Web Usability Resources and Tools

Link Resources

Links To Web Usability Resources and Tools

More Than Screen Deep - Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Research Council convened a steering committee to evaluate and suggest fruitful directions for progress in user interfaces to computing and communications systems. A very informative site.

Adobe - Flash : Usability - Usability tips, examples, test case, quotes, related articles and a Flash forum for site developers.

AgeLight Institute - Guidelines written for webmasters, communicators and marketers to assist with website design for maximum usability for seniors and older internet users.

Alertbox - Jakob Nielsen's bi-weekly column on current issues in Web usability, focusing on simple and minimalist design based on real user needs.

All Things Web: The Usable Web - Tips and techniques for building reader-friendly Web pages.

alt tags - Muddling Through - Web site designers should think hard about how to keep users from muddling around on their sites. "Users muddle when it isn’t clear what they are supposed to do in any given situation."

AnyBrowser.com - Web page viewer presents a site as it might be seen by visitors with different browsers.

Art and the Zen of Web Sites - Suggestions and guidelines for putting together a usable and attractive web site.

BBC News - Web design 'causes confusion' - Web designers are not on the same wavelength as surfers when it comes to creating sites, says a US study.

Bohmann Usability - News weblog covering web usability in Europe.

Croc O' Lyle - Weblog by a practicing User Experience Architect. Usually about usability, design information architecture and e-business.

Designing a More Usable World - Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin. Excellent guidelines for universal web design.

Don't Link to Us - Highlights stupid linking policies by linking to web sites that attempt to impose substantial restrictions on other sites that link to them.

eShopability - Provides design and usability information and advice on how to convert browsers into buyers and keep them, analysis and trends. Free fortnightly newsletter.

Eyetools Research - Greg Edwards on design and content optimization through eyetrack testing: measuring what people read, look at, skip, and ignore on webpages.

Fifth Conference on the Human Factors and the Web - A forum for sharing information among a community of human factors engineers, designers, and developers who are interested in producing web sites that are more useful and usable. Site contains proceedings of the most recent (3/Jun/1999) conference and archives of all previous conferences.

Guide to Usability for Software Engineers (GUSE) - Pages collected by the University of Maryland, Masters of Software Engineering. These guidelines will assist software engineers to create effective user interfaces.

A Heuristic Evaluation of a World Wide Web Prototype - Experiment by the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS)finding a large number of usability problems that were identified and suggestions for correction.

Hot Text: Web Writing That Works - Articles from trainer-writer team Jonathan and Lisa Price. Ideas and services for web writers, editors, and content managers.

HTML Authoring Tools - Provides free services to assist web authors who wish to make their information available to the largest audience.

Human Factors International - Web Usability Tips - These tips are provided to help you improve the interaction between humans and computers in your web design.

IBM DeveloperWorks: Web Architecture - Offering tools needed to understand usability and accessibility issues. Includes materials that can help you create user-centered applications and gain insight into accessibility challenges.

Improving Web Site Usability and Appeal - Guidelines compiled by MSN Usability Research to provide designers and producers with ideas to increase the usability and appeal of Web sites.

Internet Brothers: Helpware for the Cybercommunity - Expanding web community by offering free tips and tutorials about HTML and DHTML, graphics editing, site promotion, digital photography, and desktop publishing. Presented often with a touch of humor, and always with examples.

Java Software Human Interface - Essential information about human interface design and usability for applications and applets written in the Java programming language.

JavaScript and Web Site Usability - An Interview with JavaScript Guru, Mr. Danny Goodman on how JavaScript can make a web site easier to use.

Jef Raskin - A site by and about Jef Raskin, interactive systems design expert.

Jeffrey Veen: The Usability of Subscribing to Feeds - RSS feeds are surprisingly difficult for the average user to use.

Klariti Guide to Usability and Information Architecture - Directory contains over 500 links, mainly to scholarly articles.

Lynx Friendly - The key to being Lynx Friendly is to be consciously aware of the HTML which goes into creating a web page and to ensure that those using a non-graphical browser are not ignored.

Morville, Peter: Building a Synonymous Search Index - Help users find the documents they're looking for by incorporating a 'thesaurus-like' hierarchy for your site.

Morville, Peter: Virtual Documents: The Challenges of Chunking - Advice for determining a level of granularity in breaking up documents for online viewing.

Navigation 101 - A simple, understandable navigation scheme is a critical aspect of site design and has a direct effect on the bottom line.

Nielsen Norman Group - Reports and columns on usability and human interface design by Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman, and Bruce 'Tog' Tognazzini.

Norman, Don: Human Centred Design - Don Norman discusses the approach to usability when building his own website. This includes links to related content by Jakob Nielsen.

