Prototyping and Usability Testing your designs


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Learn how to use prototyping and usability testing as a means to validate proposed functionality and designs before you invest in development. SOMETIMES there is a huge disconnect between the people who make a product and the people who use it. Usability testing is vital to uncovering the areas where these disconnects happen. In this symposium you will learn the steps to conduct a successful usability test. This includes tips and real life examples on how to plan the tests, recruit users, facilitate the sessions, analyze the data, and communicate the results.

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Prototyping and Usability Testing your designs

  1. 1. PROTOTYPING ANDUSABILITY TESTINGElizabeth SnowdonBusiness / Web Analyst Consultant specializing in User Centred
  2. 2. About me Senior Business / Web Analyst Consultant  Specialization in User Centred Design Over 12 years experience in high-technology companies leading software implementations, usability testing and web site design projects Conducting usability tests since 2003 Clients/projects include:  Sage  PMC-Sierra  Vancity  Royal Bank of Canada
  3. 3. Key takeaways Benefits of usability testing When in the software development lifecycle to apply usability testing Prototyping to test design concepts Learn the fundamentals of usability testing
  4. 4. What is usability? ISO 9241-11  “the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.” Usability Professionals Association  Isan approach that incorporates direct user feedback throughout the development cycle in order to reduce costs and create products and tools that meet user needs
  5. 5. What is usability? Steve Krug, author of Don’t Make Me Think  “..makingsure that something works well: that a person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can use the thing --- for it’s intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated”
  6. 6. Commonality of usability definitions A user is involved That user is doing something That user is doing something with a product, system, or other thing.  Tullis and Albert
  7. 7. User Centered Design Focus on users’ needs, tasks, and goals Invest in initial research and requirements  Identify your target audience and observe them  Let users define product requirements Iterative design process Observe real target users using the system
  8. 8. Usability testingWhatWhen
  9. 9. What is usability testing? is a technique used to evaluate a product by testing it on representative users. test users will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes.
  10. 10. Can usability be measured? Using usability metrics Most common metrics:  Effectiveness – being able to complete a task  Efficiency – amount of effort required to complete a task  Satisfaction – degree to which the user is happy with his/her experience
  11. 11. 5 E’s of usability Effective: How completely and accurately the work or experience is completed or goals reached Efficient: How quickly this work can be completed Engaging: How pleasant and satisfying it is to use Error Tolerant: How well the product prevents errors and can help the user recover from mistakes Easy to Learn: How well the product supports both the initial and continued learning
  12. 12. When to usability test Usability testing throughout the product lifecycle - Rubin and Chisnell
  13. 13. Agile / Usability Testing process Source: The Ladders
  14. 14. Usability test types
  15. 15. Usability testingWhy test?Testing benefits
  16. 16. Informing design Identify and rectify usability deficiencies prior to product release Intent to create products that:  Are useful to and valued by target audience  Are easy to learn  Help people to be efficient and effective  Are satisfying (delightful) to use
  17. 17. Eliminating design problems andfrustration Expectation that products are high quality and easy to use Demonstrate that goals and priorities of customer are important Release a product that customers find useful, effective, efficient and satisfying
  18. 18. Improving profitability Creating a historical record of usability benchmarks for future releases Minimizing the cost of service and support calls Increasing sales and the probability of repeat sales Acquiring a competitive edge Minimizing the risk
  19. 19. Usability TestingWhoHow many
  20. 20. Follow the principlesDavid Travis,  “Many usability tests are worthless.Mar 7, 2011 Researchers recruit the wrong kind of participants, test the wrong kind of tasks, put too much weight on peoples opinions, and expect participants to generate design solutions.”
  21. 21. Test participants Participant’s background and abilities should be representative of your product’s intended user user profile – person with the relevant behaviour, skills, and knowledge who will use your product.
  22. 22. Visualize the test participant We want to find out where in the process of creating an expense report employees meet obstacles to completing and submitting their reports [the test objective]. The user of our employee expense reporting system travels about four times a year, attends one conference per year and creates about ten different reports a year. He or she is comfortable using computers and likes the ability to submit reports remotely.
  23. 23. How many users to test? Source: Jakob Nielsen  6-8 users per test or 5 users spread over multiple tests  little ROI in testing more than 9 users
  24. 24. Quantitative tests – test 20 usersExperts recommend that you test at least 20 users for quantitative studies. Source: Jakob Nielsen
