ASIS&T IA Summit 2003 "Making Connections"  
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Impact of Behavioral-based User Research on Site Design
Sunday, 10:00 - 10:30
Session Three

Rick Omanson
Impact of Behavioral-based User Research on Site Design
Rick Omanson is a User Experience Architect for User Centric

This presentation will discuss the connection between behavioral methods of user research (card sorting, traffic path analysis, search log analysis) and Web site design.

It is well understood that successful sites meet both business and user goals. Sites that do not deliver desired revenue, information, or cost savings are soon shut down. On the other hand, sites that fail to meet the expectations and goals of visitors are soon ignored. Thus, it is increasingly common for information architects to base their designs in part on user research.

The most common way in which user goals and expectations are assessed is through interviews and focus groups. Representative users are asked about their reasons for visiting the site, what they expect, and what they want to accomplish. The disadvantage of these methods is that people's description of what they might do often is different from what they actually do.
Three behavioral-based user research methods will be described. Traffic path analysis (e.g., from a Web analytic product like those offered by WebCriteria or ClickFox) provides insight in to user goals and expectations about task sequences (such as shopping carts). Search log analysis provides insight into missing and buried content. Card sorting provides insight into expected site organization. Together, these three techniques can identify what content and functionality users expect, and how they expect the content to be organized and the functionality to be structured.

In this presentation the audience will learn about behavioral-based user research techniques and will be presented with a framework for translating research findings into site design.

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