I’ve encountered a lot of user researchers and designers lately who say to me, “I can’t do all the testing there is to do. The developers are going to have to evaluate usability of the design themselves. But they’re not trained! I’m worried about how to give them enough skills to get good data.”
What if you had a tiny guide that would give your team just the tips they need to guide them in creating and performing usability tests? It’s here!
Usability Testing Pocket Guide
This is a 32-page, 3.5 x 5-inch book that includes 11 simple steps along with a quick checklist at the end to help you know whether you’re ready to run your test.
The covers are printed on 100% recycled chipboard. The internal pages are vegetable- based inks on 100% recycled papers. The Pocket Guides are printed by Scout Books and designed by Oxide Design Co.
You can order yours here.
While the Web has evolved from flat documents to being fluidly ambient, we’re using user research methods from 1994. In this session, Dana presents 5 major issues confronting UXers working in the social web, challenges you to creative solutions, and shares experiences from pioneering researchers.
Watch the video of this talk from ConveyUX in 2013 in Seattle.
Or, check out the slides, below.
I gave a virtual seminar for UIE in October 2013 about how to look at recruiting participants for studies as bonus user research.
You can get the archived seminar from UIE.
Or, have a look at the slides.
She wrote to me to ask if she could give me some feedback about the protocol for a usability test. “Absolutely,” I emailed back, “I’d love that.”
By this point, we’d had 20 sessions with individual users, conducted by 5 different researchers. Contrary to what I’d said, I was not in love with the idea of getting feedback at that moment, but I decided I needed to be a grown-up about it. Maybe there really was something wrong and we’d need to start over.
That would have been pretty disappointing – starting over – because we had piloted the hell out of this protocol. Even my mother could do it and get us the data we needed. I was deeply curious about what the feedback would be, but it would be a couple of days before the concerned researcher and I could talk. Continue reading Just follow the script: Working with pro and proto-pro co-researchers
There’s a usability testing revival going on. I don’t know if you know that.
This new testing is leaner, faster, smarter, more collaborative, and covers more ground in less time. How does that happen? Everyone on the team is empowered to go do usability testing themselves. This isn’t science, it’s sensible design research. At it’s essence, usability testing is a simple thing: something to test, somewhere that makes sense, with someone who would be a real user.
But not everyone has time to get a Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction or cognitive or behavioral psychology. Most of the teams I work with don’t even have time to attend a 2-day workshop or read a 400-page manual. These people are brave and experimental, anyway. Why not give them a tiny, sweet tool to guide them, and just let them have at it? Let us not hold them back. Continue reading Coming soon…
I’ve seen it dozens of times. The team meets after observing people use their design, and they’re excited and energized by what they saw and heard during the sessions. They’re all charged up about fixing the design. Everyone comes in with ideas, certain they have the right solution to the remedy frustrations users had. Then what happens?
On a super collaborative team everyone is in the design together, just with different skills. Splendid! Everyone was involved in the design of the usability test, they all watched most of the sessions, they participated in debriefs between sessions. They took detailed, copious notes. And now the “what ifs” begin:
What if we just changed the color of the icon? What if we made the type bigger? What if we moved the icon to the other side of the screen? Or a couple of pixels? What if? Continue reading Ending the opinion wars: fast, collaborative design direction
It was a spectacularly beautiful Saturday in San Francisco. Exactly the perfect day to do some field usability testing. But this was no ordinary field usability test. Sure, there’d been plenty of planning and organizing ahead of time. And there would be data analysis afterward. What made this test different from most usability tests?
One of the first things people say when they call up looking for help with recruiting is that they want to recruit “12 for 8” or “20 for 15”. They know what they want to end up with. They’ve got to get data. Managers are showing up to observe. They’ve gone through a lot to get a study to happen at all. They don’t want to risk putting a study together only to get less data than they need. So, compensating for a show rate of between 60% and 80% means over-recruiting.
Even though a recruiting agency probably won’t charge for no-shows, those no-shows can be costly in lots of ways. Continue reading The true costs of no-shows
For many of us, usability testing is a necessary evil. For others, it’s too much work, or it’s too disruptive to the development process. As you might expect, I have issues with all that. It’s unfortunate that some teams don’t see the value in observing people use their designs. Done well, it can be an amazing event in the life of a design. Even done very informally, it can still show up useful insights that can help a team make informed design decisions. But I probably don’t have to tell you that.
Usability testing can be enormously elevating for teams at all stages of UX maturity. In fact, there probably isn’t nearly enough of it being done. Even on enlightened teams that know about and do usability tests, they’re probably not doing it often enough. There seems to be a correlation between successful user experiences and how often and how much the designers and developers spend time observing users. (hat tip Jared Spool) Continue reading Usability testing is HOT
Despite the reality of differences due to aging, research has also shown that in many cases, we do not need a separate design for people who are age 50+. We need better design for everyone.
Everyone performs better on web sites where the interaction matches users’ goals; where navigation and information are grouped well; where navigation elements are consistent and follow conventions; where writing is clear, straightforward, in the active voice, and so on. And, much of what makes up good design for younger people helps older adults as well.
For example, we know that most users, regardless of age, are more successful finding information in broad, shallow information architectures than they are with deep, narrow hierarchies. When web sites make their sites easier to use for older adults, all of their users perform better in usability studies. The key is involving older adults in user research and usability testing throughout design and development. Continue reading Involving older adults in design of the user experience: Inclusive design