Users First: An Introduction to Usability and User-Centered Design and Development for Technical Information and Products
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Users First: An Introduction to Usability and User-Centered Design and Development for Technical Information and Products

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Presentation to the Inland Empire chapter of STC in April 2001.

Presentation to the Inland Empire chapter of STC in April 2001.

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  • © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery)
  • © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery)
  • © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery)
  • © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery)
  • © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery)

Users First: An Introduction to Usability and User-Centered Design and Development for Technical Information and Products Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Users First!An Introduction to Usability and User-CenteredDesign and Development for Technical Informationand ProductsAndrea L. AmesOwner/Consultant, UcentricsRegion 8 Director-Sponsor, STCCertificate Coordinator and Instructor, UCSCExt.Principal Technical Writer, Vertical Networks
  • 2. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 2About Andrea Technical communicator since 1983 Online information presentation focus since 1989 Consultant since 1995 User-centered design and development process and start-to-finish usability—analysis, design, testing Focus primarily on software product user interfaces andinteractive information systems, including Web Coordinator of two University of California, SantaCruz, Extension technical communicationcertificates Society for Technical Communication Board ofDirectors
  • 3. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 3Discussion Topics The problem and the solution: Usability Achieving usability through UCD&D The typical usability adoption process Your goal: Characteristics of a usabilityorganization Where to go from here: Skills andknowledge Resources
  • 4. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 4The Problem:Products Are Hard to Use Emphasis on products and selling, notend users—product buye r may no t beuse r Design? What design? Designingusable products is difficult due to thehuman factor—need to understandusers’ mental models Development organizations have little tono process—forget user-centered! Information development processes areat the mercy of product development—typically not integrated
  • 5. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 5How Usability IssuesAffect Documentation Compensation for unusableproducts Documentation is a finger inthe eroding dam of anunusable product We’re losing the battle,because traditionaldocumentation deliverablesare not working
  • 6. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 6The Solution:Usability One of many product characteristics—includes Usefulness Intuitive or intuitable Ease of use (aka usability) Ease of learning Likeability A result of an iterative, user-centered designand development process
  • 7. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 7Additional ProductCharacteristics ThatAffect Usability High-performance Maintainable Reliable Manufacture-able Functional Compatible Portable Localize-able/internationalize-able
  • 8. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 8Usability Is Not…O nly usability testingJust a back-end attempt to rectifydesign problemsOccurring o nly late in thedesign/development process
  • 9. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 9User-Centered Design andDevelopment Process
  • 10. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 10Breaking It Down:Looking at Analysis,Design, and Validation inDetailMaking the caseRoles and responsibilitiesTiming, techniques, and toolsOutput/deliverables
  • 11. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 11The Case forAnalysis If you don’t have time to do itright, when will you have time todo it over? Meeting/beating the competition Business case/valueproposition (support, training,and documentation costs) Capitalizing on usability ofproducts in the press/market
  • 12. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 12Analysis Roles andResponsibilitiesDesigners should do analysisIf implementers can do some analysis,as well, so much the betterGet marketing and executivesinvolved, if analysis information beginsto contradict business strategy/sharedvision
  • 13. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 13Analysis:Timing, Techniques, &ToolsBe fo re designSurveys/questionnairesInterviewsTask analysisFocus groupsIn-company researchContextual inquiry, aka site visits
  • 14. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 14Analysis:Output/Deliverables Archetypes/personas User role models Audience/user profile Process/task flows, maps, models Use case scenarios
  • 15. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 15The Case forDesign Provides detail—not just vague marketrequirements—for algorithm designers anddevelopers/implementers Provides something concrete to validate andchange, if necessary Higher risk and cost to make changesafter implementation begins Read Alan Cooper’s The Inm ate sAre Running the Asylum
  • 16. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 16Design Roles andResponsibilities Information architect/designer: Enlightenedtechnical communicator Interaction designer: Human factors expert;enlightened technical communicator,graphic designer, or developer who is well-versed in human factors, cognitivepsychology, etc. Visual designer: Enlightened graphicdesigner
