Usability resources

A list of resources, articles and do-it-yourself materials for those interested in usability and the user experience.

General

Affinity diagramming:
A simple but powerful technique for grouping and understanding information.

Writing Usability Reports:
Clear communication when reporting is crucial.

Facilitation techniques:
Tips for running successful workshops.

Handling logged data:
How to log and manage large data sets.

Pre-publication checklist:
A simple quality control checklist.

Website Redesign:
A case study illustrates suggested steps to take during a redesign.

Reading list:
A selection of books on usability and related topics.

Designing for Children:
A brief set of guidelines on designing for children,

Analysis

Cultural Probes:
A self-reporting technique for user needs analysis.

Contextual enquiry:
A technique for examining and understanding users and their tasks.

Site visit materials:
Schedule, script, interviewer guidelines, and logging sheets.

Design

Scenarios:
A powerful and simple technique for describing user interactions.

Card sorting:
Exploring how users group items, to help develop a usable structure.

Paper prototyping graphics:
A simple low-tech collection of user interface elements for paper prototyping.

Participatory design:
Conducting design sessions with all stakeholders is higly efficient.

Documenting a user interface:
How to communicate your design.

Evaluation

Conducting Walkthroughs:
A simple paper-based multi-participant variation of usability testing.

Usability Testing:
The gold standard in usability evaluation, usability testing is a relatively simple technique.

Usability Testing Materials:
Schedule, guidelines and script – materials you can use when conducting tests.

Usability Testing Mistakes:
Usability testing can be simple, but beware of some common pitfalls.

Conducting Usability Reviews:
How to conduct a usability review (or heuristic evaluation).

Usability Review Materials:
A simple format and severity matrix for use when conducting a review.

Web Evaluation Materials:
Checklists for evaluating websites and online stores, and a sample report.

Voice Interaction Evaluation Checklist:
A checklist for evaluation voice user interfaces.

Structure evaluation:
A simple process for evaluating website or other information structures.

Articles

The Myth of the Stupid User: If users are “stupid”, then we need to design accordingly.

Humans – A Designer’s Guide:
The quirks and characteristics that present such a fascinating challenge to the designer.

Usability for Technical Communicators: Technical communicators are well placed to engage in a usability role.

Apprehending the obvious: Why do organizations fail to take action based on what they already know?. Gerry Gaffney’s article discusses this.