UIE Brain Sparks
Usability testing. Hang around me long enough and you’ll hear me say this:
Outsourcing your user research work is like outsourcing your vacation.
It gets the job done, but probably won’t have the effects you were seeking.
I usually say this when someone is asking me to do their user research for them. This is something we did quite a bit in the early days of UIE, but don’t do any longer.
UIE Brain Sparks
Usability testing. Our favorite method for prioritizing is the KJ Technique. It’s a method that helps teams rank the important issues for a focus question, such as “What are the most important usability problems we need to fix in this version of the design?” or “Which observations from a usability study are most important to act on?”
We’re such big fans of the process that I wrote an article about it several years ago.
Usability testing. By Shanshan Ma
Published: July 18, 2011
“One of the challenges usability professionals constantly face is showing the value of usability testing through quantifiable results. Convincing a client to invest … in usability testing often requires some concrete numbers that explicitly tell what the return on the investment in usability testing will be.
Usability testing. By Mike Hughes
Published: June 24, 2011
“Usability testing is a form of user research, in so far as it allows you to make conclusions about a large population based on observations of a small sample of that population. ”
Usability testing is a form of user research, in so far as it allows you to make conclusions about a large population based on observations of a small sample of that population.
UIE Brain Sparks
Usability testing. Today’s UIEtips article will upset a lot of folks. They won’t like what our research has turned up. They’ll claim we’ve got it all wrong. And they might be right.
Usability testing. It depends (you saw that coming). Context matters in deciding what a good completion rate is for a task, however, knowing what other task completion rates are can be a good guide for setting goals. An analysis of almost 1200 usability tasks shows that the average task-completion rate is 78%. The Fundamental Usability MetricA binary task completion rate is one of the most fundamental of usability metrics.
Usability testing. Ask a user to complete a task and they can tell you how difficult it was to complete. But can a user tell you how difficult the task will be without even attempting it? It turns out the task description reveals much of the task's complexity, so users can predict actual task ease and difficulty reasonably well. The gap in expectations can be a powerful predictor of usability problems--something recently seen on eBay.
Usability testing. How usable is a website or software application? To know if design changes improved the usability of an application, you first need a baseline measure of usability from a benchmark test. Here are 10 tips to use when planning your next benchmark test. Recruit for representativeness over randomness: It will be difficult to select a random group of users for your tests.
Usability testing. 5 Second Usability Tests: Ratings of website usability after only 5 seconds are the same as those after 10 minutes. Unmoderated Usability Data is Mostly Reliable: Data from remote usability test takers is rather similar to lab based studies except for task-times which differ more substantially. Cheaters: Around 10% of paid usability testers will cheat on your test by rushing through the questions just to receive the honorarium.
A List Apart: The Fu...
Content. Whether the purpose of your site is to convince people to do something, to buy something, or simply to inform, testing only whether they can find information or complete transactions is a missed opportunity: Is the content appropriate for the audience? Can they read and understand what you’ve written? Angela Colter shows how to predict whether your content will work (without users) and test whether it does work (with users).
Forum One News
Usability testing. In the interactive world everyone has their own opinion and ideas on what makes a pleasant, effective user experience. Usually that leads to the exclusion of the real question, “what do users want /need?” When done correctly, A/B Testing can settle the argument, giving the audience an indirect voice.
Smashing Magazine Fe...
Usability testing. The attention span on the Web has been decreasing ever since Google had arrived and changed the rules of the game. Now with millions of results available on any topic imaginable, the window to grab a visitor’s attention has decreased significantly (in 2002, the BBC reported it is about 9 seconds).
Zurb's Clue is another great 5 second test service. They describe it as a fun and easy way to test what people remember on your website.
To use, enter a URL for a page you'd like to test, they generate a screenshot, and provide you with URLs for the test and the test report. Here's an example using this site: test and report.
Putting people first
In his latest Core77 contribution, the acclaimed Donald Norman reflects on the role of testing versus creativity in design and innovation.
“There is a trend to eliminate designers. Who needs them when we can simply test our way to success? The excitement of powerful, captivating design is defined as irrelevant. Worse, the nature of design is in danger.
UIE Brain Sparks
Usability testing. When we prepare for our user research sessions, it’s easy to focus on the questions we should ask. But what about the ones we shouldn’t ask?
Our goal, of course, is to learn everything we can. We need to leverage the research time, to ensure we’re filling our brains with the information we’ll need to create great designs.
In today’s UIEtips, I talk about three questions I’ve learned not to ask in sessions.
UIE Brain Sparks
Usability testing. Picking the right assumptions to measure against can improve our results, but basing our measures on the wrong assumptions can send us in the wrong direction.
Former UIEer Joshua Porter wrote a blog post recently, Why A/B Testing Isn’t Just About Small Changes, that captured the attention of the twitterati.
Usability testing. By Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain
Published: August 9, 2010
“There are a number of ways you can use unmoderated user research tools that can provide a great deal of value. ”
Over the past year or two, unmoderated usability testing has become a popular option to help guide product design. It is especially popular for Web sites, providing startups the opportunity to get relatively quick-and-easy user feedback on design iterations.
Userfocus Usability ...
Usability testing. The magic of usability tests is that you get to see what people actually do with a system (rather than what they say they do). This gives you great insights into how people behave and how to improve your design. But if your tasks lack realism you’ll find that people just go through the motions and don’t engage with the test -- reducing the credibility of your results. Here are 6 ways to captivate participants with great test tasks.
AddUse is a commercial user research service that allow you to run and analyze web surveys and allows usability test facilitators to manually capture and analyze the results of test sessions.
Usability testing. Dan and Jeffrey talk with special guest Jared Spool about usability testing in the real world, with practical advice for designers, UI engineers, and developers alike.
Links for this episode:
User Interface Engineering - Usability Research, Training, and Events - UIE
In-person user research used to be the only game in town, and as with most industry practices, its procedures were developed, refined, standardized, and then became entrenched in the corporate R&D product development cycle. Practically everything gets tested in a lab, hallway, or conference room nowadays: commercial web sites, professional and consumer software, even video games. But nowadays we’ve got remote usability testing.
A List Apart: The Fu...
Usability testing. User research doesn’t have to be expensive and time-consuming. With online applications, you can test your designs, wireframes, and prototypes over the phone and your computer with ease and aplomb. Nate Bolt shows the way.
The UX Booth
Usability testing. Photo by GagilasHave you ever sat in on a user testing session, watching a user really struggle with the task at hand, only to have them tell you at the end that everything was easy and straight forward? How do you encourage these participants to be negative? I’ve discovered a few techniques that might be able to help. A colleague and I were running some usability tests on a registration form last week.
Usability testing. Recently, I've been doing a lot of usability testing. The great part about it is, each new person I sit down with reveals a wealth of knowledge that would otherwise have gone untapped. The bad thing is, user testing takes time out of a busy production schedule, adding to an already stretched timeline and minimal budget. But it’s worth it.