I wanted to direct your attention to a good source of summer UX research reading. The Nielsen Norman Group has a selection of free research reports on User Experience. I’m working my way through some of these now. You can see the list of free reports here.
I was particularly interested in this report about ipad app and website usability. While I think the particular information is useful (if a few years old), what really struck me about this is how important and useful user testing can be. There are so many very basic insights from the tests run in this report — such as the fact that links were too close together, too small, or didn’t look like links. You can uncover these issues with a very small number of short user tests.
And you can uncover those issues in a matter of hours, and sometimes A/B or test fixes on the fly with a tool like ProtoShare. Some of our customers have described having an editor sitting in a room across from the user tester, and making changes suggested by the moderator to see what makes a difference. Getting these things right before you start to work building the functioning site can save you countless hours of rework.
If you see anything here you like, or if you have other resources you’d like to point out, leave a comment below!