Happy Birthday! UsabilityGeek is One Today

Well, the headline says it all! I am thrilled to announce that today marks the first anniversary since I started UsabilityGeek. The reason why I started this blog was primarily because at that time, I had observed a discrepancy between the abundant academic information available and its real-life implementation in web development.

Let me explain better. During the two years prior to launching this blog, I spent a considerable amount of time conducting literature research as part of my final-year thesis in Website Usability. During this process, I discovered several impressive research papers documenting studies in usability and Human Computer Interaction. At that time I was heading the web development division of a website and web application development company. It quickly dawned on me that very few web designers and developers were aware of the wealth of information available.

The next logical step was to provide the developers with these documents. However, this approach did not work. The main reason was that academic papers are written for academic purposes. The developers were finding it difficult to extract important information hidden in the academic jargon and apply that information in their everyday job as web developers. What was needed was someone to take that information, digest it and present it in a simple, practical way that can be applied in web development. The lack of such a resource, coupled with the fact that poor website usability has commercial and legal implications is what drove me to create UsabilityGeek.

How UsabilityGeek Has Evolved

This is the original mockup of how UsabilityGeek was meant to appear. Much has changed since then in order to make the blog itself usable!

Eversince its commencement, the primary objective of UsabilityGeek has been to serve as a learning platform for anyone who has embraced the importance of usable websites. Throughout this past year, the blog has rapidly evolved with this objective in mind.

One of the major changes has been who writes in it. Whilst the early blog posts were all written by myself, I have started accepting guest posts. Provided they meet a set of criteria which I listed in the Write For UsabilityGeek page, guest blog posts are an excellent means to voice the opinion of the community and introduce variety in any blog. They can trigger interesting discussions too. And speaking of community, the social media communities for UsabilityGeek have grown too – especially on the Twitter Page – @justinmifsud which is now nearing 5,000 followers.

As most of you know by now, UsabilityGeek is not my full-time profession but rather my way of giving something back to the community that has taught me (and is still teaching me) so much. Through this blog, I had the opportunity to meet and correspond with some amazing people – which is awesome, especially when you are isolated on a 122 square mile island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. I had the honor of personally meeting world-renowned usability expert Caroline Jarrett. Caroline eventually came to Malta and together we organized Malta’s first Web Usability Conference, An Evening of Web Usability. Through UsabilityGeek, I also had the opportunity to work with the great folks at Usabilla, UserTesting and Smashing Magazine, for whom I also wrote a couple of guest posts.

In terms of followers, UsabilityGeek is now attracting an average of 20,000 monthly visitors, which is not bad for a 1-year old blog catering for a niche market.

The UsabilityGeek Top 10

Top Ten Posts on Usability - UsabilityGeek
Looking at the 10 posts which garnered the most views in this past year, it is clear that people search for practical posts. Whilst varied in terms of content, most of the posts in the list below are either posts listing usability resources or guidelines. And the winners are …

  1. Official Usability, User Experience & User Interface Guidelines From Companies
  2. 14 Guidelines For Web Site Tabs Usability
  3. The Difference (And Relationship) Between Usability And User Experience
  4. 15 Title Tag Optimization Guidelines For Usability And SEO
  5. Colour: User Experience And Psychology
  6. 12 Effective Guidelines For Breadcrumb Usability And SEO
  7. 7 HTML Guidelines For Website Usability & SEO
  8. 10 Free Web-Based Web Site Accessibility Evaluation Tools
  9. 5 Signs That Indicate Website Usability Problems
  10. Official Usability & Web Site Guidelines Of Governments From Around The World

The Future Of UsabilityGeek

So what lies ahead for UsabilityGeek? Definitely great content to satisfy the quest for knowledge of anyone who embraces or wants to embrace usability as a core aspect of any website. Thus, the primary emphasis will be placed on inviting people to share their views. This will not be restricted to guest blogging but will also be extended to enhancing the ever-growing community. With regards to the subject of the articles themselves, there will be more tutorials than articles of an academic or general nature.

Another project that I have in mind is to launch the monthly newsletter. And yes, prizes. There have been quite a number of giveaways this year so expect more. If you have any prizes that you would like to give or you would like to support this blog, please visit the advertising page.

This is obviously my personal opinion which is purely based on analytics and feedback that I receive. Thus, I would really love to hear what you have to say. Please use the comment system below to recommend what you would like to see here on UsabilityGeek.

Well, that’s about it. May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your support throughout this year. It has been an amazing experience and I look forward towards being at your service for many years to come!