Saturday, November 04, 2006

Wireframe testing..

"While internet sales continue to soar, recent surveys from companies that advise e-commerce merchants put the number of "abandoned shopping carts" at between 27 per cent and 66 per cent."JS Online

Below is an interesting article from

August 2005:: ‘Getting it done’ vs ‘Getting it right’
:: Wireframe testing saving headaches and big bucks

August 9th, 2005Wireframe testing saving headaches and big bucks

We have been conducting a number of different wireframe testing projects for clients over the last six months. We have been rather taken aback at the growth in early iterative testing projects we have taken on over this period and, stepping back, it is quite clear that our clients are becoming much more professional about they way they approach their website development projects.Just between the two of us, it hasn’t always this way. When I worked on projects in the 90’s, and early this decade, most clients would commission website testing just prior to launch. You could see the pain on the faces of the developers when we came back with recommendations for sweeping changes. Often it was just too late and too costly to make the major changes prior to launch and clients would simply launch and hope for the best. A wireframe is a simple black and white block diagram containing no content or graphics. Testing sessions with our clients are typically conducted with a clickable interface using real-life task scenarios which would normally be carried out on the live site by end users. The site’s raw structure including navigational elements, information architecture and general ‘look and feel’ (minus creative elements of course) are empirically evaluated. Observations are made regarding what users perceive to be the most prominent features of the site and where they presume each of the different page elements are located. Clickable wireframe testing has the advantage of allowing you to observe users interacting with the site, therefore simulating a close match to the real user experience.This kind of testing, early in the design phase, can literally shave time and money off development. Developers can quickly and easily make changes to the design before any functional code has been written. Correcting these problems early costs significantly less than it would after the product has been fully developed.With minimal time and effort required in developing prototypes, important design questions can be answered without too much time and effort involved. This stage of testing also provides the opportunity to test alternative designs and concepts with users, proving to be an important validation method before committing to development of the final design.

Every quarter we discuss developments in the fields of usability and user-centred design as well as noteworthy events at UsabilityOne.


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