Authors Posts by Craig Tomlin

Craig Tomlin

I've been improving revenue with online marketing, usability & conversion optimization for start-ups, small businesses and Fortune 500 firms since 1996. I'm a Certified Usability Analyst and multi-award winning marketer. Contact me for website usability testing and audits!

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360 UX Videos from 54 Conferences

36-UX-Videos-UsefulUsability360 UX Videos from 54 UX and Design conferences around the world. Watch these to learn UX design from the masters.

360 UX and Design Videos from 54 design conferences around the world means you can watch a video a day, with a few breaks for the holidays, for an entire year! The fine folks at have put this treasure trove together, so a shout out to them.

Think of the knowledge and skills you would acquire in UX and design in just one year from one source.

If you are a UX designer, researcher, product manager or website owner, these videos are a goldmine of good advice and guidance. Watch talks from experts such as:

  • Jesse James Garrett
  • Peter Merholz
  • Mike Monteiro
  • Don Norman
  • Jared Spool
  • Luke Wroblewski
  • and 354 more!

Why 360 UX Videos Matter

The reason why these 360 UX videos matter is because of the ability it provides you to get into the minds, and hearts, of the UX greats. By hanging out with people who we aspire to be like, we change ourselves and improve on our own abilities. Watching these videos, especially if you commit to one a day is the same as hanging out with these industry luminaries.

Videos, Conferences and Speakers Categories

A nice feature of the site is the ability to sort videos by conferences, speakers or by category. The categories of videos are tagged and include:

  • UX
  • Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Google
  • Government
  • and a host of other tags

Another nice feature is the ability to sort by newest, oldest, top rated or low rating (why low rating? I’m not sure).

A minor annoyance is the stealthy darker gray on lighter gray text the categories and tabs use. This breaks UX Golden Rule #9, “Strong Contrasting Text Colors Help Visitors Read and Engage.” But other than that this is a really nice way to find all the UX videos you could wish for in one handy locale.

Conclusion: 360 UX Videos

Alright, enough reading about the 360 UX videos, let’s go watch a few! View the UX Videos on and let me know which videos are your favorites!

Additional UX Video Resources

10 Must See UX Videos – UsefulUsability

25 UX Videos That are Worth Your Time – SmashingMagazine

UX Week Videos – UX Week

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Why A/B Testing Needs Usability Testing, aka Why Opposites Attract

Why A/B Testing Needs Usability Testing by UsefulUsabilityWhy does A/B testing need usability testing? Because opposites attract, and the benefits received by coupling A/B and Usability testing can go far in improving the UX of a website or app. In fact, it’s better than any other method. Here’s why.

Way back in the dark ages of 2009 I wrote a three part series on A/B Alpha/Beta and Usability testing, asking the question of which one is better.

To summarize the pros and cons of A/B testing and usability testing from the three part series:

A/B Testing positives:

  • Fast (testing can be set up and run in a day)
  • Tests reality, not theory
  • Quantifiable with statistical significance
  • Accurate (winner almost always performs at that level)

A/B Testing negatives:

  • Can hurt results (B version failure can cause reduced conversion)
  • Missing critical “why” data (no data to explain why a version won)
  • Not predictive (data not available to determine what to test nex)
  • Needs traffic (doesn’t work on prototypes or apps with no users)

Usability Testing positives:

  • Doesn’t hurt results (testing does not impact conversion)
  • Provides the “why” data (qualitative data answers why users do what they do)
  • Predictive (results can determine what next to test)
  • Doesn’t need traffic or even a live website or app (testing available from concept through production stages)

Usability Testing negatives:

  • Trained professionals required for unbiased results
  • Won’t reveal all issues
  • Results can vary
  • On-going testing is difficult

How A/B and Usability Testing Compliment Each Other

A/B and usability testing complement each other in several ways.

