Winning At The Politics Of Usability Proposal 18 June 2008


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Proven methods for gaining credibility for your usability team.

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Winning At The Politics Of Usability Proposal 18 June 2008

  1. 1. Winning at the Politics of Usability John Sorflaten, PhD, CPE, CUA Human Factors International John created this slide set as a proposal to the Usability Professionals Association for a panel presentation 18 June, 2008, Baltimore, MD The 4 additional panelists modified their sections. To get the final presentation version, email [email_address] . John is now a private UX/UI consultant. For free expert review call him at 641-455-1873
  2. 2. Politics Defined <ul><li>“ The Buck Stops Here” – Harry Truman </li></ul><ul><li>So…. Take ownership of political problems. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Who has heard this?…. <ul><li>“ We don’t have time for usability now” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We don’t need you right now…maybe later.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ This project is almost done. Can you check it out?” </li></ul><ul><li>Others? </li></ul>
  4. 4. But….we’re here… <ul><li>Many organizations heard the message and now have usability staff </li></ul><ul><li>And trained them… </li></ul><ul><li>And hope to use them… </li></ul><ul><li>And… (gulp….) … you don’t get used…. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The art of politics… <ul><li>“ Politics moves mountains with mere words.” -- anonymous </li></ul>
  6. 6. Here’s some words…. <ul><li>Speak credibly – </li></ul><ul><li>Have credentials – </li></ul><ul><li>Talk the talk – </li></ul><ul><li>Be quantitative – </li></ul><ul><li>Do the dew. Get moxie. – </li></ul>
  7. 7. One: Speaking Credibly <ul><li>Roadbump? </li></ul><ul><li>You: “ I think we should use a drop down list here to make it easier to type the entry.” </li></ul><ul><li>Them: “That’s your opinion . Here’s my opinion….” </li></ul><ul><li>Guideline: avoid giving opinions </li></ul><ul><li>See eleven more shock absorbers, next… </li></ul>
  8. 8. Cite your Data (top 4 winners): <ul><li>“ Research indicates…” (e.g., ) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our usability testing shows…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our standards say…” (and they have been tested for usability) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Best practices suggest that…” (usability training, books, gurus…) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Do Gedanken Experiments (Einstein) <ul><li>5. Cognitive task analysis: Identify loads… </li></ul><ul><li>Visual </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual </li></ul><ul><li>E.g., To select a radio button: 1. decide to use mouse (I); 2. look for mouse (V+Mo); 3. reach, grab (Mo); 4. re-position pointer (V+Mo); 5. select option (V, I, Me, Mo) </li></ul><ul><li>Memory </li></ul><ul><li>Motor </li></ul>
  10. 10. Speak Objectively… <ul><li>6. “I don’t know…we’ll run a usability test” (avoid speaking for all users) </li></ul><ul><li>7. “If I were to conduct a UT, I expect x% of subjects to have this problem…” (give reasons, too) </li></ul><ul><li>8. “If I were a UT subject, I would probably be puzzled by…” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Borrow Findings… <ul><li>9. “Other UTs covered similar issues…” (and those results suggest we do x) </li></ul><ul><li>10. “Our interviews and observations showed end-users actually did x...” </li></ul><ul><li>11. “End-users said they thought x…” (collective mental model) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Now, “Speak Credibly”… <ul><li>Avoid opinion like “I think” or “I feel” </li></ul><ul><li>Use your data (top 4 winners) </li></ul><ul><li>Use thought experiments ( VIMM ) </li></ul><ul><li>Speak objectively (If I were…) </li></ul><ul><li>Borrow findings (other tests, interviews..) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Two: Have Credentials <ul><li>Roadbump? </li></ul><ul><li>You: “ I read that Jakob Nielsen said…” </li></ul><ul><li>Them: “Yeah, but Jarrod Spool said…” </li></ul><ul><li>See 4 improved seats, next… </li></ul>
  14. 14. 1. Get R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Thanks Aretha!) <ul><li>If you’re a gatekeeper for usability, can you demonstrate earning that role? </li></ul><ul><li>Doctors get an M.D.; Executives get an MBA. Pilots get a license. </li></ul><ul><li>What’s your “white coat and stethoscope”? </li></ul><ul><li>PhD? MA? CUA? (Certified Usability Analyst); IIBA? (Business Analyst cert) </li></ul>
  15. 15. 2. Get Style <ul><li>Did you pass a driver’s license test? </li></ul><ul><li>What did it mean? </li></ul><ul><li>A credential validates our knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Self-confidence creates authority </li></ul><ul><li>Self-efficacy shows up in our “style” </li></ul>
  16. 16. 3. Be A Professional <ul><li>Professional- ism means membership, peer review, demonstrated skills </li></ul><ul><li>Passing a test means “initiation” </li></ul><ul><li>“ A Professional” means management treats you with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allegiance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expectations </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. 4. Network Your Community… <ul><li>Read & meet your peers… </li></ul><ul><li>Meet the person next to you. </li></ul><ul><li>Share your main political challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>Share solutions, ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>Share phone number and email. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow up and network again. </li></ul><ul><li>“ What’s their personality type?” </li></ul>
