Subject Index

Topics include usability, user centered design, interface design, human computer interaction, interaction design, personalization and customization, end users, user testing, accessibility, and ethnography.

The following resources are our top picks in this category.

The Alertbox: Current Issues in Web Usability. Jakob Nielsen.
The author's bi-weekly column on web usability.

Architecture for Use: Ethnography and Information Architecture. Marc Rettig. From: Proceedings of the ASIS Summit 2000: Defining Information Architecture. (April 8-9, 2000)
This paper was the result of the presentation the author made at the ASIS Summit 2000 conference. The author discusses the ethnographic methods he's used to drive many different kinds of design work over the last few years.

Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests. Jeffrey Rubin. (1994)
This book presents a step-by-step approach to usability testing in today's fast-paced industrial production environment, where reducing time to market has become a prerequisite for survival. It contains chapter coverage for each of the six stages including numerous examples and case studies.

Usable Web: Guide to Web Usability Resources. Keith Instone.
This site is a collection of links about human factors, user interface issues, and usable design specific to the web.

User and Task Analysis for Interface Design. JoAnn T. Hackos and Janice C. Redish. (1998)
Task analysis is an important aspect of user interface design, insuring that the end product is usable and practical. Written by task analysis experts, this book is the first book that provides full-length coverage of task analysis, and discusses the methodologies behind it.

The following are also excellent resources.

About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design. Alan Cooper. (1995)
A book for anyone who wants to understand why so much software is so poorly designed and who wants to do something about the problem.

About Information Architecture. Mark Hurst. (April 3, 2000)
This document explains the difference between information architecture and customer experience.

Annual SIGCHI Conference: Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (CHI). (1985-)
The annual CHI conference is the leading international forum for the exchange of ideas and information about human-computer interaction (HCI). This is the longest running conference on this topic.

Banner Blindness: Web Searchers Often Miss "Obvious" Links. Jan Panero Benway and David M. Lane. From: ITG Newsletter. 1:3 (December 5, 1998)
This study showed that banners were ignored, even when there was no other way to access the required information. Design recommendations include being cautious when increasing the visual distinction between elements on a web page, and following the guideline to duplicate visually distinct elements in another area of the web page.

Best Practices for Designing Shopping Cart and Checkout Interfaces. Dack Ragu.
As the growing number of Internet users are given the opportunity to purchase more goods and services online, it is becoming increasingly important to the success of e-commerce that the online buying experience be clear, quick, and easy. This document is an attempt to identify the best practices involved in the development of two important elements of an online shopping experience: the shopping cart and the checkout process.

Building A Great Customer Experience to Develop Brand, Increase Loyalty and Grow Revenues. Mark Hurst and Emily Gellady. (1999)
This white paper tells the secrets for making web sites welcome places that encourage customers to stay and buy. It gives strategies and tactics to help build a great customer experience -- the key to online success.

Common Ground: A Pattern Language for Human-Computer Interface Design. Jenifer Tidwell. (1999)
The patterns contained in this work address the general problem of how to design a complex interactive software artifact. They are intended to be used by people who design traditional user interfaces, web sites, online documentation, and video games.

Contextual Design: A Customer-Centered Approach to Systems Designs. Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt. (1997)
The book steps the reader through the process of conducting user interviews and analyzing the data. It then explains the additional steps required to build systems using this method, including building models for flow, sequence, and artifacts, and establishing the cultural and the physical environments for a system.

Core Competencies in Content Management. Patricia B. Seybold. From: Customers.Com Service. (November 19, 1999)
Managing the content for an e-business is an organizational challenge. The e-business needs to think the way customers think and encode all descriptive information so that it can be easily and dynamically sifted and sorted to help customers make decisions and solve problems.

Cost-Justifying Usability. Randolph G. Bias and Deborah J. Mayhew, editors. (1994)
This book provides structured and proven techniques by which usability engineers and their managers can quantify the costs and benefits of a projected new product in order to make a convincing case for investment to the business types in the company. It presents an overall framework, perspectives internal and external to the company, case studies from software and hardware developers, and discussions of special issues.s

Creating an Effective Web Interface Requires Careful Planning and Testing. Doug Pyle and Jerry Tarter. From: Backstage. (May 1999)
This article discusses planning, building and testing user interfaces for The two goals of the authors are to find out what tasks users want to accomplish and how the web site's interface and features facilitate those tasks.

Customer-Effective Web Sites. Jodie Dalgleish. (2000)
This book addresses every component of e-commerce success: content, navigation, applications, information architecture, visual design, technology, and more. Presents 17 rules that every site must follow to attract profitable customers.

