2010 Top 10 Useful Usability Articles


The Top 10 Useful Usability Articles for 2010

Technically the year is not over yet, but I think it’s pretty safe to provide you with the list of the top 10 most popular Useful Usability articles.  Who determined the top 10 list?  You and your fellow readers did! My methodology was simple, I evaluated Google Analytics to determine the most popular content for 2010 as measured by unique page views.  Turns out there were a few interesting surprises in the list!

2010 Top 10 Articles from Useful Usability

So here then, ranked in order are the top 10 most popular articles as ranked by you…

1. 24 Usability Testing Tools

This article provides a list of 24 usability testing tools that I either use, or found particularly interesting.  The important thing to note about these tools is the vast majority are relative cheap and easy to use.  Trying out even a few of the tools from this list would be a great idea for any firm interested in expanding the amount and quality of its user research.

2. 15 Valuable Usability PDFs You Never Heard Of

A multi-year winner for top 10, this popular article lists 15 valuable usability documents in PDF form that many people may not be aware of.  It’s interesting to note that even though some of the research or findings are relatively speaking older, they still provide meaningful and relevant information on user experience best practices.  It’s definitely a list worth bookmarking.

3. Usability Is In The Details

This little article received a surprising amount of interest and comments, as it seems many people continue to be focused on improving minor, yet annoying, usability details as part of their optimization of interaction design.  The summary of this article in effect is a reminder to pay attention to the details, because even seemingly minor usability issues can cause vastly decreased performance and thus poor results.

4. How To Conduct A Usability Review

Students and practitioners alike seem to be interested in conducting usability reviews.  In my opinion this interest has increased over the years, which I attribute to the good job of educating and informing the masses on what usability is and why it benefits people and companies.  Hopefully this trend will continue to grow, as there are still plenty of examples of websites and applications that could use some improved usability mojo.

5. 5 Radical Ideas From Usability Presentations

I’m glad to see this article ranking so high, as it is one of my favorites and a good reminder that radical, meaning potentially useful, usability ideas are all around us, including in the 5 presentations mentioned.  I’m hoping that the growing interest in optimizing the user experience of websites and applications will extend well into 2011 and beyond and that we will be adding to this list with additional ideas.

6. 8 Free Tools For Good Information Architecture And Usability

This article lists 8 free useful tools for information architecture primarily, with extensions into usability.  There’s a growth of interesting free or cheap information architecture tools on the market and I urge you to try testing out a few new ones in the new year to see how they work for you.  You might just find a new favorite!

7. Usability Testing Makes Killer Online Marketing Campaigns

This article, an examination of how to use usability testing to make killer online marketing campaigns, is another favorite of mine, and I’m glad to see one of yours too.  This article is written for online marketing teams and is a reminder that one of the best ways to improve conversion is to conduct some usability testing prior to going live with a campaign.  Incremental improvements in conversion of 5 to 15% or more could easily turn a bust campaign into a goldmine.  I hope more online marketing teams will try usability testing of campaigns in the New Year, I think they’ll be thanking me (PS – If you feel like thanking me, I am easy to shop for, I like anything with a Dallas Cowboys logo on it).

8. 10 Must See Usability Videos

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It’s reassuring to know that people are actually watching some of these 10 must see usability videos, because according to my Google Analytics report the average on-page time for this page is well over 11 minutes.  I hope that more interesting talks and seminars will eventually make it up onto YouTube and related sites, video is a great way to present interesting and compelling user experience information.  If a picture paints a thousand words, then these 10 usability videos are rich libraries of billions and billions of useful words.

9. 7 Reasons Why You Can’t Sell Usability

Another of my favorites, 7 Reasons Why You Can’t Sell Usability is directly aimed at the freelancers, small companies and even mega firms that are trying to assist their customers and clients with improved conversion and better sales.  And between you and me another reason this is one of my favorites is because of the cool graphics I created to help visually express the story.  But hey, that’s just the inner artist in me talking, there’s lots of good content including a valuable list of further resources at the bottom.  If you’ve not read this yet I urge you to do so, you won’t be sorry.

10. Main Navigation Types and Usability Part 2, Vertical Navigation

This one completely surprises me for two reasons; first, I wrote this in 2009 and at that time I felt it didn’t receive a lot of comments or apparent interest, and second, I assumed it would be somewhat old news to interaction designers and usability practitioners.  I’m gratified to know I was wrong on both assumptions.  I never did finish the series off (the third installment was to be on footer navigation), I may have to correct that error and write the final article.

Conclusion: Top 10 Useful Usability Articles for 2010

So that’s the list for the 2010 top 10 most popular useful usability articles as indicated by unique page views.  If I’ve left out your favorite be sure to mention it in the comments!  And happy new year to you!