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I second the recommendation of Steve Krug's book "Don't Make Me Think". It is the best usability book I've read. However, you have to accept a basic premise that usability issues will vary for each website/interface depending on the content and functionality. This requires testing with actual users. Krug's book is not a checklist of things to do or not do; he just shows you how to do good testing at almost no cost. I went to one of Steve Krug's workshop's years ago and it was kind of funny because people kept raising their hands and saying "I've got a button here and someone says it should be here, which place is best?" And Steve would just say "You should get some users together and test it to see which one performs best." A lot of people left a little frustrated because he didn't have simple answers - just a simple testing process. The hardest thing I've found with usability testing is getting the willingness from stakeholders to build into the schedule time to test and then make improvements. Many times clients will balk at testing because they feel like you are the expert and you should know the best answer without testing. Certainly you learn things over time, but each project will have its own surprises.
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2010 on Usability On The Cheap and Easy at Coding Horror
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Apr 2, 2010