Opquast - A list of best practices intended to improve the quality of on-line services.

Pointafter.com - 20 Do's and Don'ts of Web Usability - Tips from George Prociuk.

Principia Hypertextica: Introduction - A mathematics educator's view of web design. Encourages speed, accessibility, validity, and navigability. Discusses difficulties of math typesetting on the web.

Publish.com - Flash and Usability - Guidelines for usable Flash, By Ilise Benun.

Readability Of Websites With Various Foreground/Background Color Combinations, Font Types And Word Styles - 1997 psychology research project by Alyson L. Hill at Stephen F. Austin State University. Participants scanned simulated websites for a target word; readability was inferred from reaction time.

Roger C. Parker - Eleven Common Web Page Design Frustrations and How To Cure Them - How to keep web page design from interfering with communication to visitors.

Rosenfeld, Lou: Is Less Really More? - When it comes to the usability factor of tables of contents, is less really more?

Rosenfeld, Lou: Yahoo! is Dead. Long Live Yahoo! - Discussion on the inevitable collapse of Yahoo directory due to its size and complexity. He Predicts mini-yahoo sites within corporate intranets.

Schaffer, Eric: How to Develop a Corporate Intranet Standard - From the consultants of Human Factors International. [PDF]

Schaffer, Eric: How to Develop an Effective GUI Standard -- PDF file - From the consultants of Human Factors International (www.humanfactors.com). Requires Acrobat Reader.

Schroeder, Will: Testing Web Sites with Eye-Tracking - Describes an experiment carried out to monitor the eye movements of visitors to a prototype web site.

Scottberkun.com - Expert columns on web usability, interaction and web design.

ShoreWalker - Covers every area of good site design as well as what not to do. Steers you away from hype and towards more practical, user-friendly Web design. Based in Australia.

Some Simple Techniques In Making Your Website Accessible - Tutorial by Andrew Pae, Technical Coordinator at the ADAPTS Office at Georgia Tech. General design principles plus resources for additional information.

Something 4 Nothing Web Pages - Tips for building pages which are visually pleasing, and yet still download quickly and make information easy to access. From Webdeveloper.com.

Spool, Jared: Hard Evidence from Research - Spool uncovers the lessons his research has taught him about how best to design a site so that users don't end up thwarted

Spool, Jared: Web Graphic Design Is Not What You Think, A Usability Perspective - "The number one activity on the Web is information retrieval." In part of his tutorial, Spool explained his findings on graphic design and users' success.

Starling Access Services - Interesting definition of Accessible Web Design. For use by "anyone, any web browsing technology and any site".

STC SIG - Usability - Forum to share information, resources and experiences on issues related to the usability and user-centered design. It is the home of the Usability Special Interest Group of the Society for Technical Communication.

Stevesdomain.net - Focuses on furthering the education of web related topics, including web design and navigation tips, advice and techniques.

Szuc, Daniel: Usability in Hong Kong - Interview detailing the approach to web usability in Hong Kong.

Theory - A weekly column by Adam Baker that discusses web usability, interface, and interaction design. Includes previous columns for review.

100 Things to Do to Make a Better Site - List of several (actually, eight) ways to make a more user-friendly site. Also has other reader comments on the same topic.

Tognazzini, Bruce: First Principles - Bruce Tognazzini discusses basic prinicples of usability for both traditional applications and web services.

Universal Usability - Includes an online version of the book "Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers" by Sarah Horton, along with links to other useful resources.

Usability Engineering - "Designing for Ease Use", Article written by Corporate Solutions Consulting (UK)on usability engineering.

Usability First - Diamond Bullet Design offers their experience and knowledge on website and software usability.

Usability Matters - From the Usability Matters Group at the Linköping University in Sweden. Their goal is to make computer systems more usable. The 1995 essay "Perspectives on Usability" by Jonas Löwgren is available for download in PDF format.

Usability Must Die - Examines what's wrong with the usability movement, with some humour, and experiences from the coal face of software design.

Usability Professionals' Association - The UPA's purpose is to promote usability concepts and techniques worldwide.

Usability.gov - Provided by the National Cancer Institute. Includes information and resources on making web sites and other user interfaces more useful, usable, and accessible. News and current publications and additional links are provided.

Usable Web - Collection of links and accompanying information about human factors, user interface issues, and usable design specific to the World Wide Web.

Usable Webs - Information on basic web usability principles, including hints on helping search engines find your site. Web usability assessments and content development are available.

Usefo.com - Web design resources, Usableword newsletter, and web usability guidelines to make web sites faster, more educational, and usable.

Useit.com - Jakob Nielsen shares his thoughts on usability.

User Interface Design - Software Design Smorgasbord - A comprehensive resource page on UI Design, maintained by Craig Marion, the webmaster of Chester County Internet Services.

