fleck's blog

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

The latest Alertbox states that only 39% of the screen elements for the web sites studied were devoted to navigation and content. But that's 39% of everything that appears on the screen, and Nielsen admits that site owners have no control over OS and browser overhead. If we look instead at elements that are controllable by site owners, the "average" site's navigation and content take up almost 49% of this "controllable" space.

That seems to be a more relevant statistic (although it doesn't make for good sound bites).

Evidence-based usability guidelines

Tonight I attended a great presentation by the leads on the usability.gov project. (Despite the .gov domain, this is not a government-specific site.)

They really sold me on the use of evidence-based guidelines for making site design decisions. One of the many interesting points: practitioners tend to view their own experience-based usability guidelines as being strongly supported by research-- even if the research isn't there. We can point to research-based guidelines to resolve the inevitable conflicts that arise when many different parties (internal and external) bring differing design experiences to a project.

Currently there are 50 guidelines on the usability.gov site; by the end of this year 200+ will be posted. Awesome.


W3C/NIST Workshop on Usability & the Web

This looks interesting...if you're near DC you might want to attend. Cost is cheap-- a 1-2 page position paper.

Focus of meeting: "discuss usability of documentation, web usability, and products of various W3C working groups."

Date: 4 - 5 November, 2002

Location: NIST HQ in Gaithersburg (near Washington D.C.), Maryland, USA [This is a very cool building-- hopefully we'll get a tour]

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