  25. 25. Usability testingWhere to test
  26. 26. Testing locations Lab Office bar, café remote testing
  27. 27. Usability lab
  28. 28. Testing in a conference room
  29. 29. Informal usability testing
  30. 30. Remote testing requirements Moderator / Note-taker  Screen sharing: WebEx or web conferencing tool  Recording: Morae, Camtasia  Speakerphone Participant  High speed internet access  Speakerphone or headset telephone for more info, go to Remote Testing Presentation
  31. 31. Prototyping
  32. 32. Benefits of prototyping Prototyping is generative. Communicates using show and tell Reduces misinterpretation saves time, effort and money creates a feedback loop, which ultimately reduces risk
  33. 33. Dimensions of fidelity Fred Beecher
  34. 34. Appropriate Fidelity “There is no such thing as high or low fidelity, only appropriate fidelity.” Bill Buxton Depends on  where you are in the product development cycle  your goals and your audience
  35. 35. Sketch / Mock-up / Final Prototype
  36. 36. Low Visual and Low Functional Fidelity can be made swiftly, changed without repercussion, and still help visualize a concept. answering large structural questions:  Does the system have all the features required to support the user’s goals?  Does the workflow make sense at a high level?  Which UX concept works best?  Coming to consensus on a UX concept with stakeholders
  37. 37. Paper prototype example
  38. 38. Low Visual and High Functional Fidelity interactive, HTML interactive wireframes Evaluating the usability of proposed designs for new systems Exploring isolated interactions as a proof-of-concept Validating UX design direction with stakeholders Validating the implementation of requirements with stakeholders Supplementing printed documentation for development teams Performing remote testing
  39. 39. High Visual / High Functional Fidelity Not usually worth the time and effort Useful for:  Evaluating the usability of proposed UX designs for an existing system  Performing usability tests with non-savvy user groups  Supplementing printed documentation for offshore development teams
  40. 40. Prototyping tools Paper Visio PowerPoint Dreamweaver Axure Omnigraffle Ilustrator Balsamiq
  41. 41. Usability testingHow to test?Test planning
  42. 42. Usability test process Test environment Test conduct Analyze Report &Planning Recruiting & results Presentation debriefing Test materials
  43. 43. Planning your test Decide what to test  What are your objectives  What data will you collect Who is your target audience?  Write a screener Decide on test location  Remote, lab, conference room, coffee shop Write tasks that meet your objectives
  44. 44. Deciding what to test Understand requirements  What do users want to accomplish?  What does the company want to accomplish? Determine the goals  What tasks does the web site or application support? Decide on the area of focus  Tasksthat have the most impact on your site  Typical tasks  Most critical tasks
  45. 45. Test plan Purpose, goals, and objectives Participant characteristics Method (test design) Task list Test environment, equipment and logistics Test moderator role Evaluation measures (data to be collected) Report contents and presentationSource: Rubin and Chisnell
  46. 46. Recruiting users Recruit internally or outsource to agency? Sources of test candidates  Your own company’s list of existing customers  Referrals from sales and marketing  Advertising on Craigslist  Company’s web site or blog  Societies and Associations
  47. 47. Prepare test materials Orientation script Background questionnaire NDA and recording consent Pre-test questionnaire Data collection tools Task scenarios Post-test questionnaire Debriefing topics
  48. 48. Task types First impression questions  What is your impression of this home page or application? Exploratory task  Open-ended / research-oriented  e.g. Find a cellular phone plan for yourself Directed tasks  Specific / answer-oriented  e.g. Find contact information for customer support
  49. 49. Metrics Task success Task time Errors Efficiency  Number of steps required to perform a task Self-reported metrics  Likert scale  Do you prefer A or B?  Questionnaires
  50. 50. Prepare the prototype Freeze code one week prior to test Run through the scenarios Dry run prior to test week
  51. 51. Conducting a Test
  52. 52. Test moderator conduct Put the participants at ease Give participants time to work through hindrances Offer appropriate encouragement Ask non-leading questions
  53. 53.  Observe user behavior Listen to user feedback Facilitator stays quiet, observes, take notes Test one user at a time Mainly qualitative
  54. 54. Debriefing Exploring and reviewing the participant’s actions during the test Goal – understand why every error, difficulty and omission occurred for every participant for every session. Debrief with observers too.
  55. 55. Analyze and presentAnalyze resultsPresent
  56. 56. Contact informationIf you have any questions regarding this presentation or usability testing, please feel free to contact me. @elizSnowdon Email: Web:
  57. 57. References Tullis, Albert (2009), Measuring the User Experience . Rubin, Chisnell (2008), Handbook of Usability Testing. Jakob Nielsen Usability Professionals Association Jeff Sauro – Quantitative Usability STC usability site Warfel, Todd Zaki (2009), Prototyping Nielsen, Jakob, and Landauer, Thomas K.: "A mathematical model of the finding of usability problems," Proceedings of ACM INTERCHI93 Conference (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 24-29 April 1993), pp. 206-213.
  58. 58. Q&A Thank you for listening.