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Chapter 12. Evaluating Web Usability > Usability Testing for the Web

Usability Testing for the Web

Traditional usability testing methods apply equally well to evaluating Web usability, but for the Web, it is at least as important to guarantee a good user experience. What currently resides on the Web is not very usable, and visitors often fail when they try to accomplish tasks on the Web (Nielsen, 1998). In fact, Nielsen argues that users have come to expect failure when doing things on the Web. Other researchers agree and present corroborative evidence. Results show that a significantly large number of attempts to make online purchases fail (Rehman, 2000). Web users report lost transactions, an inability to apply for online jobs, and failure to complete (and in many cases, even to find) tasks on various Web sites.

This unsatisfactory state of Web usability exists in large part because Web developers have not been sensitized to usability constraints and to designing for the user experience. Many Web developers come from graphic user interface (GUI) development experiences that often are not optimal for Web environments, even though many of the design principles of GUI software continue to apply to Web design.


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