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Website usability and design testing can be an expensive business. Many small and medium web projects can’t justify the costs of commissioning professional usability testing. Either the project budget is too small or testing would adversely affect the completion date. If you’re involved in a small scale project which can’t afford full usability/design testing then the lead designer and project manager will usually stick to industry best practice for U.I. elements and overall design.

Designers, clients and project managers rarely disagree on core design/usability issues, where you place a navigation bar or call to action are easily resolved. However, disagreements over color, photos and fonts are common place. Typically these types of disagreements can be settled by testing, but if you don’t have the budget – what can you do?

 

Until now – not much! Thankfully Usabilityhub.com identified this problem and produced a set of tools which allow you to quickly test design and UI parameters for little or no cost. You can learn how visitors interact with your design before launching. Find out what they think, what they remember, and where they make mistakes.

Test out mock ups/designs using a secret URL which you can share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email. Use the power of social media to get test results for free. You can also order responses from the UsabilityHub community at the cost of 1 credit each. Responses from testers of specific demographics (country, age range, gender) cost 3 credits each. You can invite as many of your own testers as you like for free. Fifty credits can be purchased for $45 and one thousand credits will cost you $500. However, you can earn karma credits by completing other people’s tests!

If you’d like to check out this fast and free method of testing click the link below.

Test your designs and mockups on real people…

3Lancer.com is a resource aimed at freelance web designer. The site contains links to 100s of useful online tools, code snippets, software programs and inspirational designs. Designed in a visual format the site is growing at a rapid rate, and proving very popular.

In the coming months we hope to add a submission process for users to add their own finds, tools and website. 3lancer.com is designed on the GalleryPro wordpress template with a ‘lazyloader‘ on the homepage. jQuery and LazyLoad ensure that you never use more bandwidth than you have to and includes a really neat fade in effect as the user scrolls down the page!

Our latest website creation is Free Slot Machines, it adds to our already growing list of dedicated slots and fruit machine portals.

The soft gaming niche is an area we are planning to expand into, we have a number of domains that we’d like to see active with content. So far this year this is our second slot site to go live. Read more

Finally our very first website TheGameHunter.co.uk has got a much needed re-design! Online since 2003 The Game Hunter gambling guide is now in it’s third incarnation. The site has been a firm favourite with visitors who love it’s informal, informative casino, poker, bingo and bookmaker reviews.

The new Game Hunter incorporates lots of usability enhancements which easily allow us to add new offers and merchants. The additional of rotating banners means we can feature more merchants than ever before, we can even change the frequency that individual banners display. Casino, Poker, Bingo and Scratch Card reviews are now separated from guides and news.

The redesign also gave us the opportunity to prune some content and reviews, we have reformatted the popular guides into a search-able database and added a tagging system which allows visitors to quickly drill down to the most relevant sections of the site for them.

The site is still a work in progress, over the coming weeks and months we will be replacing the static screen shots of the casinos and games with our own generated video content, which will feel will be more beneficial and informative for the visitors.

We are currently working on the redesign of our first website The Game Hunter. The first phase of the redesign is creating a new ‘Game Hunter’ cartoon. The website has always featured the character Cornelius, he gives visitors the low down on the best places to play online casino and poker games.

As you can see the new Game Hunter is based on a series of sketches I made over the last few weeks. I’m very happy with the final result which was traced from the original sketches with Adobe Fireworks vector tools. I was never completely happy with the old cartoon but never had enough free time to revisit the design.

A new Cornelius is just the first phase of a massive overhaul for www.TheGameHunter.co.uk, in the next few weeks the site will begin to migrate to the new template and format. The original concept of The Game Hunter will remain, but expect to see plenty of web 2.0 elements creeping into the next few weeks.

It’s been a long time coming but finally we have new business cards, designed by Crewe based company TDB the cards are transparent and feature the Eddison Media light bulb logo and the usual information. We love the cards and can wholeheartedly recommend TDB if you’re looking for unique business cards, designs and print services.

If you’re looking for inspirational ideas for your business cards then check out 100 really creative business cards at www.webdesignerdepot.com. I was please to see it featured a couple of transparent cards, phew! at last we’re cool.