Smashing Magazine has a very interesting list of usability findings.
In summary, they are:
- Form Labels Work Best Above The Field
Also mentioned here. It’s particularly good for mobile interfaces, and I like it because it allows more space for descriptions.
- Users Focus On Faces
This was interesting – people look in the same direction as the face they’re looking at.
- Quality Of Design Is An Indicator Of Credibility
This is precisely why designers should be part of the initial proposal (if appropriate), or at the very least, part of the high-level solution.
- Most Users Do
Users do scroll, but you need to present the information in discreet sections for easy scanning. With the variety of screen sizes these days, guessing where the fold lies is nearly impossible to guarantee.
- Blue Is The Best Color For Links
Blue is a metaphor that we’re all used to. I’d be interested to know if it also needs to be underlined.
- The Ideal Search Box Is 27-Characters Wide
This was interesting… most queries will be less than 27 characters long.
- White Space Improves Comprehension
Along with point #4, decent content layout is very important.
- Effective User Testing Doesn’t Have To Be Extensive
I’ve seen this, and it’s true. 15 people are all you need.
- Informative Product Pages Help You Stand Out
This could be worth comparing with this article, which makes the case for not telling your customers the precise specifications.
- Most Users Are Blind To Advertising
As the article says, avoid making content look like an advertisement – people will ignore it.
They also have a few bonus points based on their own studies, around line height and line length.