5 Lessons Learned from 100,000 Usability Studies

Usability1 This is something that happens all the time. People are always getting frustrated, confused, and angry while using web sites. If you’re around people enough to use the Internet, you will probably see it yourself every single day.

The people at Usertesting.com have watched hundreds of thousands of usability studies. With all of these studies under their belts, perspective has been gained when looking at the most common issues that impact users. Here are five of those in sites that we will share with you here.

Avoid Multi Level Navs

In one example, you could be trying to navigate a website, but you could end up having a hard time moving your mouse through multiple levels of navigation. Just when you feel as though you’ve found the item you wants, the entire navigation disappears. Something like this frustrates users all around the world.

A possible fix to this kind of navigation problem is to do something similar to what Amazon.com does where the entire section pops out.

For other possible solutions, and a more in-depth look into creating easy-to-use navigation, check out these resources:

Your Categories May Confuse Your Users

The way you categorize things on your website might actually be confusing your visitors. This is one of the most common things that are seen in user tests.

In one scenario, it took a user 48 seconds to find the correct category for small vacuum. She first looked in “electronics,” then went to “household,” and then finally found what she was looking for in “home and garden.”

At this point you’re likely thinking one of two things:

  • Either, “Silly person, it’s obvious that a vacuum would be in the ‘Home & Garden’ section.”

  • Or, “Silly designer, it’s obvious that ‘Home & Garden’ is a confusing category.”

It seems that one of the best ways to test out your side categorization is to ask someone to sit down your site and have them find a specific items without using internal search. This can be a simple, fast, powerful, and quite painful to watch.

Another way to improve your categories is to use a tool like OptimalSort or TreeJack.  OptimalSort is a sorting tool that makes it easy to find out how others believe your content should be organized. TreeJack to prove that this site structure works.

Internal Search Is Crucial

Did you know there is a good chance that at least 10 percent of your visitors are using internal search?  When doing a search, do you do the user’s know what the results look like?

Based on the studies, there are four common types of problems with internal search:

  1. Search results that don’t account for typos, plurals, hyphenations, or other variants

  2. A search box that isn’t long enough

  3. Search results that simply don’t make any sense

  4. Search results that aren’t sorted by priority

Since search results or sorted by Most Popular automatically, the first results for replacement batteries and filtration paper bags. That’s not a good thing.

If there’s one thing you should do in this case, look at your internal search logs and find the top 10 to 20 keywords that people search for on your site. Search for each of these terms on your own and see if the results to get are satisfactory.

Then, search for your company’s top 10 most important products. Are you satisfied with the results you got?

Finally, take a look for some generic, non product terms. Example, if you’re in e-commerce store, do a search for “returns”, “contact”, and “hours”. Are you still looking okay?

If your results are perfect, you’re doing fine. If not, you will need to change your search results to automatically sort by relevance.

Links Should Look Like Links

This one sounds like it should be pretty easy to do, but there are quite a few links that don’t actually look like links. If you don’t think it looks like links, how do you know you can click on them?

in another website usability test, where the individual, who is navigating a site that allows for video and picture uploading, is requesting a link to the “basic uploader” without realizing that “basic uploader” is already a link.

Naturally, in order to make your visitors happy, you need to make your legs look like links. This means that any link present on your page should be colored and underlined. Also, there should be different colors for links that have already been visited and unvisited.

Engage Your Visitors

You could have a website that is perfectly usable. Your website may have awesome navigation, clear categories, wonderful internal search, and the leaves look like links. But there still a problem. Your website is still boring.

Another way to put it, your website just is not engaging your visitors. People use the Site, and they could easily buy something if they chose to. But the problem is they total connection to the brand of the product. Is short, they just don’t care.

This is why it’s great to watch someone use your website, app or product. Bye seeing and hearing your erection, you can discover things about your website that you couldn’t find by simply looking at standard analytics data.

Tunnel Vision

Only 5 of the issues have been listed here. These are the issues that seem to pop up the most, but there are many other ways to websites can be turning off their visitors.

Because of the number of hours you could spend on your own site, chances are you’re blind too many of the issues that are confusing or frustrating your users. This is what we call tunnel vision.

This is why it’s essential to interact with your user base. Feedback is quite important in order to make your website a success.