Cheap Mobile Usability Testing

Off the shelf mobile usability testing kit is very expensive, and even some of the “cobbled together” solutions can be hard to finance with shoestring budgets (read: startups). 

Harry Brignull from 90 Percent of everything has previously written about cheap ways to make usability testing “sleds” for your mobile devices.

A great solution was suggested by New Zealand-based UX expert Nick Bowmast, who recommends using a rectangular piece of acrylic, Continue reading

Top Ten Usability Findings of 2010

I think these findings have been “found” before, but its good to reassure the researchers that our assumptions are still valid.

Keep these, posted by Jeff Sauro on measuring usability, in mind as you design your next research project.

  1. 5 Second Usability Tests: Ratings of website usability after only 5 seconds are the same as those after 10 minutes.
  2. Unmoderated Usability Data is Mostly Reliable: Data from remote usability test takers is rather similar to lab based studies except for task-times which differ more substantially.
  3. Cheaters: Around 10% of paid usability testers will cheat on your test by rushing through the questions just to receive the honorarium.
  4. The Geometric Mean works better than the median for reporting the best middle task time for sample sizes less than 25.
  5. Usability accounts for at least 30% of customer loyalty: Net Promoter Scores correlate highly with scores from the System Usability Scale (SUS).
  6. Users Self-Reporting Problems: Users are able to find and report around 50% of the problems usability professionals find. Just asking users to report what problems they encountered, how severe they are and potential fixes can be a cheap and effective complement to other usability activities.
  7. Survey respondents prefer the left-side of the rating scale. The way you order your response options matters. People generally lean toward responses that are on the left-side. If you have more favorable responses (e.g. Strongly Agree) on the left you’ll get a slightly inflated score.
  8. Asking users to rate task-ease during a task lowers ratings: If you give users only five seconds to complete a task they will rate the task as much more difficult than those who are given no time limit. Contrast this finding with the 5 seconds tests results which shows that user attitudes about usability are different at the task vs. whole website level.
  9. Making survey questions more extreme will generate more disagreement: Scores will be higher if questions are all extremely negatively worded and scores will be lower if all the questions are extremely positively worded.
  10. Usability problems are almost 10-times more common on business applications than on websites

Nobody Reads Privacy Policies

Facebook is not the only site that tracks, shares and sells your data. You allow it everytime you click through that agreement. When was the last time you actually read through the whole agreement before saying yes? Never? Well, apparently you are not alone.

According to a study done by SelectOut, most people do not read them. There is a reason why: They are too long. Take a look at the infographic below to see what the averages are for about 1000 of the top sites.

The longest privacy policies among the top 1,000 websites would take around 45 minutes to read. The average policy takes around 10 minutes to read.

And while most of the websites (72%) allow users to opt out of tracking mechanisms, around 40% require their users to take a few extra clicks to the Network Advertising Initiative’s website to opt out.

Should privacy policies and terms of service be short and sweet enough for users to actually read them, or do you think that would increase tracking opt-outs enough that it would hurt the companies in question?

Social Statistics Overstate Findings

This latest ESP study from Cornell brings into focus an issue that we statisticians and behavioral analysts have been aware of for years; considering a finding “statistically significant” if there is less than 5% probability that the finding could have been found by chance does not take into account ALL the findings that could have happened by chance. Therefore, we get lots of results that are found later to be, at best, inaccurate, but more often, totally false (I’m looking at you, Wakefield!).

Continue reading