The Design of Browsing and Berrypicking Techniques for the Online Search Interface. Marcia J. Bates. From: Online Review. 13:5, 407-24 (1989)
A new model of searching in online and other information systems, called "berrypicking," is discussed. This model, it is argued, is much closer to the real behavior of information searchers than the traditional model of information retrieval is.

The Design of Everyday Things. Donald Norman. (1990)
Anyone who designs anything to be used by humans -- from physical objects to computer programs to conceptual tools -- must read this book. It could forever change how you experience and interact with your physical surroundings, open your eyes to the perversity of bad design and the desirability of good design, and raise your expectations about how things should be designed.
Note: Originally published as "The Psychology of Everyday Things."

Design of SunWeb -- Sun Microsystems' Intranet (1994). Jakob Nielsen and Darrell Sano.
This paper presents the methods used to design the user interface and overall structure of the internal web pages for Sun Microsystems. The conclusions from this project are that a uniform user interface structure can make a web significantly easier to use and that "discount usability engineering" can be employed to base the design on user studies even when project schedules are very tight.

Design Wise: A Guide for Evaluating the Interface Design of Information Resources. Alison J. Head. (1999)
The author describes how to evaluate interfaces of web sites, commercial online services, and CD-ROMs before committing to the design or purchase of the resource. She also explains how the interface design can affect the search for information.

Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Ben Shneiderman. 3rd ed. (1997)
In this revised and updated presentation of user interface design for designers, managers, and evaluators of interactive systems, the author discusses the underlying issues and principles, and describes practical guidelines and techniques necessary to realize an effective design.

Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques. Kevin Mullet and Darrell Sano. (1994)
An introduction to the design theories involved in the creation of user interfaces. It describes techniques that can be used to enhance the visual quality of graphical user interfaces, data displays, and multimedia productions.

Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity. Jakob Nielsen. (1999)
This guide segments discussions of web usability into page, content, site, and intranet design. This breakdown skillfully isolates for the reader many subtly different challenges that are often mixed together in other discussions.
Note: Working title was "Designing Excellent Websites: Secrets of an Information Architect."

Designing Your Audience. Jeffrey Zeldman. From: A List Apart. (1999)
This article contrasts two sites regarding their general design, and concludes that one is designed for users and the other is designed for viewers. The resulting suggestion is to resolve the riddle of who the audience is before determining how to design the site.

A Divided Approach to Web Site Design: Separating Content and Visuals for Rapid Results. Jeanette Fuccella and Jack Pizzolato. (June 1999)
This paper describes a way to shorten your design cycle by getting focused early user feedback on the different layers of your design.

Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. Steve Krug. (2000)
A guide for web designers, programmers, project managers, and anyone else creating a web site, clearly explaining what is needed to make good decisions about creating a usable web site that people want to visit.

The Dotcom Survival Guide: How to Tap the $19 Billion Customer Experience Fund. (June 12, 2000)
This report shows how e-commerce sites can increase revenues by improving their customer experience. It includes strategies, tactics, and thirty-one e-commerce case studies on merchandising, e-mail, navigation, search, checkout, fulfillment, and more.
Note: Free registration is required.

The Elements of User Experience. Jesse James Garrett. (March 30, 2000)
This diagram attempts to impose order upon the chaotic array of terms and concepts currently being used to describe user experience development.

The Elements of User Interface Design. Theo Mandel. (1997)
A total introduction to user interface (UI) design, this book covers theory and application with easy language and real world examples. Chapter topics include UI models, computer standards and UI guidelines, usability testing, command-line and menu driven interfaces, and graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Ethnomethodologically Informed Ethnography and Information System Design. Andy Crabtree and et al. From: Journal of the American Society for Information Science (JASIS). 51:7, 666-82 (2000)
This paper describes ethnomethodologically informed ethnography (EM) as a methodology for information science research, illustrating the approach with the results of a study in a university library.

An Exploratory Evaluation of Three Interfaces for Browsing Large Hierarchical Tables of Contents. Richard Chimera and Ben Shneiderman. From: ACM Transactions on Information Systems. 12:4, 383-406 (October 1994)
A fully expanded stable interface, expand/contract interface, and multi-pane interface were used to browse a large table of contents. Expand/contract and multi-pane interfaces produced significantly faster task completion times.
Note: Registration is required.

Finding Out What Users Want From Your Web Site: Techniques for Gathering Requirements and Tasks. Jeanette Fuccella, Jack Pizzolato, and Jack Franks. (June 1999)
Before implementing any new design or major redesign of a site, identify the appropriate tasks and requirements for the site. This paper describes five practical techniques that can be used by themselves or in concert.

