Archive for the ‘Usability’ Category

Top Plugins for improving the Usability of WordPress Blogs

1. Lightbox 2: Images can make or break a blog as you well know from your experience with your own blog and from your perusal of other blogosphere stops. This nifty plugin uses Colorbox to overlay images in a lightbox. One advantage is that your users can view larger images without being taken to another page, streamlining their experience which they will most definitely appreciate. With this plugin you also have the option of auto-lightboxing all the images.

2. WP-Print: While going paperless is a great idea, sometimes your visitors will simply want to print something for easier access later. This plugin allows them to hit print and then go on to other parts of your blog, saving them time and perhaps encouraging deeper interaction with your site that may lead to the kind of conversions you want. This plugin is a freebie.

3. Akismet: Spammers are the bane of bloggers. This plugin will banish them and garner greater trust from those who read your blog. It’s good for nothing in terms of cost.

4. Smart 404: When a user gets a 404 error he or she might think your site is old, down or otherwise problematic when all that happened was a URL was miss-typed. Prevent click-aways by nipping in the bud many of these error messages. This plugin uses keywords from the requested URL to automatically redirect visitors to a page that matches most closely. It offers a very high success rate and it is yours for the asking.

5. WordPress Popular Posts: This will increase page reads and put your best stuff before your visitors by featuring it at the side of each page. This free widget offers great customization and usability.

6. W3 Total Cache: W3 Total Cache is the fastest and most complete WordPress performance optimization plugin. This talented plugin creates a static html pages from your dynamic blog and dishes out that page to users. This functionality allows pages to load faster because a static page is much lighter than a dynamic page and less expensive. There’s lots more this plugin will do for you.

7. Post Teaser: Rather than having to scroll below the fold to see a post this plugin allows them to see a preview of the post and provides a link to the full post. It costs nothing but will save your visitors hassle and earn you their appreciation.

8. Search Everything: Keep things smooth and easy for your visitors and they will continue coming back for more. Search Everything delivers additional search capabilities so they can easily find the content they want. The plugin accomplishes this by ramping up the default search on your WordPress blog so users can search every non-password protected page, tag, post, comment, category, taxonomy and much more.

9. Outbound Links: Users won’t leave your site when they click on an outbound link because this plugin will open it in a new window leaving your blog window open and available. Its free and easy.

10. Subscribe to Comments: Build community around your blog by inviting readers to choose to be notified by email when someone adds a comment. It offers your commenters a tailored approach to staying in the discussion. Download it for nothing and gain quite a bit.

Find Usability Issues Using Crowdsourcing

Find usability issues by using new crowdsourcing services like uTest.com. If you want to mimic the behavior of your site’s users, there is no better way than to use a large pool of everyday Internet users. Crowdsourcing platforms like uTest give you the ability to send lots of users to your website and quickly see where they have problems and give feedbacks for improvement.

TIME Magazine Selects Kongregate as One of the Best US Websites of 2010

TIME Magazine has included Kongregate, Inc. on its annual “50 Best Websites 2010” ranking in the newsmagazine’s current issue. San Francisco-based Kongregate is a leading social gaming destination and community for core gamers representing the fast-growing free-to-play gaming market. Currently http://www.Kongregate.com hosts 10 million monthly players who spend a combined 23 million hours per month on the site, which places it among the most popular online gaming sites.

TIME Magazine’s complete 2010 top-50 list,includes Kongregate.com as one of only five game sites. Other categories represented on the Top 50 list include such topics as music and video, news, shopping, family, sports, finance and health.

TIME Magazine also recognized Kongregate.com for its Android-based mobile application that delivers more than 150 quick and simple mini games that are playable from an Android phone’s Web browser.

British Airways Website is Most Usable Travel Website

User experience consultancy Webcredible’s 2010 Flights Online Report found BA offers the best levels of usability in the online travel sector, scoring an overall rating of 78%.

The report shows that budget airlines have made the biggest improvements online over the past year. EasyJet is now close behind BA on 77%, improving from 50% last year, while Ryanair has climbed 12 places from last year to 8th with a score of 66%.

Five websites – also including Virgin Atlantic, BMI and Travel Republic – scored over 70% compared to just three last year, while the average usability score rose to 64.4% from 55.2% last year.

The improved figures suggest that the online travel industry is beginning to recognise the value of improving the usability of their sites; however, this is not across the board with 11 sites scoring in the 60s and Opodo and Lastminute.com both dropping lower in the rankings that last year.

The report found that there are many areas that could still be improved such as support for comparison shoppers, making pages ‘share friendly’, providing airport information and providing progress bars and contact numbers during the booking process.

Trenton Moss, director at Webcredible, said: “Usability is essential so that site visitors can find the flights they’re looking for quickly and intuitively. A poor user experience could lead to customers going elsewhere and could make customers reluctant to complete other transactions online, such as checking-in.”

Webcredible scored ten airlines and ten travel agents against 20 best practise usability guidelines, which were each assigned a score of 0 -5. Capabilities that were tested throughout the report include searching for flights, search results and flight summary booking pages and errors and error handling.

Top UK e-commerce website – JD Sports

JD Sports has been ranked as the top performing ecommerce website in terms of usability in the UK.The eRetail Benchmark study from eDigitalResearch highlighted the retailer’s informative product pages, checkout process and various points of customer contact as standout traits.

Other websites that performed well in the overall usability rankings included Marks & Spencer (M&S), Amazon, John Lewis and Figleaves.

The top websites for search and navigation were M&S and New Look respectively, while Amazon, Ocado and ASOS were praised for their speed of response when interacting with customers via email.

According to eDigitalResearch co-founder and director Michelle Fuller, the study indicates that investing in customer contact can result in significant increases in satisfaction among online shoppers.

When customers shop online, the very least they expect is a simple, straightforward and easy-to-use experience, from clear navigation to detailed product information, good customer service and accurate delivery information.

Top 10 Internet Languages in 2009

Human Computer Interaction

It is the art and science of making computer applications more usable to user’s to achieve their goals.If the interaction is not usable to the user they leave the site,if they are employees company’s productivity decreases.

Benefits of usable interaction:
Increased sales and revenue
Increased customer satisfaction
Increased Productivity
Reduced maintenance costs
Decreased training costs

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