10 Usability Tips Based on Research Studies [Excellent]

We hear plenty usability tips and techniques from an incalculable number of sources. Many of the ones we take seriously have sound logic, but it’s even more validating when we find actual data and reports to back up their theories and conjectures.

1. Forget the “Three-Click Rule”

The idea that users will get frustrated if they have to click more than three times to find a piece of content on your website has been around for ages. In 2001, Jeffrey Zeldman, a recognized authority in the web design industry, wrote that the three-click rule “can help you create sites with intuitive, logical hierarchical structures” in his book, Taking Your Talent to the Web.

Logically, it makes sense. Of course, users will be frustrated if they spend a lot of time clicking around to find what they need.

But why the arbitrary three-click limit? Is there any indication that web users will suddenly give up if it takes them three clicks to get to what the want?

In fact, most users won’t give up just because they’ve hit some magical number. The number of clicks they have to make isn’t related to user frustration.

A study conducted by Joshua Porter published on User Interface Engineering found out that users aren’t more likely to resign to failure after three clicks versus a higher number such as 12 clicks. “Hardly anybody gave up after three clicks,” Porter said.


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by Cameron Chapman | Six Revisions

We hear plenty usability tips and techniques from an incalculable number of sources. Many of the ones we take seriously have sound logic, but it’s even more validating when we find actual data and reports to back up their theories and conjectures.

1. Forget the “Three-Click Rule”

The idea that users will get frustrated if they have to click more than three times to find a piece of content on your website has been around for ages. In 2001, Jeffrey Zeldman, a recognized authority in the web design industry, wrote that the three-click rule “can help you create sites with intuitive, logical hierarchical structures” in his book, Taking Your Talent to the Web.

Logically, it makes sense. Of course, users will be frustrated if they spend a lot of time clicking around to find what they need.

But why the arbitrary three-click limit? Is there any indication that web users will suddenly give up if it takes them three clicks to get to what the want?

In fact, most users won’t give up just because they’ve hit some magical number. The number of clicks they have to make isn’t related to user frustration.

A study conducted by Joshua Porter published on User Interface Engineering found out that users aren’t more likely to resign to failure after three clicks versus a higher number such as 12 clicks. “Hardly anybody gave up after three clicks,” Porter said.

Source: User Interface Engineering

The focus, then, shouldn’t be on reducing the number of clicks to some magically arrived number, but rather on the ease of utility. If you can construct a user interface that’s easy and pleasurable to use, but takes like 15 clicks (e.g. 5 times more than the three-click rule) to achieve a particular task — don’t let the arbitrary three-click rule stop you.

Sources and Further Reading

2. Enable Content Skimming By Using an F-Shaped Pattern

Dr. Jakob Nielsen, a pioneer in the field of usability, conducted an eye tracking study on the reading habits of web users comprising of over 230 participants. What the research study displayed was that participants exhibited an F-shaped pattern when scanning web content.

F-Shaped PatternSource: Alertbox

A similar study, by search marketing firms Enquiro and Did-it in collaboration with eye-tracking research firm Eyetools, witnessed a similar pattern when they evaluated Google’s search engine results page with an eye tracking study that included 50 participants. Dubbed the “Google Golden Triangle” because the concentration of eye gazes tended to be top and left, the results are congruent with the F-shaped pattern seen in Nielsen’s independent research.

Google Golden TriangleSource: Clickr Media

For designers and web copywriters, these results suggest that content you want to be seen should be placed towards the left, and also that the use of content that fits an F-shaped pattern (such as headings followed by paragraphs or bullet points) increases the likelihood that they will be encountered by a user who is skimming a web page. Leer más “10 Usability Tips Based on Research Studies [Excellent]”

The Problem of Defining Innovation


Hutch Carpenter just wrote a nice post outlining 25 different definitions of innovation. This is an interesting exercise. He breaks the definitions down into five sub-categories, which all reflect slightly different takes on the nature of innovation. Leer más “The Problem of Defining Innovation”

Innovating your business model

Competition in industries is essentially competition between business models. A recent tweet by @TimKastelle which led to a post about the evolution of the business model concept reminded me of a great creative exercise to help you look at your and other industries dominant business model as a lego kit, which when broken apart can be reconnected like building blocks to create new types of business concepts.


Competition in industries is essentially competition between business models. A recent  tweet by @TimKastelle which led to a post about the reminded me of a great creative exercise to help you look at your and other industries dominant business model as a lego kit, which when broken apart can be reconnected like building blocks to create new types of business concepts. Leer más “Innovating your business model”

Introducing the buyer-centric revolution

Beyond the organisation’s go-to-market goals and imperatives, marketing also makes a bigger, broader economic contribution. Every economy involves production and consumption; supply and demand. How well the economy works, however, doesn’t just depend on production prowess but on how well production and consumption/supply and demand are aligned. If you’re brilliant at supply, but you supply something for which there is no demand, then your production activities haven’t created wealth. They have created waste instead.

Ditto: if you have produced stuff people want but they can’t navigate their way to it, your efforts are as good as wasted. So the magic ingredients in any economic system are not production and consumption in isolation, but the alignment and navigation that bring them into line, in sync. Marketing’s broader economic contribution, then, is to ensure that production is a wealth creating rather than a waste creating activity. Pretty important in other words.

Now: a question. Who says it is the God-given right or duty of organisations to direct, manage and organise these economically critical tasks of alignment and navigation? The principle of alignment and navigation holds true whether it is carried out by producers (the source of supply), a third party such as a government, or the source of demand (‘the consumer’).


The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a fra...
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Reinventing marketing

Sometimes something is so obvious you don’t need to give it a second thought. It’s obvious for example that the sun orbits the earth and it’s obvious that the marketing is something that’s done by marketers who are employed by organisations to achieve the goals the organisation sets them.

Obvious perhaps, but sometimes the obvious hides a deeper not-so-obvious truth. To glimpse this deeper truth we first need to see how our initial assumption colours everything – everything – marketers do. If ‘marketing’ is done by marketers working for organisations then:

— the purpose of marketing: to help the organisation achieve its go-to-market goals.

— the processes marketers use – processes that help the organisation pursue its purpose, of course.

— the metrics marketers use to measure how well they are doing.

For any practitioner, this is a vast, rich and complex agenda. But as I’ve noted before, it’s also stunningly limited. So let’s step outside of it for just a moment. Leer más “Introducing the buyer-centric revolution”