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E-Commerce User Experience Hardcover – 1 Jul 2001
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It has a lot of research data, which is good. However since the research dates back to early 2000s, some of it is common knowledge.
Overall the book is good for people who are starting out in ecommerce. Helps in making users aware of different aspects of e commerce.
However, if you want a really really inexpensive peak into the methods of the NN Group and what their findings for the state of E-Commerce were in 2001, this is a really neat read.
Going through all the basics and gives you dipper knowledge on each subject. Enjoy!
I guess it's useful if you truly have no e-commerce experience, need the content and can't get it anywhere else. Personally, I think if I were the author, I'd be ashamed of myself for authoring this. Some of the biggest issues:
* HORRIBLE INFORMATION PRESENTATION/LAYOUT. There is literally almost no visual information structure in a 1000+ document. Headers could summarize points, but often don't. Overall, is not designed to be scannable in a way you'd expect from a modern research report.
I would at least expect key insights to be bulleted or boldfaced. Often we put participant quotes to the side because they stand out and provide support to illustrate a point and make a report scannable -- instead, they're just put inline.
This is not a document I can share with a team and expect them to get any value from. They're not going to invest a full day digging for a few nuggets of wisdom buried among the wordy blather - they expect things that get to the point. It's something I would have to waste several weekends reading in detail and then writing up something for the team to extract value from.
* LOTS OF VERBIAGE, LITTLE ORIGINAL INSIGHT. It's as if they felt customers thought they were paying by the word and would value the outcome more if it were fluffier and wordier. I think I read 50 pages before finding even a single thing that was not pure common sense.
* POOR PRESENTATION OF RESEARCH RESULTS. Results are frequently presented in a quasi-scientific fashion without any clear explanation of what the results actually mean. This may look impressive to an audience that does not do user research, but for those of us who do, it's just sloppy information design. It is not your reader's job to figure out the relevance of your study results -- it is your job to foreground it.
* UNCLEAR EXTERNAL VALIDITY. When they present results, it's often unclear what types of e-commerce systems (or product types) they've actually studied to reach the recommendations or conclusions that they make. Instead, it feels like you're supposed to take it on faith that what they're saying is relevant to you, as if the author's brand reputation negates the need for external validity in research presentation.
* PRESENTS BEHAVIORAL OUTCOMES WITHOUT GOING INTO THE "WHY". Too many times where they present research results without giving insight into WHY participants had the problems that they did. Did they do any qualitative follow-up? Or did they just run some benchmark studies and speculate on the answers?
* ANECDOTAL DATA STATED AS FACT. It's disappointing to see the number of assertions to the effect of "don't do <X> because one user had a problem with it." More broadly, it's hard to judge how rigorous the knowledge is behind the different assertions made. Really? Conclusion validity?
I could go on, but overall, this is the kind of report writing we would expect from the most junior researcher at my company -- and he or she would be getting some serious mentoring before it went out. The times I've anticipated using it, I earnestly could have just conducted a rapid user study on UserTesting.com faster than try to find what I needed from this doc (and it would be more contextually valid!).
If anyone knows of other consultancies who've done higher quality work in this space, I'd really love the pointer. This is just a big pile of what my colleagues describe as "Masters of the Obvious" work.
For those new to eCommerce usability, I highly recommend this book. Very valuable to know the fundamentals and rules of user behaviour, so in future we can all be navigating easy-to-use and feature rich eCommerce sites.
Steve Krug's 'Don't Make Me Think' is also a great book (and a definite read for anyone interested in eCommerce), but this book takes a more professional approach - Krug's is mostly about 'concept' whereas Neilsen's is more about 'action'.
One last thing - don't be dissuaded that this book was written in 2001 - that's young in the Internet world. It would have been good, though, to maybe see a new edition of this book with more recent/updated eCommerce sites.