First. Did you happen to notice how the four negatives for A/B testing are actually the four positives for usability testing? That’s right, the issues inherent in A/B testing are actually strengths of usability testing, and vice versa.

Chart of A/B Testing Cons and Usability Testing Pros:

A/B Testing Cons Usability Testing Pros
  • Can hurt results
  • Doesn’t hurt results
  • Missing critical “why” data
  • Provides the “why” data
  • Not predictive
  • Predictive
  • Needs traffic
  • Doesn’t need traffic

Second. A/B testing provides the quantitative side of UX data, and usability testing provides the qualitative side. The quantitative ‘what’ of user experience choices your website and app visitors make is the A/B data is augmented with the ‘why’ for those choices coming from qualitative usability testing data.

Third. A/B Testing coupled with usability testing provides an end-to-end view into the user experience of your website or app. By coupling the data, you have a much clearer picture of the engagement happening in your site or app. You also will have the data to know how to impact and improve on that engagement. Finally, you’ll have the data to evaluate your results and move forward with your next set of testing and optimization.

Why A/B Testing Needs Usability Testing

The benefits of combining A/B testing with usability testing are many and include:

  • Complete quantitative and qualitative data for more informed decision making
  • Comprehensive view into the user experience of your app or website
  • Ability to use data to predict what additional tests can increase engagement
  • A 360 degree view of data to use for continuously optimizing your app or website

By combining A/B testing with usability testing, you’ll find your testing and optimization efforts produce far better results, which is a win for you, your firm and your app or website users.

A/B Testing and Usability Testing Resources:

Three Part Series: Usability, A/B or Alpha/Beta Testing, What’s Better?

Part 1 – Usability, A/B or Alpha/Beta Testing, What’s Better? Part I A/B Testing

Part 2 –  Usability, A/B or Alpha/Beta Testing, What’s Better? Part 2 Alpha/Beta Testing

Part 3 – Usability, A/B or Alpha/Beta Testing, What’s Better? Part 3 Usability Testing Usability Testing Section

WikiPedia Usability Testing

14 Usability Testing Tools


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15 User Experience Details You Missed, with bonus details provided by UX gurus!

15-User-Experience-Details-You-Missed-UsefulUsabilityThese 15 user experience details can be missed by novice and expert web designers alike. Paying attention to these UX details will improve your website, guaranteed!

And as a special bonus, included with these 15 UX details is a special extra section of additional UX details from leading UX gurus including; Daniel Szuc (Founder UX Hong Kong), Jan Jursa (@IATV), Dave Garr (Co-founder UserTesting) and Rich Gunther (Former UXPA President).



1. Don’t bury important stuff below the fold.

Never forget UX golden rule number 1: If your website visitors don’t see it, it’s not there. According to Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile, among millions of sessions evaluated across the web, the average visitor spends ONLY 15 SECONDS on a page! Put your important stuff near the top, above the fold, and for good measure repeat it at the bottom of a page if you have longish pages.


2. Don’t break the back button.

For navigation within your own site, do not use hypertext or other links using “target=_blank” to spawn new tabs. This breaks the back button, which web visitors use when they go the wrong way looking for their content.

Remember UX golden rule 2: Do not break the back button, or you’ll potentially lose your visitors forever.


3. Mobile UX: Use hamburger menus.

The defacto system for mobile main navigation is a hamburger menu. Most mobile visitors know hamburger menus and use them to reveal navigation. Since they are a standard today don’t fight human nature, use hamburger menus in mobile versions of websites.


4. Desktop UX: Don’t use hamburger menus.

Do not use hamburger menus on desktop sites! Remember, mobile hamburger menus HIDE navigation. On desktop screens, you have PLENTY of room to provide your web visitors with the visual navigation they need to be more efficient. Remember, if your website visitors don’t see it, it’s not there. Do NOT use hamburger menus for desktop based websites.