  • 17. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 17Design:Timing, Techniques, &ToolsBe fo re implementation (coding/writing)Use output of analysis processContent modelingInteraction/navigation modelingParticipatory design
  • 18. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 18Design:Output/DeliverablesDetailed design specification(s)Detailed storyboard(s),wireframe(s)Paper and skeletal electronicprototype(s)
  • 19. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 19The Case forValidation We think we designed the right thing, but how dowe know for sure? Gather data vs. subjective information and opinions Minimize risk: Validate before we ship and can’t sell Create historical record of usability benchmarks forfuture use Minimize cost of service, support,training, and documentation Increase sales and probability ofrepeat sales
  • 20. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 20Validation Roles andResponsibilitiesDesign and develop the usability testplan, including test scenarios:Designers/developers ofproduct/documentation, withfeedback/input from entire productteam (usability test team)Administer the test: Anyone
  • 21. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 21Validation Roles andResponsibilities (cont.)Gather the data: Properly traineddesigners/developers ofproduct/documentationAnalyze the data: Usability test teamDevelop recommendations and writereport: Designers/developers ofproduct/documentation, withfeedback/input from usability test team
  • 22. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 22Validation:Timing, Techniques, &ToolsEarly and often —best time tovalidate is with early designs, onpaper, prototypes (least risk/cost)Heuristic and expert evaluationsWalk throughs with the teamUsability testing
  • 23. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 23Types of Usability TestsExploratory: Examine effectiveness ofpreliminary design concepts; test low-fidelity prototypes/designs/storyboards immediately after designphaseAssessment: Evaluate usability oflower-level operations and aspects ofproduct; approx. Alpha product
  • 24. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 24Types of UsabilityTests (cont.)Validation: Evaluate how productcompares to predetermined usabilitystandard or benchmark; approx. BetaproductComparison: Side-by-side comparisonof two or more design alternatives;best to test designs, but can be usedany time
  • 25. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 25Validation:Output/DeliverablesReport of usability issues uncovered intestingRecommendations for addressingusability issuesPlan for implementingrecommendationsJustification/prioritization of issues andrecommendations
  • 26. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 26Typical UsabilityAdoption ProcessValidationDesign (barely)Analysis (maybe)
  • 27. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 27YourGoal: Attributes ofUsability Organizations Phased approach to development that includes userinput and feedback at all critical points Multidisciplinary team approach—especially todesign Concerned, supportive management Individual contributors who are bought in and takeresponsibility for usability of product It’s not one person’s/group’s job (e.g., humanfactors)—it’s e ve ryo ne ’s job!
  • 28. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 28Where to Go From Here:Skills and Knowledge Focus on technologies, no t tools Cognitive psychology (how people learnand remember) Human factors, usability (including usabilitytesting), and user-centered developmentprocesses Audience analysis—esp. contextual inquiry Visual design User-interface design
  • 29. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 29What About Writing andInformation??Information architectureOnline document designInteraction designModular writingMinimalism
  • 30. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 30Resources:Print Books and Articles Beyer, Hugh and Karen Holtzblatt, Co nte xtualDe sig n: ACusto m e r-Ce nte re d Appro achto Syste m s De sig n Bias, Randolph and DeborahMayhew, Co st-JustifyingUsability Constantine, Larry and Lucy Lockwood, So ftwarefo r Use : APracticalG uide to the Mo de ls andMe tho ds o f Usag e -Ce nte re d De sig n
  • 31. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 31Resources:Print Books andArticles (cont.)Cooper, Alan The Inm ate s AreRunning the AsylumDumas, Joseph and Janice (Ginny)Redish, APracticalG uide to UsabilityTe stingHackos, JoAnn and Janice (Ginny)Redish, Use r and Task Analysis fo rInte rface De sig n
  • 32. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 32Resources:Print Books andArticles (cont.) Nielsen, Jakob, Usability Eng ine e ring Redish, Janice C. and Judith A. Ramey,“Special section: Measuring the value addedby professional technical communicators.”Te chnicalCo m m unicatio n, 42(1), 2/95 Rubin, Jeffrey, Handbo o k o f UsabilityTe sting Velotta, Chris, ed.: PracticalAppro ache s toUsability Te sting fo r Te chnicalDo cum e ntatio n (STC)
  • 33. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 33Resources:Web Sites IBM’s Ease of Use site: www.ibm.com/easy/ uidesign.net InteractionDesign Webzine:www.uidesign.net Usable Web: www.usableweb.com Jakob Nielsen’s site: www.useit.com Ask Tog: www.asktog.com
  • 34. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 34Resources:ProfessionalOrganizationsUsability Professionals’ Association(www.upassoc.org)STC’s Usability SIG(www.stc.org/pics/usability/)ACM’s SIGCHI(www.acm.org/chi/)
  • 35. © 2001 Andrea L. Ames/Ucentrics (© 1995-2000 verbal imagery) 35Contacting AndreaWeb: www.ucentrics.com (comingsoon!)or www.verbal-imagery.comE-mail: andrea@ucentrics.comPhone: 650.365.7520