Sample results from Virtual Think Aloud

Participant 1
Participant 2
Participant 3

You are determined to convince your project manager that your team should adopt a usability focus. Find information that would strengthen your argument for usability on your team.

Knew that some info available in ‘overview’, under "About Usability" heading – I was just there, plus there is a quote (without a link to the spot, somehow) that this page includes information on "Why practice usability".

Thought I would look for some more in-depth information, so I clicked on ‘Usability in the Real World’, in the left navigation area. Note that this brought up an article, rather than a page devoted to ‘Usability in the Real World’.

Again, I looked for a forum to discuss the matter, or a search engine to find articles, etc – none available.

I found relevant information in the ‘Usability: Solution to a problem’ link in the ‘about Usability’ link. I also found that the successes and failures link (Usability in the real world) is also useful. Maybe a link from Usability: Solution to a problem to the successes and failures will be beneficial.

Looked under:

Usability in the Real World - usability in action - success stories

Look for information about basic web design principles and concepts.


Clicked on ‘Guidelines and Methods’ in the left navigation area. There is a list of sites that I could visit for this information. However, it would be helpful to have reviews or brief descriptions of the amount and quality of information available at each (see ‘Other Usability Websites’ page for examples).

As I want basic principles and concepts, perhaps it would have been useful to have separate lists of beginning and more advanced sites. At the same time, it might also be useful to list the types of web design ideas at each – for example, information design vs. HTML design vs. other types of design (Flash, JavaScript, etc). This is a difficult question, of how to describe the sites accurately, without having two-page expositions on each – this is where a good search engine and database would come in handy.

Pretty obvious link from ‘Guidelines and methods’ to the Yale web style manual.


Looked under:

Guidelines and Methods - Yale, IBM, Usable Web, etc.

You want to boost your skill level and your resume with new knowledge and experience. Find out how to pursue this goal.

I assume that one would click on the ‘Professional Development’ link in the left navigation area, or in the lower right section of the page. It didn’t take long to find this area, but there is no way to know what type of information will be available in the future.


Common activities and recommended readings are helpful.


Looked under:

Members only - Professional Development


words should be reversed, most important word first: Professional Development - Members only

Look for information about recruiting participants for a Task Analysis.

I clicked on ‘Guidelines and Methods’ in the left navigation area. I thought that the ‘Usability Methodologies Toolbox’ link might have some useful info, but I saw nothing in a quick glance through. It listed Rubin’s Handbook of Usability Testing as a possible source of info, along with some other items in a bibliographic list (I don’t really like his presentation style, but this is not the place to discuss that).

I also seem to recall that Jakob Nielsen wrote on this subject some time ago, but there are no links to ‘’ on this site.

Clicked on About Usability link, but did not find anything relevant.

I thought I find some information in the Guidelines and method link.

Probably the methods should be separated from Guidelines and the methods should be more descriptive

Looked under:

Guidelines and Methods

Recommended Reading


Could not find anything.


Part II


Participant 1

Participant 2

Participant 3

1. Is the terminology descriptive and easy to understand? Are there any terms that you would change?

I like the heading titles, as they seem to describe what is on each of the pages pretty well (or at least have the potential to do so).

Why does ‘Recommended Readings’ just lead to other lists by other people? Why not a list of books, articles, etc that professionals might want to peruse – purchasing links through Amazon or whomever, reviews by known professionals in the field, perhaps even an annotated bibliography of works in certain categories?

I would make the organizations to something more obvious.

Recommended Readings, Guidelines & Methods, and Other Usability Web Sites are somewhat ambiguous terms. They all link to outside sources. What is the difference. It seems to make the use check three places. Instead, there should be some sort of better SUBJECT ACCESS to the topic of usability.

2. Is there anything about the layout or design of the pages that you think is confusing or would be hard to use?

Collections of links are nice, if there are good descriptions of what will be found on the other side. Otherwise, it is a long list of possibly (but doubtfully) useful pages that will take some time and energy to peruse.

A ‘go to the top’ link on the bottom of long pages.

Link color does not change to show where I have been. It should let me know what I have clicked on.

Members only should be in parenthesis after the topic, not the lead word in the blue.

Confusion between the gray left navigation panel vs the yellow headers. Why aren't the yellow headers clickable? The same words are in the gray. Why repeat. For the yellow part of the page, it seems you have to click on one of the options under the category rather than the category itself. Confusing navigation!

Too much blue underline on the page in general.