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Usability for all budgets



Slides used for October 2010 presentation at CPMN

Slides used for October 2010 presentation at CPMN



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    Usability for all budgets Usability for all budgets Presentation Transcript

    • Usability For All Budgets
      Elan Lennard
    • What is Usability?
      Usability is the ease with which a user interacts with software
      * As relates to what I’m discussing today
    • Why Does Usability Matter?
    • When To Test For Usability
      Product Development
    • We’ve No Time For Usability Tests
      Usability testing can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months in preparation, execution and review
      Performing usability tests early in the development cycle will ensure that the UI design is right the first time. Changes late in the product cycle require massive upheaval to the code, introducing bugs and risking inconsistency in the user interface layer
      Some might say that you don’t have time to not do usability testing
    • Methods of Ensuring Good HCI
      Engineer in a bubble
      Pro: Fast GUI Design
      Con: Engineer has little idea how the customer uses the product
      Pro: Fast GUI Design
      Con: Can go terribly wrong
      Formal Usage Studies
      Pro: Controlled environment
      Con: Expensive
      One-on-one Usage Studies
      Pro: Users are accessible
      Con: Can be difficult to schedule visits via the Sales team
    • Isn’t Usability Testing Expensive?
      The way companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple do it?
      Two-way mirror for observation by engineers, Product Managers and QA staff
      Dedicated Test Lab
      Mouse/keystroke recording
      Video Camera
      Lasers to track eye movements (lasers are cool!)
      But you can get great results from testing on a budget, too
      Sit next to tester
      Manually take down observations
      Use standard digital camera for recording
      > £10,000
      < £2,000
    • Where To Start
      Choose core functionality to test
      Create list of simple tasks for user to follow and questionnaire
      Open a file, edit file, insert image, export, print, save
      Schedule a week of developer’s time to mock-up interactive prototypes in Flash or UI Layer (might require bribery)
      Does not need to be functional, simply emulate specified functionality
      Recruit typical users to participate
      Newsgroups, personal network, former colleagues
      Set up computer, camera on tripod in corner, one printed version of tasks /questionnaire for each tester
    • Reviewing The Results
      Usability testing is only as good as the information you obtain from it
    • Impact of Improved HCI
      To Engineering
      No more designing in a bubble
      More confidence in their work
      To Support
      Happier callers
      Fewer GUI calls
      To Sales
      Able to demonstrate new features in a personalized demo to potential customers
      To the user
      Feel that they are being heard
      Find it easier to get their work done after seeing new features
    • Remember…
      You do not know how customers will interact with your product
      Your developers are most likely not HCI experts and shouldn’t be expected to design the UI
      Only by viewing actual target users will you and your team know if you’re on the right track
    • The Actual Tests
      Usability tester arrives, sits at computer
      Sit down with them and explain what you wish them to do
      The user should go through the tasks on their own, with no instruction
      They should speak aloud as they progress and where they confused
      After completing the tasks, have the user fill in a questionnaire about their experience with the software
    • Further Reading
      Advancements in Human/Computer InteractionbyJakob Nielsen
      The Usability Engineering Lifecycle by Deborah Mayhew
      Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
      Inside Google’s Usability Labs (article)
      And the font of all knowledge, Wikipedia
      Software for recording and tracking mouse movements
      Free software on SourceForge for screen and audio capture