Catalyst’s proprietary test of the usability of blogs, conducted in late June and early July of 2005, can be downloaded immediately here. Our analysis sheds light on a variety of heretofore neglected, user-experience related design challenges associated with blogs’ potential to become a mainstream medium for Internet users.
So intrigued were we by the results of this study that we issued a press release about it… The release is posted on the Catalyst mother site and provides a good summary of the test results. Here’s a snippet:
In order to test the direction that blogs are heading – rather than where they have been historically – Catalyst probed usage and navigation of one of BusinessWeek’s five new blogs, “Well Spent�? (http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/wellspent/). Catalyst judged this to be an example of a newer, “mainstream�? type of media blog which keeps all the core functionality associated with the medium, but folds it into a larger, well-known and branded website. Highlights of the study include:
* No participant understood the mechanisms associated with RSS/subscribing to a blog – not even the minority familiar with the term “RSS.”
* Few participants even recognized that they were on an actual blog – and once they did, had a very different reaction to the information presented.
* A minority of participants understood how to navigate within the blog itself – with most being confused by areas for recent posts, categories, trackbacks and even the comments and archives functions.
We hope you will check out the study and let us know what you think.