Category Archives: commentary

How real users view your web site

I’m running some remote usability tests this week where I ask participants to share their desktop with me. I’m viewing the tests on a 30″ Apple Cinema Display and it’s easy to forget the lower-spec hardware that many users still struggle with day-to-day. Here’s a screenshot from one participant: you’ll notice:

  • Users install lots of crap in their browser (either deliberately or inadvertantly).
  • The browser chrome and toolbars take up over a third of the display.
  • When viewing the results of a Google search, just one natural search result appears above the fold.

I’m not saying that this configuration is typcial, but it’s certainly not unusual to find this when you look at the way “real” users use the web, rather than the digerati.

Snapz_pro_xscreensnapz002

Social: Good news for burglars?

It won’t have escaped your attention that everything needs to be social these days. I imagine design teams huddled in dingy rooms, having been told by senior management that they can’t emerge until they’ve made their app or web site ‘more social’. 

The culture is to make ‘sharing’ a default option. Since we know that people tend to go with the flow and accept the defaults, this makes it less likely that people will stop and question what they’re sharing. 

And there are risks with this kind of behaviour. 

For example, by announcing your location on Foursquare, you’re also announcing that you’re not at home, which is good news for burglars. Then I came across this today after buying a CD player on Amazon. 

Amazon

You’ll see that Amazon are encouraging me to share my purchase on Facebook and Twitter. 

Enlarged view:

Screen2
I doubt that someone will want to burgle me for a £30 CD Player but if I’d just bought an expensive digital camera or a computer, it might be different.