Thursday, March 17, 2005

Peter Schumacher on Online User Testing: "Know Your User (And You Are Not Your User)"

Peter Schumacher presented some early results of user testing he performed for a doctoral thesis at the University of Trier in Germany. Equipping test subjects with headgear that tracked their eye movements, he asked them to click through online infographics on two subjects: the 2004 European Cup and the Asian tsunami.

Some of his findings:

• Users expect highlighted items to be clickable, even if they are not
• Users want the ability to retrace their steps and move backward to a sort of "home page"
• The medium defines users' expectations- try to use interface conventions that are widely used in your medium, whether it is the web or mobile devices
• It's not hard or expensive to set up a user testing group, whether you use strangers, your friends or your family members


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