5. Always provide a “home” page link.

Typically, long-tail search queries (meaning search queries with more than 3-4 words, drive the bulk of your website traffic. Those visitors typically visit a deep page in your website first, before they visit your home page. Providing those “deep-link” visitors with a global navigation link to your home page will help you engage with and retain more of your deep-linking website visitors.


Visual Affordance

6. Links should look like links.

Do not hide your all important links, use different colors and/or underlines to visually identify your link. Never forget UX golden rule 6, Content is not King, Engagement is. Content is but a tool to drive engagement, never the other way around.


7. Visited links should look like visited links.

It’s important to help your website visitors navigate your pages, to help them quickly find the content they seek. Use different colors for visited versus unvisited links to help them navigate your site more efficiently and let them know where they’ve been.


8. Use buttons that look like buttons.

Flat design has caused some designers to make buttons look like other (non clickable) design elements. Use visual affordance to make your buttons look like buttons and you will have more website visitors clicking them.


9. Use contrasting colors.

Readability and thus usability of content requires strong contrasting colors. Dark text on a light background works best for easy reading. Use of subtle shades of like-colors, or lightly colored text on a light background, often cause usability issues, especially among older readers. Keep your colors strong and contrasting.


10. Calls To Action must have a strong, unique color.

Each page on your website should have a goal, and hopefully that goal aligns with the visitor engaging with your business. Calls To Action stimulate engagement and thus are the most important thing on a page for obtaining that goal. Emphasize CTA importance by using strong unique colors for your CTAs so web visitors can easily find and use them.



11. Use headings and subheads (h1, h2, h3, etc.).

Web visitors scan, they don’t read, at least not until they find the content they are interested in. Use headings and sub-heads to help improve scanning of content.


12. Visually chunk content.

Content chunking is a method of combining and grouping items into smaller pieces or chunks to make them visually easier to scan. As an example, consider two identical phone numbers: 15125551212 and 1 (512) 555 1212. Both are the identical number, but by chunking the numbers into smaller groups it becomes much easier for us to scan and read the content.


13. Use whitespace to improve scanning.

Adding whitespace to visually separate content enables improved scanning.


14. Use photos or videos to help communication.

Using photos and videos, especially for eCommerce websites or for educational content, helps communicate concepts that can be hard to comprehend using text only.


15. Utilize ordered and unordered lists.

Ordered and unordered lists help improve readability and scanning, by visually chunking or clustering information into content chunks and adding icons or bullets to help improve fixation and scannability.


Bonus Section, UX Details You Missed From UX Gurus

I reached out to several UX gurus, and here’s what they had to say about small but important UX details that are often missed.

Daniel Szuc:


Dan is the co-founder of Apogee, a top-notch design and UX firm in Asia. He’s a co-author of the book “Global UX” and was founder of UX Hong Kong. He’s a frequent speaker, lecturer and expert on usability, User Experience, Customer Experience and how they interrelate with businesses.

User-Centered Design. Understanding the customer’s task flow

Dan reminds us that a small but important detail to UX is to always consider the user’s needs, wants and mental map when designing any experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the need to execute functions and features, especially in an Agile environment. Rather than just producing features to hit a sprint timeline, carefully consider what the user wants in terms of their goals, how they think about a process, and craft the user experience to benefit and augment their task-flow.

Jan Jursa:


Jan is a highly active IA and UX leader and among other things is co-founder of the German IA Summit, MOBX Conference, MEDLove Summit and Editor in Chief of UX Stories. He tweets voraciously at @IATV. Here are Jan’s picks for UX details that often get missed:

Breadcrumb navigation. Gets omitted a lot in mobile web and app context–but is still important and valuable to the user.

Strong Calls To Action. Decide what action you want the user to undertake and present a call to this action that does stand out.

Context-sensitive Social Sharing. Provide social media buttons only on pages that actually have content users might want to like or share in a real world scenario.

