Usability Myths

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UIE debunks three myths commonly held by armchair usability pundits. Contrary to popular opinion, 5 usability test subjects will not uncover most of your Web site’s usability problems; long page download times don’t cause users to abandon their tasks; and you don’t have to make everything on your site available in three clicks or less.

Why do these myths persist? Because harried, time-constrained developers and managers are often willing to cling to anything that reduces the time required to build a site. As the UIE report says, "The three clicks and page download myths both give designers target criteria for site development that don’t require usability testing to measure. This is very tempting."

Now that we have debunked the three-click myth, perhaps someone can tell me how to convince a client that not every page on their site needs to be in their main navigation?

Update: Signal Vs. Noise debunks the debunkers with the idea that perhaps test subjects didn’t give up on slow pages and kept looking after three clicks because they were being watched. It was expected that they complete a task, so they hung in long after they normally would have abandoned the process.

Adam Willard
December 11, 2003 6:59 AM

If you ever find out how to convince a client that not every page on their site needs to be in their main navigation, please let me know. I am still trying to convince my supervisor's manager.

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