Following a Fast-Moving Target: Recording User Behavior in Web Usability Testing. Laurie Kantner. From: Common Ground. 8:2, 3-7 (May 1998)
This article describes the challenges of capturing user website behavior and the recording methods that usability specialists at Tec-Ed have developed.

Giving People What They Want: How to Involve Users in Site Design. Jeanette Fuccella and Jack Pizzolato. (June 1999)
This article outlines the four step process used at IBM to ensure that a site meets user expectations and is easy to navigate.

Guerrilla HCI: Using Discount Usability Engineering to Penetrate the Intimidation Barrier. Jakob Nielsen. A chapter in: Cost-Justifying Usability. Randolph G. Bias and Deborah J. Mayhew, editors. (1994)
One important reason usability engineering is not used in practice is the cost of using the techniques. Or rather, the reason is the perceived cost of using these techniques, as this chapter will show that many usability techniques can be used quite cheaply.

GUI Bloopers: Don'ts and Do's for Software Developers and Web Designers. Jeff Johnson. (2000)
This book illustrates common pitfalls in user interface design, the all-important iceberg tip that end users confuse with applications and that developers confuse with end users. Reporting on 82 incidents of bad design, the author manages to cover the essential point of his message: software designers should think of their user interfaces from the user's point of view.

HCI Bibliography: Human-Computer Interaction Resources. Gary Perlman.
This is a free-access bibliography on human-computer interaction, with over 20,000 records in a searchable database. It is also one of the premier portals to high-quality information on the development of usable software and web-based systems.

Holiday E-Commerce 2000: Avoiding $14 Billion in "Secret Losses". Aamir Rehman. (October 2000)
The purpose of this report is to help e-commerce web sites prepare for the Holiday 2000 season. To get a representative view of online holiday shopping, more than 50 consumer tests were conducted on eight major e-commerce web sites across four key categories: Apparel, Books and Music, Electronics and Toys.

Improving the Usability of a Corporate Internet. Donna L. Cuomo and Linda I. Borghesani. From: MITRE Technical Report. MTR 97B0000006 (1997)
This is a case study of the development of the MITRE corporate intranet. This paper describes the requirements gathering process, the redesign process, the user evaluations performed throughout the redesign process, and the lessons learned in this redesign of a large-scale web site.

In Search of E-Commerce: Lessons From the Internet's Top Sites. Mark Hurst and Robert Seidman. (February 1999)
The goal of this report is to show how to succeed in e-commerce by making it easy for the customer to buy. The report includes case studies of Apple, Amazon, Dell and others.

Information Appliances and Beyond: Interaction Design for Consumer Products. Eric Bergman, editor. (2000)
The author explores the various manifestations of real-life, nontraditional computing devices (mobile phones, personal assistants, set-top boxes, animated toys). He displays and critiques various creations, detailing the tradeoffs designers make to accommodate both physical requirements and general human ideas about efficiency and pleasantness in a user interface.

Information Architecture and Personalization. Keith Instone. (December 2000)
This ACIA white paper demonstrates the use of information architecture components as a foundation for thinking about personalization. It describes a model that combines information architecture components into a complete personalization system, a model that could be used to guide a personalization system development methodology, evaluate a set of personalization systems, or merely provide the terminology to help communicate about personalization.

Information Architecture Resources. Jesse James Garrett.
A collection of information architecture, interaction design and navigation design resources.

Information Ecologies: Using Technology With Heart. Bonnie A. Nardi and Vicki L. O'Day. (1999)
This book discusses how the average citizen has become distanced from the process of designing technology, resulting in technology that doesn't adequately serve the user's needs. The authors define information ecology as "a system of people, practices, values, and technologies in a particular local environment."

Interactions. Steven Pemberton, editor.
Association of Computing Machinery's (ACM) bi-monthly magazine for designers of interactive products.
Note: Registration is required.

Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate. Steven Johnson. (1999)
This book shows how computer interfaces have transformed our lives. In up-to-the-minute examples, the author presents a compelling case for a cultural shift as important as the one that accompanied the rise of literacy or the fall of the church.

Listen to Customers: How We Built the New Home Page. Kari Richardson and Kathy Nordgaard. From: Backstage.
A report on how the new home page for was built with a focus on user testing.

Live With Your Users. Marc Rettig. From: Proceedings of Web Design & Development '99. (July 1999)
This presentation discusses using the techniques of contextual research -- techniques borrowed from anthropology -- to shape both strategy and design.

