The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g), says it is involved with evidence-based user experience research, training and consulting. I believe it, because they produce some of the best content on the web and are one of my favorite emails that fill my inbox. These are the people who tell you how long it will take to read a piece of content before you click on it. Smart.
Here are a few of their insights I’ve read over the last couple of months that are worthy of sharing:
- The Most Important Information Goes on the Left Side of Your Website. In spite of all the talk of web redesign, web users spend 80% of their time viewing the left half of the page and 20% viewing the right. Put your most important web information on the left-hand side of the page.
- Avoid the “False-Consensus Effect.” The false-consensus effect states we tend to overestimate how many people share our choices, values and judgments, especially with user experience. It is the “Curse of Knowledge,” which means it is problematic for informed people to think about issues from the perspective of the uninformed. The answer to this conundrum is to test, survey, and conduct eye-tracking research and study user data.
- We Like Things Lined Up on Our Websites. As designers, you may get bored with a design and want to mix it up, but research shows, as web users who scan, we like our images lined up. Users scanning text and images were more efficient and didn’t stumble as much when the images and text were vertically aligned. Zigzag layouts make the page layout less predictable and difficult to scan around images. The first image on the left also dictated if users were going to pay attention to any of the images after that. Complex imagery was a negative throughout NN/g testing.
NN/g’s user research is eye-opening and immediately actionable. Here is a link so you can sign up for emails from NN/g.