there's room for improvement.
Using the web isn't easy on mobile devices, especially in the case of websites not designed for mobiles, according to usability studies from Jakob Nielsen.
According to Nielsen, mobile sites performed poorly in user testing, with the average success rate for tasks performed on mobiles just 59%, compared with 80% for regular websites.
While it may be a common security feature, masking passwords as users type them in may be causing login problems and lost business for websites, according to Jakob Nielsen.
Nielsen also argues that this isn't even necessary as a security feature, since users aren't normally overlooked when typing in passwords, while a determined snooper can simply watch your keystrokes anyway. I have my doubts though...
Link building is one of the most important elements of a viable SEO strategy. Yet it's also one of the most difficult and time-consuming.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that acquiring lots of inbound links is a goal and some even go so far as to buy links in bulk (a no-no) in the hopes that it will offer a shortcut.
The BBC's descriptive yet concise news headlines are a great example of writing for the web, and are always written to the 'highest web usability standards' according to usability guru Jakob Nielsen.
He cites headlines like 'Mass Thai protest over leadership' and 'Iran accuses journalist of spying' as best practice examples, with the average news headline containing five words and 34 characters.
While regular drop-down menus on websites can be bad from a user experience perspective, bigger versions can improve usability by overcoming the drawbacks and allowing users to see all the options at once without scrolling.
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen makes this point in his latest Alertbox post, recommending the use of such menus to improve the user experience, as well as providing some tips on making 'mega drop-downs' more user friendly. I've been looking at a few examples of drop-down menus...
The mobile user experience on most websites, even when accessed on the best devices, leaves a lot to be desired, and companies need to optimise their sites for the small screen.
This is usability guru Jakob Nielsen's verdict in his latest Alertbox column, and having accessed a lot of websites on mobile recently, it's hard to disagree with this point of view.
Nielsen's latest Alertbox post this week looks at the issue of press area usability for journalists, finding that plenty of the websites studied fail to adequately provide information for such visitors.
Poor usability and lack of information in press areas will result in journalists deciding not to include a company in the article they are writing, or else force them to get their information from third party sources, and can represent a lost PR opportunity.