Dave Garr:

Dave Garr photo, co-founder of
Dave Garr, co-founder of

As a co-founder of UserTesting way back in the dark days of 2007, Dave and his team have made a major impact for all usability practitioners across the world; a fast, low-cost and useful usability testing service that provides results in a day versus what used to take weeks. Here are Dave’s picks for small UX details that often are missed:

Label Confusing Icons. Use text labels on any icons that could be unclear

Strong Calls to Action.  Choose one primary goal or desired action for each page, and make it obvious.

Real-time Form Validation.  Use real-time validation on form fields (so users immediately know if they made a typo before they click “Submit”).

Improve Readability. Make sure fonts are large enough to be read easily (50-75 characters per line at 16 point font for desktop).

Test with Real Users.  Most importantly, test your new designs with real users before they go live!

Rich Gunther:

RichGuntherColor-125x171-UsefulUsabilityRich is the former President of the User Experience Professional’s Association and Principal of Ovo Studios, The Usability Team, and Principal Interaction Designer for Oracle.

Use Modality Judiciously. Users don’t like to feel boxed in.  Make sure that you aren’t locking them into a modal flow if it doesn’t have to be modal.

Ensure Accessibility. This isn’t just about alt-tagging your images.  As the web and mobile apps become more and more interactive, it’s imperative to consider how assistive technology can interact with your UI to provide a clean experience for users.

Look at things on Multiple Browsers. This is still a thing, even here in 2015.  Different browsers interpret the DOM (Document Object Model) of the page in different ways, and it can have catastrophic effects on layout, styling, and interaction.

Convey a Sense of Place. Whether it be a breadcrumb, a color scheme that alludes to different functional areas of the UI, or some other affordance, letting the user know where they are in the grand scheme of things reduces frustration.

Use White Space Effectively. Years of designing for desktop applications left us feeling like we need to draw a box around everything.  That isn’t en vogue anymore.  Simply grouping like elements together, and then separating them from other elements by space alone, still conveys the organization of information on the page, without cluttering it with “chrome”.

Conclusion: 15 UX Details You Missed

These 15 UX Details that You Missed, and those provided by our UX gurus, are important as many times experts and novices alike miss some of them. Review your websites to ensure you are maximizing your web visitors user experiences by checking for all 15 of these small UX details. By making sure you are using them, you will improve your UX and your website visitor’s engagement with your business.

Have we missed any? What are YOUR favorite small but important UX details that can get missed? List them in the comments section so we can all grow wiser in the ways of the force UX together!

Additional UX Details Resources:

How to Optimize Conversion with Six Persuasion Principles

Why do Pop-ups work so Damn Well?

Kill Conversion Killing Carousels Now

How One Word Increased Open Rates by 19 Percent

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How to Make a UX Research Persona video, Part 2 of 2

Watch the second part of the two part video series to learn how to make a UX Research Persona for user experience research or usability testing. Part 2 of a 2 part series.

UX Research Personas, we have the contextual inquiry data, now what?

Consolidate data and look for commonalities and patterns

Now that you have all your observations and data we discussed in the How to Create a UX Research Persona part 1 video, how do you synthesize it all into a Persona? Look for common patterns, specifically in terms of how the end-user goes about accomplishing their goal. There are several steps to looking for patterns, which include (PS, more detail in the video):

  • What are consistent work-arounds to existing problems?
  • What does everyone say repeatedly about a goal or desire?
  • What consistent task-flow successes, or failures, are shared among your end-users?

Put your draft Persona together (hint, work backwards)

Now that you’ve identified your common patterns, it’s time to start putting your Persona together. Many practitioners start by rushing off to find a great picture and/or name for their persona. However, there’s a better way to do this, and it’s by working backwards:

1. Start with end goal – What ultimately is the end-user wanting, what’s the desired end state?

2. Identify critical tasks – What are the top 1-3 critical tasks necessary for the end-user to be successful? This identification is necessary for usability testing, but not for general design or product Personas (although why WOULDN’T you find it helpful to know the critical tasks necessary for the end-users success)?