Marc Rettig's Writings. Marc Rettig.
A collection of the author's published essays and conference presentations, on the topics of information architecture, usability and ethnography.

Prototyping for Tiny Fingers. Marc Rettig. From: Communications of the ACM. 37:4, 21-27 (April 1994)
This paper discusses low-fidelity prototyping -- building prototypes on paper and testing them with real users.

Quantifying the Effect of User Interface Design Features on Cyberstore Traffic and Sales. Gerald L. Lohse and Peter Spiller. From: Proceedings of the CHI 1998 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (April 18-23, 1998)
This article predicts store traffic and dollar sales as a function of interface design features such as number of links into the store, image sizes, number of products and store navigation features. By quantifying the benefits of user interface features, we hope to facilitate the process of designing and evaluating alternative storefronts by identifying those features with the greatest impact on traffic and sales.
Note: Registration is required.

Reflections on I/Design: User Interface Design at a Startup. Allison L. Hansen. From: Proceedings of the CHI 1997 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (March 22-27, 1997)
This design briefing describes the process of making incremental improvements to an existing product, given very limited time and resources, while also designing a new replacement product. In addition, the design rationale for and evolution of the successful new user interface are presented.
Note: Registration is required.

The Role of Ethnography in Interactive Systems. John Hughes and et al. From: Interactions. 57-65 (1995)
This paper provides a clear introduction to the value and desirability of adapting an established method to the demands of a design effort. The authors suggest that in system design, ethnography may instead employ "focused approaches," with the objective of doing "quick and dirty" studies or evaluative studies.
Note: Registration is required.

Searching Through Cyberspace: The Effects of Link Display and Link Density on Information Retrieval From Hypertext on the World Wide Web. Kushal Khan and Craig Locatis. From: Journal of the American Society for Information Science (JASIS). 49:2, 176-82 (1998)
This study investigated information retrieval from hypertext links on the web. Significant main and interaction effects were found for both link density (number of links per display) and display format (in paragraphs or lists) on search performance.

Seth Gordon on Careers in User Experience Design. Sarahjane White. From: CNET Builder.Com. (April 11, 2000)
The author explains what you should know before you begin your user experience design job search and how to market your current skills to land your user experience design job.

Shopping on the Internet: Usability of 9 Swiss E-commerce Sites. Pascal Magnenat. (1999)
The authors assessed the usability of 9 Swiss e-commerce web sites through user testing. The authors found that users have difficulty ordering online, usability varies from site to site and user tolerance to poor usability is low.

Software for Use: A Practical Guide to the Models and Methods of Usage-Centered Design. Larry L. Constantine and Lucy A.D. Lockwood. (1999)
This volume guides readers in a step-by-step process for developing software using usage-centered design, which interconnects two major software development methods: use cases and essential modeling. It describes practical methods and models that have already been successfully implemented in industry, and its processes complement object-oriented software engineering approaches such as the "Unified Process."

Steering Users Isn't Easy. Will Schroeder. From: Eye For Design. 2:10 (July 27, 1998)
Many users go to web sites seeking specific information -- and are eager to leave as soon as they find it. This means designers may have trouble steering users to material they're not actually looking for, even if the users would find the information valuable.

Surf Like a Bushman. Rachel Chalmer. From: New Scientist Magazine. (November 11, 2000)
This article discusses how two researchers are using foraging theories from ecology and anthropology to understand how people find information in data-rich environments such as the Internet. The researchers believe web surfers rely on prehistoric instincts to maximize their yield when they hunt and gather morsels of information, and their results could help others design websites and search tools that are as alluring to informavores as flowers are to bees.

Things That Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine. Donald Norman. (1994)
An examination of the complex interaction between the human mind and the "tools for thought" the mind creates calls for the development of machines that fit that mind rather than ones to which humans must tailor their minds.

Thirteen Common Objections Against User Requirements Analysis, and Why You Should Not Believe Them. Sim D'Hertefelt. From: InteractionArchitect.Com. (June 9, 2000)
This article lists 13 common objections against user requirements analysis and why you should not believe them.

Toward Usable Browse Hierarchies for the Web. Kirsten Risden. A chapter in: Human Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces. Hans-Jorg Bull, editor. (1999)
The goal of the following study was to determine the potential usefulness of tracking traversal patterns through a browse hierarchy as a way to monitor confusion and determine its source. The major conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that this method is a useful and insightful way to monitor user experience.

