Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries tagged usability

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Do I need to change something on my LIVE website to do Remote usability testing? Am I needed to create a duplicate copy of my website?

You should be able to run a working copy (potentially with fake data or a subset of your production data) on your laptop, for development purposes. You can use the same setup for usability testing new features.

[... 96 words]

What activities, games or examples have you used to persuade developers that they are different from ’real’ users?

I doubt there’s anything as effective as getting them to watch a well-run usability test—either a video, a fancy one-way glass setup or just having them quietly observe a zero-budget testing session in a coffee shop.

[... 62 words]

Why does Wolfram|Alpha present all search results as pictures rather than text?

Wolfram Alpha is essentially a web interface to Mathematica (plus a huge corpus of structured data). Mathematica has been around for decades, and has an extremely sophisticated visualisation engine (try typing “sin(x)/cos(x)” in to Wolfram Alpha and see what happens). It’s also very good at rendering mathematical formulae that would be very hard to represent in plain HTML (without using MathML, which isn’t supported by IE).

[... 137 words]

To what extent is it still valid to assume that your web app users are stupid?

They’re not stupid, but they’re probably WAY less web literate than you might expect—unlike you, they haven’t spent their entire career learning how the web works. See the famous “What is a browser?” video the Google Chrome team released:

[... 71 words]

EasyEclipse

Back in November of 2004 I posted a rant about how difficult it was to download and install the Eclipse IDE from the official site. I’m delighted to hear that my rant was partially responsible for the creation of the EasyEclipse project, which not only provides easily installable packages for setting up a Java development environment but also covers LAMP development as well.

[... 140 words]

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