I recently read the very likable and popular book Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. I think it should be required reading for anyone who does anything with web design and development or software. The author’s examples are clear, authoritative, and presented with humor, which makes cruising through this book enjoyable and interesting. I can’t tell you how many “Head Slappers” (to borrow Krug’s usage of the cliché) I experienced while reading. So many of his ideas seem obvious, but are not common place yet.
One of the most powerful, simple, and important suggestions he gives is how to conduct a usability test. After reading the book and visiting his website, I found a video of the author giving a workshop. It is a very good overview of the book and includes a usability test demonstration. I encourage you to watch the video (or at least listen) and get the book if you don’t already have it.