3. Document environment of use – Are there common places, devices or 3rd party tools that consistently are used or needed? If so (and they are important to the completion of the end user’s desired end-state) document them.

4. Define domain expertise – Is there a common domain expertise, meaning familiarity with the systems, terminology or processes? If yes, document them. An example is a claims processor for a large insurance company who has to be trained on the terminology and processes before utilizing an internal claims-entry system.

5. Create a name – Be sure to be culturally sensitive, focus on common names that are easy to remember and that can easily be used by your team. Names are important, don’t scrimp on spending time to find just the right name for your Persona!

6. Find a picture – As humans, we are visual creatures, so a face and name are important to humanize our Persona. I recommend real pictures versus cartoons or clip art, and if possible use pictures showing the end-user in context of use of the system. For example, if creating an app to find a lost dog or cat, a picture of a happy pet owner hugging their pet would be a good choice.

Things that all UX Personas have in common for UX research or usability testing:

There are thousands and thousands of variations of Personas out there, just do a search for “UX Persona” in Google images to see what I mean. However, for UX research and usability testing purposes most Personas should share the same things in common, including:

  • Picture – Important to personalize and humanize our persona, MUST be an accurate visual representation of our Persona. Don’t just use any random picture that sort of looks like a Persona.
  • Critical Tasks – Typically no more than 3
  • Scenario – Specific to the critical task or tasks, what is this Persona trying to accomplish?
  • Background – The background for the scenario, why is this Persona trying to accomplish a critical task?
  • Devices – What device or devices does our Persona typically use, or what 3rd party tools are required? Less important now as most people can and do use multiple devices, however still important especially if we are discussing B2B software or solutions that require specific devices.
  • Domain Expertise – How educated or familiar is the Persona with the subject matter, terminology and existing process flow? Do they have a good understanding of terminology and a solid mental map of how the process and task-flow should work, or not?
  • Environment – Again, less meaningful now that the internet is everywhere via mobile, still, it’s important to consider the context in which the user is engaged with your website or app.

You will see a huge variety in types of Personas, from the very detailed to the very basic. But for UX design and research purposes you can’t go wrong making sure you have the above data clearly defined for your Personas. Watch the video to learn why.

UX Research Persona Resources:

How to Create a UX Research Persona Part 1 – The first video in this two part video series on how to create a UX research Persona for user experience research and usability testing

How to Create a UX Research Persona Part 2 – The second video in this two part video series on how to create a UX research Persona for user experience research and usability testing

Personas – Research and techniques as documented by Forrester

Personas Introduction Video – A brief introduction into Personas, what they are, types of personas, and why Personas are important for you.

7 Signs You May Have a Problem Persona – Good article on how to spot potential issues with your Personas, and how to fix them.


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How to Make a UX Research Persona video, Part 1 of 2

Watch this video to learn how to make a UX Research Persona for user experience research or usability testing. Part 1 of a 2 part series.

UX Research Personas, where does Persona data come from?

Primary source of UX Research Persona Data:

The primary source of data is Contextual Inquiry. What is “contextual inquiry?” It is a user-centered-design ethnographic research method in which the researcher gets out with the people who we’re designing for, observing how they interact with systems in their environment.

How to conduct contextual inquiry research for UX personas:

  • Get out of the office: Go where your end-users are and observe them in their environment.
  • Observe: Just listen and take notes, let your end-user do most if not all the talking.
  • Probe: If someone says, “I like it because it’s easier for me to use,” ask “Why?” Drill down into the motivations and actions that ultimately cause satisfaction, or dissatisfaction.
  • Ask open ended questions: ALWAYS “What, why, how.” A good one is, “Can you tell me more about…?” NEVER ask close-ended questions like; “Would you… Do you… Is this…?”

Secondary sources of UX Research Persona data:

These do NOT replace primary source data (aka contextual inquiry data), they only add additional context to that primary data.

