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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Usability evaluation of three social networking sites

It is a long time since I have looked at the SURL (Software Usability Research Laboratory) web site.

This organisation does some fantastic Web site usability research.

The item that caught my eye was the analysis of MySpace, Facebook and Orkut.

It is impossible to summarise this research in a few pithy comments but basically the results showed problems related to confusing terminology, inadequate feedback and error messages, and poor link location. All of these impacted user performance and satisfaction.

These are the bottom line recommendations on how to improve the overall use of social network sites:
1. Use consistent and familiar terminology.

2. Provide a brief explanation for terms that are unique to the site (e.g. PhotoCube on MySpace, Testimonials on Orkut, Boxes on Facebook).

3. Provide sufficient feedback to the users. Too often the users repeated failed actions simply because they were not sure if the system had performed their initial task.

4.Improve link placement. Uploading a profile picture, finding the chat link and looking for the Settings option should be easy tasks to perform and should be placed within easy view of the user on the profile homepage.
These comments apply to all ages but particularly the 50-plus. Dick Stroud

1 comment:

Mike from Drop Ship said...

One has to do a lot of research before getting comfortable with these sites.