Various: WebWord Interviews with the Experts - Site includes usability articles written by John S. Rhodes. This page is a good starting point.

Vaspers the Grate - Insights into web writing, user-focused web design, and web credibility enhancement.

Vaspers the Grate: Web Credibility Destroyers - List of design issues that pollute an overall impression of trustworthiness and dependability.

The WDVL: Designing Attractive Web Pages - Before you can design avant-garde Web pages, you have to know what the rules are before you try to break, bend or amend them.

WDVL: Usability Testing in Practice - Reveals one company's usability testing practices and procesures.

Web Development - A summary of the complete life cycle of web development: planning, analysis, design, implementation, and promotion. Key practices and online resources are given for each process. By John December, author of numerous material for web development methodology.

Web Pages That Suck - Learn good web page design by looking at bad web pages.

Web Usability - International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. Special issue of WWW Usability arising from a symposium entitled "The Missing Link: Hypermedia Usability Research and The Web".

Web Usability Articles - Several years of usability-related articles from Digital Web Magazine.

Web Usability Findings - Compilation of surveys of web usability engineering and test results.

WEBehavior - A behavioral research, usability testing, and customer experience evaluation firm.

Webmaster's Corner - A commentary on web usability, design, and direction aimed at the beginning web developer.

WebMetric Tools - Good usability is vital to the success of any web site. This site has downloadable sets of web evaluation tools to assist in analysis of a web page based on numerous usability guidelines. Registration is required (free).

WebWord Usability Consulting - Usability and human factors for the Internet. Including book list, expert articles and interviews, and recommended sites.

Adaptive Path - 90% of All Usability Testing is Useless - Lane Becker writes, "Rather than a validation done once before completing a product... internal, qualitative usability testing [should be] done earlier, more frequently, and as part of the design process - not separate from it." (June, 2004)

Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2003 (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox) - Sites are getting better at using minimalist design, maintaining archives, and offering comprehensive services. However, these advances entail their own usability problems, as several prominent mistakes from 2003 show. (December, 2003)

Publish.com - Five Usability Principles For Web Design - Ilise Benun elaborates on the principles of consistency, interaction, instruction, choices and control. (August 30, 2003)

Publish.com - Usability Matters - Article by Marcia Ludkin. "Again and again... usability experts discover that real people may not understand what may be obvious to a site’s designers." (February 11, 2003)

CNET.com - Study: Design lacking in e-tail sites - The design of some of the leading online stores is mediocre at best, but, according to a new study, it is improving. (June 3, 2002)

CNN.com - Analysis: Web sites are locking out the disabled - Office buildings have wheelchair ramps and TV has closed captioning, but many Web sites are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Things don't have to be that way. (August 7, 2000)

User-Friendly Web Sites for All Ages, Microsoft PressPass - Guidelines for businesses, developers and web designers on how to make their web sites more user-friendly and accessable for the adult community. A white paper issued by Microsoft, "Effective Web Design Considerations for Older Adults." is available for download. (May 12, 1999)

The Scent of Information - The reason why so many people lose their way on the Web, according to usability expert Jared Spool, is because they lose the scent of the information they are looking for. Jared shares his thoughts and perspectives on the Web, usability, and the user's quest for information. (May 15, 1998)

Seattletimes.com: A primer for a good Web page - Users want indicators of how good (e.e., current, accurate, credible) the page's information is. (March 29, 1998)

7 Debilitating Diseases of Business Websites - Illnesses make websites inefficient. The cures, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson:Web Marketing Today, Issue 41, February 1, 1998. (February 1, 1998)

Accessability

Web Accessibility Initiative  - Guidelines and resources from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Access Matters - Bob Easton searches for accessibility best practices.

Accessible eLearning For All - The ALFA Project is being developed to allow educational content providers to create eLearning on any subject and in any language.

Accessible Ireland - Aims to promote accessible design and enable website designers to receive feedback on their web sites from users, disabled and otherwise.

Accessible Webpage Design: Resources - Site created to promote awareness about the need for accessible web design and to steer those who wish to learn more about the topic into the right direction.

Accessify.com - Tools, links and resources on Website accessibility.

AccessifyForum.com - Discussion forum regarding site building, news, and legal issues relating to accessibility.

All About Access - A blog about web accessibility and issues involving access technology at large, including but not limited to screen readers, operating systems and productivity software.

The Alliance for Technology Access: Web Accessibility - Extensive articles with many links to resources to educate and help with planning and creating accessible web pages.

alphaWorks : aDesigner - Disability simulator software that helps Web designers ensure that their pages are accessible and usable by the visually impaired. (IBM ID required to download.)