  • Website or App behavioral data: What content is or is not consumed? What click-paths are used to navigate? What search terms are entered in the search tool when people are searching for their solution? For existing websites or apps, there is a lot of behavioral data that can augment the contextual inquiry data.
  • Focus groups and surveys: Far less reliable than the other two data methods, as what people say they do is very often not what they actually do. Still, the data can be helpful as generalized inputs for the UX Research Persona.
  • Feedback and VOC data: This is also less reliable than contextual inquiry and actual behavioral data but still helpful for capturing user input. The issue with feedback and VOC data is typically input from the vocal minority is received, but not the input from the silent majority. Also, this doesn’t help you if you are building a new design or app that nobody has used yet.

Next steps after primary UX research has been gathered:

After gathering the contextual inquiry data, and any secondary data from the other sources, it is time to put it all together into a UX research persona. We will cover that part of the process in our next video.

UX Research Persona Resources:

Personas – Research and techniques as documented by Forrester

Personas Introduction Video – A brief introduction into Personas, what they are, types of personas, and why Personas are important for you.

7 Signs You May Have a Problem Persona – Good article on how to spot potential issues with your Personas, and how to fix them. Review a Mobile UX User Recording Tool is a mobile UX user recording tool that captures screen interaction, voice and video of the user directly from his or her device. Recordings are hosted on and can be downloaded for use in UX research and usability testing. is a good tool for mobile UX & usability research, but with a few issues to be aware of.

This review includes a video that displays in action. UX and usability practitioners should consider for their mobile UX research needs.

The Review by Craig Tomlin is an interesting tool for capturing mobile interactivity, including the screen interaction, voice and even the face of the tester. This is a good choice in tools for conducting UX and usability research on mobile websites, apps and related interactions. As with any tool, there are a few minor issues, but overall this is a great solution for UX researchers who need to capture and record the full range of user experience on mobile devices.

Video Review of

This video review of will demonstrate how effective this tool is in easily capturing the mobile user experience across devices. includes the ability to record all screen interactions on the mobile phone, plus the voice and even the face of the tester as they interact with their cell phone. This makes it an extremely valuable tool for capturing the full range of user experience on mobile devices. It’s a MUCH better choice than using clunky old-school approaches of mounting a mobile device to a stand and placing a camera over it. home includes several nice features, including a very simple and easy interface for the tester, the fact that it’s an all-in-one app so no extra 3rd party apps or functions are required and the ability for the tester to control whether the voice and video are recorded, or not (handy for those testers who do not like their face being recorded).

On the UX researcher side, the interface was for me a bit confusing at first as I struggled a bit to find my video. But once I had sorted out how to find my tester, invite them to my group and then add his video to my group it all became much easier.

I love that you can download the recording for editing purposes, and I appreciate the ability for multiple people in your group to be able to share and comment on the recording in the interface. Devices Supported devices supported include all your favorites including iPhones, OS X and Android devices. However, you should be aware of a few minor issues. requires the more recent OS versions of these devices, currently it supports:

  • iOS 8+
  • OS X 10.10+
  • Android 5.0+

Another issue to be aware of is that for iOS you do need to have a jailbroke phone, this will definitely be an issue for testers who are not comfortable doing that to their iPhones. also requires that the tester upload the video to the website after the recording is complete. The bad news is this can take a very long time, depending on how much you are recording. The good news is the app enables upload of the video when wifi is present, meaning you won’t have an irate tester who used all their month’s bandwidth trying to upload the recording. is a Good Way to Record Mobile UX is a very good way to record your mobile UX when conducting research into mobile websites, applications or functions and features that you need feedback on. I tested it and found the ease of use for both me and my testers to be very good.

If you are conducting mobile UX or usability research I recommend you go check out and test

Go ahead and give it a try, and let me and the rest of the UsefulUsability fans know what you think about it in the comments below!