Understanding Web Users' Browsing Choices. Kathryn M. Dobroth. From: Common Ground. 8:2, 8-11 (May 1998)
Designers need a way of assessing users' expectations of the content behind the links that are often cryptically titled. The results of this study indicate that one factor that affects users' expectations is the exemplariness of the item that they are searching for.

Usability Engineering. Jakob Nielsen. (1994)
This book is about cheap and fast methods that anybody can use in any interface design project (whether web design, software design, or gadget design) to drastically improve usability.

Usability Engineering for the Web. Keith Instone. From: Proceedings of Web Design & Development '98. (September 22-26, 1998).
As ease of use becomes more important than being "cool" on the web, usability engineering techniques will let developers create more usable web sites by helping them know their audience, valuating their user interfaces, and redesigning their sites based on user feedback. Understanding the tradeoffs between standards and new web technologies is essential in creating usable sites.
Note: PowerPoint slides.

Usability Is Good Business. George M. Donahue, Susan Weinschenk, and Julie Nowicki. (July 27, 1999)
This paper discusses the cost-effectiveness of usability engineering and performing usability cost-benefit analyses in order to acquaint software professionals and other interested parties with these topics.

The Usability Methods Toolbox. James Hom.
This document contains information about many methods and techniques used in usability evaluation.

Usability Professionals' Association (UPA) Conference. Usability Professionals' Association (UPA). (1991-)
A practioner oriented conference that focuses on "how-to" usability and user testing presentations.

Usability Studies and Designing Navigational Aids for the World Wide Web. D. Bachiochi and et al. From: Proceedings of the Sixth International World Wide Web Conference. (April 7-11, 1997)
This paper describes how usability testing was used to validate design recommendations. The results show a need for navigational aids that are related to the particular website and located beneath the browser buttons.

Usability Studies of WWW Sites: Heuristic Evaluation vs. Laboratory Testing. Laurie Kantner and Stephanie Rosenbaum. From: Proceedings of the 15th Annual International Conference on Computer Documentation. (October 19-22, 1997)
This paper describes the strengths and weaknesses of two usability assessment methods frequently applied to web sites. The discussion not only compares the two methods, but also discusses how an effective usability process can combine them, applying the methods at different times during site development.
Note: Also available through ACM. Registration is required.

A User-Centered Approach to Designing a New Top-Level Site Structure for a Large and Diverse Corporate Web Site. Jack J. Yu, Prasad V. Prabhu, and Wayne C. Neale. From: Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Human Factors and the Web. (June 5, 1998)
This paper describes the user-centered approach utilized in the design of Kodak's web site. The authors discovered that combining the knowledge gained from a variety of data collection methods was critical to understanding and defining web site user requirements. An online preview and survey were useful tools for assessing user acceptance of the new designs.

A Visual Vocabulary for Describing Information Architecture and Interaction Design. Jesse James Garrett. (October 17, 2000)
Diagrams are an essential tool for communicating information architecture and interaction design in web development teams. This document discusses the considerations in development of such diagrams, outlines a basic symbology for diagramming information architecture and interaction design concepts, and provides guidelines for the use of these elements.

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Home Page.
This document provides resources for increasing accessibility of the web for people with disabilities.

Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience. Jennifer Fleming. (1998)
This book offers the first in-depth look at designing web site navigation. The author offers design strategies to help you uncover solutions that work for your site and audience, and is full of quotes and screen shots that deconstruct some of the most fascinating, successful, and innovative sites devised.

Web Page Design: Implications of Memory, Structure and Scent for Information Retrieval. Kevin Larson and Mary Czerwinski. From: Proceedings of the CHI 1998 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (April 21-23, 1998)
The authors describe an experiment to see if large breadth and decreased depth is preferable, both subjectively and via performance data, while attempting to design for optimal scent throughout different structures of a web site. This work is testing the theories of Miller in his classic "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two."
Note: Also available through ACM. Registration is required.

Web Site Usability Handbook. Mark Pearrow. (2000)
The book explores the growing field of web usability, with equal emphasis on theory and practicality, and focuses primarily on measuring usability accurately and applying it to formal and informal testing.

Why Most Web Sites Fail. Harley Manning, John C. McCarthy, and Randy K. Souza. From: The Forrester Report. 3:7 (September 1998)
New media executives can apply a disciplined approach to improve all aspects of ease-of-use. Start with usability audits to assess specific flaws and understand their causes, fix the right problems through action-driven design practices, and maintain usability with changes in business processes.
Note: Registration is required.

Why User Testing Is Good. Mike Kuniavsky. (April 8, 1998)
This resource explains why you need to test a site with users and general pointers of how to do it.