Archive for January, 2007

what is the point?

January 16, 2007

Why do people that design, create, write for websites still publish blank placeholder pages informing the user that content is still to be added. I can pretty much guess that if there is no link or reference to the desired content on the website, then it’s not available.

Why wind me up, by teasing me with a link that takes me to place with nothing there? It is just irritating and I have just expereinced it on a golf website, where I was thinking about buying a set of new clubs – but what have I done instead – left the website, vented my frustration on here and more than likely will not go back.

Don’t do it – it is irritating and more importantly to the company, they have lost a sale!


what user testing is not – part 2

January 12, 2007

In my last entry What user testing is not, I spoke about the use of wireframes and screen shots of visual design as a means of getting user’s feedback. The following day, I had to put together a few pages for a client to show how a site might look and work. Before I sent it off I asked some of my peers to review and provide comments, with the instruction – ‘don’t pay too much attention to the image as this is just a placeholder. I am proposing that we have an image here, but it won’t be this one’. 

50% of respondents commented on the image, in that it didn’t fit with the design etc.  

This is an example of why wireframes and visuals are not useful in user testing as they will not see beyond what they are looking at.

What user testing is not

January 9, 2007

User-centred design incorporating user testing is not:

  • Showing them wireframes, or
  • Screenshots of visual designs


  • Wireframes are fundamentally meaningless to a user, and
  • with visual designs they will comment on colours and whether or not it is visually appealing to them.

User testing is about witnessing a user’s interactions with an interface. This will give you a great insight into whether a user can use your website/software, informing you of things you perhaps didn’t expect to see and things the user didn’t expect to experience.

My point here is quite simple; lets not cut corners and claim to have engaged user’s in the design process when all we have done is given them a sneak preview of what it might look like.

Comparison websites

January 8, 2007 vs 

Looking for car insurance have it right in when you fill out an online form to get a quote I want it then and there – not a message like ‘one of our advisers will contact you. If the technology allows, keep it automated. But before I criticise too much – their method is possibly more reliable, I haven’t tried – it’s just an assumption as came back with a ridiculously low quote, which I didn’t quite believe, so I investigated a bit further and went to apply for the quote with the proposed broker who then gave me a much higher quote. 

This also happened to me when checking out travel insurance, I got a quote for about £15 for one week travel to USA/Canada the average cost everywhere else was £35-£40.  

So they have made me suspicious, I’m not convinced about their credibility; the result being I’m not really likely to use it as I don’t trust it. I’m not saying that is giving inaccurate quotes – but it is the impression I get and you know what they say: ‘perception is everything’.