DonnaM » Blog Archive » Site use – insights from user research

Site use – insights from user research

Some interesting insights from a day of user research into an intranet:

  • People don’t know that links are links if they look like headings. Don’t make links large, bold, blue and not underlined.
  • Some people love long lists of relatively random links because they can see everything at once. Some people hate them because they are long, ungrouped and inconsistent in scope and granularity.
  • People like flyout menus (despite problems with slipperiness). It is easier to scan and re-scan the items than to think about where something might be.
  • You could put the names of your pets in the top level of a flyout menu – people only look at the items underneath anyway.
  • People can’t remember what they tried to do that didn’t work, but they remember how it made them feel. The feeling lingers longer than the task.
  • People don’t think about why something worked on one system but not another. They only know that sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. Life is trial and error; hit and miss.

2 Responses to “Site use – insights from user research”

  1. Keith Says:

    I love reading stuff like this. It’s very interesting to see where your research coincides with my own and where is differs.

    For example, I’ve found many people who don’t like flyouts and tend to click on the toplevel label anyway…The exact opposite of what you saw.

    I’m sure it might have something to do with the kind of users you were testing with. Our users (at the hospital I work at) are less than savvy.

    But some of the things you found, like the bit about the headings, are very similar to things I’ve noticed as well.

    I think, whatever the results, this kind of observation is a great way to learn more about your users. Sometimes it’s not clear — but you always learn something…

  2. Donna Maurer Says:

    Keith, I’ve seen this too on other sites. I’ve also seen people scan the flyout and then click on the top level label – like the flyout is extra information about what will be in the category rather than links in themselves!

    I have at least another week of research so will no doubt find some more interesting things…