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Editorials

E-commerce - sell more with irrelevant purchase options?

December 2013

A few years ago The Economist published an article refering to an experiment that the behavourial economist Dan Ariely conducted in relation to the Economist.com website. He demonstrated that by offering 3 purchase options (2 realistic options and 1 'decoy'), The Economist was able to sell more of the expensive subscriptions and hence make more money. We decided to explore this finding by testing a similar approach with online film purchasing options.

World Usability Day 2012 : A eye-tracking study of 4 bank sites - In Swedish

November 2012

Recently times have been tough for the global economy. This no doubt inspired this year's World Usability Day 2012 theme: "Usability of financial systems". We therefore decided to test banking web sites, and with help of eye-tracking, study how users navigate to solve tasks relating to currency exchange.

A/B testing or usability testing?

August 2012

These days there are a variety of tools for conducting A/B testing of web designs online. However, can such tools replace the need for usability testing?

E-commerce is growing, but how much quicker could it develop? - In Swedish

April 2010

According to statistics from the Swedish Institute of Retail, e-commerce continues to increase market share compared to traditional retail. However, in an interview study that Usability Parters conducted of 10 e-commerce companies it is apparent that usability work is not a priority for many.

Its a shame about customer service staff - In Swedish

January 2010

Customer service staff are, in our experience, not often a prioritised user group - despite the fact that customer service is often an important channel to a company's customers and affects how a company is perceived from outside...

EU elections: Political parties fail to convey their message online - In Swedish

May 2009

Ahead of the elections for the European Parliament we conducted an expert usability review of the Swedish political parties' web sites. The result clearly indicated that finding the different parties' positions on key issues can be difficult...

Poor usability makes holiday booking tricky - In Swedish

April 2009

As a results of the financial crisis and increased awareness of environmental issues it is predicted that people will choose other alternatives to flying and far-away destinations. How did things go for Kaisa when she tried to book a ferry trip as part of her family summer holidays...

Where should the shopping trolley be placed?

March 2009

We have conducted a follow-up study to that we conducted 3 years ago. Data regarding where people expect to find common objects on web sites has been collected from over 300 internet users and in this article we present some of the findings...

What do people find most annoying when using a web site? (2009 update!)

February 2009

We have conducted a follow-up to our study from 2006 - this time with over 300 participants. Find out what users find most irritating when using a web site...

Eye tracking study of Swedish home electronics web sites

November 2008

Competition is increasing amongst the large home electronics stores as the economy is slowing down. We were interested to see how some of the web sites of Sweden’s largest home electronics suppliers stood up given the prospect of tougher times...

Where should the search function be placed?

May 2006

Usability Partners has conducted a study of 140 internet users to gather data on where Swedish internet users expect to find common elements on web sites. Similar studies have previously been conducted in the USA. In this editorial we share some of our findings...

What do people find most annoying when using a web site?

January 2006

We have all at some point been annoyed when using the Internet. Maybe by links that don’t work, an advert that unexpectedly creates a noise or a complex form that requires several attempts to fill in correctly. Usability Partners has conducted an online survey to investigate what people find most annoying web using a web site.

Top 5 web related editorials

November 2004

This month we have been written about in Internetworld magazine and readers have been referred to our web site for usability-related articles. We have therefore picked out five of our most popular editorials relating to web usability.

Do you think your web site is easy to use?

Septermber 2004

Many web site designers say that their own web site design is easy to use and few, if any, would say the opposite. Many web sites cause trouble for users, so why is there a mismatch between the views of those responsible for a site and the actual end users?

Making intranets effective in use

March 2004

Early in 2004 Usability Partners conducted an interview study of those responsible for intranets in 20 large companies in Sweden. One of the objectives of the study was to investigate how intranets were developed in order to best support staff in their work...

User-friendly business systems?

January 2004

Computer Sweden (Sweden’s leading IT newspaper) recently published results from a survey of 210 medium-sized companies across different branches in Sweden. The survey investigated, amongst other things, the most important characteristics of business support systems - user-friendliness was valued highest...

Difficult to succeed with Intranets

November 2003

Over and over again we hear tales of ineffective intranets. Most criticism generally concerns navigation and structure - users find it slow and cumbersome to find the information (or functionality) that they need in their work...

Can poor usability affect the Swedish EMU vote?

September 2003

Prior to the EMU referendum in Sweden, Usability Partners have carried out expert usability evaluations of the web sites belonging to the EMU-campaign organisations receiving the greatest allocation of campaign funds. The results were disappointing...

Web usability - the first 10 years

June 2003

From the infancy of the 'World Wide Web' through to the present day - some reflections on web usability issues and how the importance of usability work has changed since 1993.

User-friendliness is a bluff!

April 2003

In marketing material companies often claim their products are user-friendly, but can companies back-up their claims? If not, how do they get away with this 'bluff'?

Lack of customer focus in E-commerce

February 2003

Usability Partners has recently conducted a study of how Swedish E-commerce companies are working with usability and user-centred design activities. Approaches to user involvement (or lack of it) vary greatly, despite evidence of the benefits.

Usability in everyday life

January 2003

Many people may link 'usability' with easy to use web sites or software. However, throughout our everyday lives we often use things which would benefit from improved usability, though we might not think about it at the time.

Usability - Recipe for fortune or flop?

December 2002

Hi-tech companies rarely keep quiet about how their new technological solutions will allow us to do new and wonderful things. However, few boast about the results of any usability work they may have done...

Interacting with mobile products

November 2002

The wireless society would seem to be approaching fast. However, as this wireless infrastructure takes shape then so too must new forms of interaction that allow people to use the new products and services that these networks will support.

Are you breaking the law?

October 2002

Many people realise that the lack of a user-centred approach to development will often result in unforeseen problems in the design of products and systems. Unfortunately this can even be the case in the development of public legislation.

Votes lost in cyberspace!

September 2002

Its election time in Sweden. Web site ease of use might not yet be the best predictor of election performance, but many parties may well be starting to lose voters (and thus votes) due to poor site usability.

Do you buy easy to use products?

August 2002

Today's "hi-tech" products, whilst perhaps having many useful functions, aren't always as easy to use as they should be. ISO is therefore developing a new standard for the usability of consumer products...

24-hour public authorities - "the future of public service"

June 2002

In the future Swedish citizens and companies will be able to carry out their business with different public authorities in a much quicker and simpler manner through various "e-services". A focus on usability for all is therefore crucial.

Software + hardware = Complexware?

April 2002

Software interfaces are becoming a component of more and more everyday products, but the result is rarely improved simplicity and ease of use...why not?

Involving users didn't help!

March 2002

ser involvement in IT development projects is becoming more common practise. Unfortunately there are many cases of this going wrong and the resulting product not meeting user needs and being difficult to use. Why?

Perfect usability?

February 2002

Is there such a thing as a product with perfect usability? Must you always have usability problems with the user interfaces to the products you develop?

New Year usability resolutions for 2002

January 2002

Undoubtedly 2002 will bring with it new possibilities, new technologies, and hence new interface design challenges. Here are some New Year resolutions to adopt for making your new user interfaces easier to use!

Software reported as a health risk!

December 2001

For the first time, a piece of software has been reported to the Swedish Work Environment Inspectorate as a health risk due to its unergonomic design.

How bad can bad usability be?

November 2001

There are some systems (such as web sites) which you can choose whether to use or not. However, there are some which you might have to use for your work - bad usability here can mean a really bad day at work...

Intranet Web - new interface challenges

October 2001

Four years ago, web-based Intranet applications were a new phenomenon, fraught with many user interface design problems. Many of these problems are still faced by designers today.