Americans With Disabilities Act Information - The US Dept. of Justice's resource page for the ADA. Voluminous, and not limited to computer and Internet issues, but at least it should be fairly authoritative, if you're willing to wade through the material.

AnitraPavka.com - Personal weblog with views on accessibility issues, news, and accessibility events.

Business Benefits of Accessible Web Design - Describes the many business and technical benefits that are realised by applying the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to Web applications.

Google Groups: Accessible - Forum for users of Google's accessibility services to share tips on what works well and what could be made better.

The Guild of Accessible Web Designers - An association of organisations and accessible web designers and developers promoting accessible web design standards.

IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center - By enabling human capability through innovation, the center strives to help people with disabilities maximize their potential.

Joeclark.org - Accessibility info and Weblogs from the writer Joe Clark

Library Hi Tech Volume 20, Number 2, 2002 - Special issue: Accessibility of web-based information resources for people with disabilities. Read abstracts online; pay for access to full articles.

Microsoft - Accessibility - Information about Microsoft accessibility products and services.

Philippine Web Accessibility Group (PWAG) - A non-profit association of web designers and advocates of web accessibility based in the Philippines. Membership information, resources, and frequently asked questions.

RNIB Web Access Centre - A free online resource centre to help designers and managers create accessible web sites. Also links to consultancy services.

Self Direction Community Project - Providing online disability awareness training.

SightWeaver - SightWeaver is a tool for repairing HTML tables, to make them more accessible.

Standards-schmandards - Weblog about web standards, accessibility and usability.

TechDis Accessibility & Usability Resource - Provides information on the technical and practical aspects of accessibility (including usability issues) and its evaluation, and information on how disabled users access the Internet.

UI Access - Resource for universal interface design and accessibility that provides techniques to support developing and implementing strategies.

Usability First - Accessibility - Includes background information on Accessibility and lists computer related accessibility aids according to types of disability.

UsableAccess.com - Web accessibility and usability resources including articles, news, discussion, and research. Focuses on both theory and practice of user-centered design.

USPS Section 508 Handbook in HTML - Explains the requirements of Section 508 and sets forth, in broad outline, the Postal Service's policies on how to comply with them.

USPS Section 508 Technical Reference Guide in HTML - Technical Reference guide in support of USPS AS-508, detailing techniques and technical approaches to Section 508 and accessibility.

Viewable With Any Browser - Campaign for a Non-Browser Specific WWW. Resources, more information and links about this effort.

W3 Compliant Sites - A collection of web standards compliant web sites and their designers.

Web Accessibility Survey - Some data collected on the accessibility of college and university web pages.

Web Accessibility Toolbar for Opera - Broswer add-on from the Web Accessibility Tools Consortium providing useful tools and validation links. Site includes documentation and free download.

Web Credible: Accessibility Resources - Offers tips, tricks, tutorials, links and information about Web accessibility, including UK legal requirements.

Web Page Accessibility Section 508 Checklist - Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Section 508 Guidelines

WebAIM - Web Accessibility in Mind - Information, training, resources, guidelines and standards for Web accessibility and disability access to the Web.

Webdisabilities.com - Listing of web companies that have been awarded a kite mark for considering the disabled user.

Wikipedia: Web Accessibility - Encyclopedia article about the topic, including discussion of benefits, technology, guidelines, and legal provisions.

WCAG 2.0: Woeful to Wonderful in One Easy Draft? - Accessites.org article by Jack Pickard, providing a review of the latest changes to the working draft. (May 25, 2007)

hAccessibility - Article by Bruce Lawson and James Craig, raising accessibility issues with the use of some microformats, and specifically the abbr design pattern. (April 27, 2007)

Searchenginewatch - Don't Disable Your Site for Handicapped Users - Article by Matt Bailey. Designers of web sites that are not accessible to disabled users are overlooking a market segment of millions of searchers and potential buyers. (May 19, 2005)

CNN: Web Sites are Locking out the Disabled - Office buildings have wheelchair ramps and TV has closed captioning, but many Web sites are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Things don't have to be that way. (August 7, 2000)

Site Checking and Debugging

Backward Compatibility Viewer - Web page viewer for checking backward compatibility according to HTML version standards or specific features.

Squarefree Bookmarklets - Includes tools for viewing and testing CSS styles, viewing scripts and variables, and showing the structure of a document.

Link Checking

Dead-links.com - Free online link checker. Spider-based technology and fast online analysis.

HostPulse.com - Identify broken links in your site for free.The broken link checker will search your site, testing each link it finds and report the status of each link.

Link Valet - Generates a color-coded report by spidering a site or checking links on a given page.

NetMechanic - Tune your web site with link validation. Robot will find broken links in your web site.

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