  18. 18. 5. Ethically Negotiate and Communicate Risks… <ul><li>It’s not important to win every argument… </li></ul><ul><li>Allow people to reach the correct conclusion on their own time. Supply the kernels' of knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Share the importance of open direct communication. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Three: Talk the Talk <ul><li>Roadbump? </li></ul><ul><li>You: “We could make some money by reducing drop-offs.” </li></ul><ul><li>Them: “Yeah, but we make more by putting that re-programming money into advertising.” </li></ul><ul><li>See 3 better seat belts, next… </li></ul>
  20. 20. 1. Your Doctor Speaks How? <ul><li>First impressions count: “bad design” versus “failure to align graphics, headers, and text using a grid”. </li></ul><ul><li>Which phrase suggests expertise? </li></ul><ul><li>We expect professional-speak like: “affordance,” “population stereotype,” “cognitive task analysis,” Fitt’s Law. </li></ul><ul><li>Of course---explain your terms! </li></ul>
  21. 21. 2. Use Management-Speak <ul><li>ROI defines your worth to management . </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Calculate savings from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased productivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decreased use of help desk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decreased training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased conversions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decreased dropoffs </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. 3. Enhance “Usability Maturity” <ul><li>Beginning Usability – one-up projects </li></ul><ul><li>Executive Champion – budget, direction, organizational theme </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure – team commitment to standards and methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Staffing – enterprise commitment to usability strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Routine – usability integrated into software methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Survey: Where are you? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Four: Be Quantitative <ul><li>Roadbump? </li></ul><ul><li>You: “Our users have problems getting through our site.” </li></ul><ul><li>Them: “But we can’t redesign the whole site. Can you be specific?” </li></ul><ul><li>See 4 new tires, next… </li></ul>
  24. 24. 1. Beyond “More” and “Less” <ul><li>Measure usability to learn… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficiency (time-on-task) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effectiveness (task success rates) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfaction (subjective ratings) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning (time to learn) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Errors (ouch) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ROI calculations require measurement(!) </li></ul>
  25. 25. 2. Know Your “Margin of Error” <ul><li> </li></ul>No real difference….
  26. 26. 2. Know Your “Margin of Error” <ul><li>Like voting polls… measures are fuzzy. Remember +/- 3%? (You need 1067 people needed to get +/-3%…) </li></ul><ul><li>If 8 of 10 test participants succeed, DON’T say “80% passed.” </li></ul><ul><li>Best you can say: 48% to 96% passed. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  27. 27. 3. Use “Time-on-Task” for ROI <ul><li>Reduces margin-of-error for ROI calcs. </li></ul><ul><li>Use “geometric mean” not “average” (just like “median house price”) </li></ul><ul><li>To really save 20 seconds, go for the bottom of the margin of error </li></ul>
  28. 28. 4. Share Your ROI Story Now… <ul><li> </li></ul>Finally, success…
  29. 29. Five: Do the Dew. Get Moxie. <ul><li>Roadbump? </li></ul><ul><li>You: “Why don’t we focus more on usability?” </li></ul><ul><li>Them: “But there’s so much to do, so many other problems to solve.” </li></ul><ul><li>See 5 steering tips next… </li></ul>
  30. 30. 1. Be “Coordinator” vs. “Expert” <ul><li>Reduce “threat” to colleagues egos </li></ul><ul><li>Respect and listen to opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Avert resentment, foster team work </li></ul><ul><li>Now they’ll listen to your ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Now they’ll WANT “cool and usable” </li></ul><ul><li>Make the system work for you </li></ul>
  31. 31. 2. Use “Change Management” <ul><li>Check out this discipline, get a book </li></ul><ul><li>Publish positive reports, experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Give advance notice on changes </li></ul><ul><li>Personal messages better than mass mail </li></ul><ul><li>Update people on project progress </li></ul>
  32. 32. 3. Reward “Early Adoption” <ul><li>At meetings, praise individual usability efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Start positive feed-back loops </li></ul><ul><li>Shine positive light on executive champion </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce champion’s confidence in your work </li></ul><ul><li>Give your champion something to brag about </li></ul>
  33. 33. 4. Spread the Usability Training <ul><li>Avoid energy-drain of endless questions </li></ul><ul><li>Packaged training lets others see the “secrets” </li></ul><ul><li>You are the “usability consultant” to others </li></ul><ul><li>“ Word processing” now done by everyone </li></ul><ul><li>Range of training: one-hour  half day  more </li></ul><ul><li>You’ll keep job security, amidst teaching others </li></ul>
  34. 34. 5. Job Title Finesse <ul><li>Re-think “job title du jour ” phenomenon </li></ul><ul><li>Create a hierarchy of usability titles </li></ul><ul><li>NOT a “dead-end” job (for tired people) </li></ul><ul><li>Promote path for advancing usability careers </li></ul><ul><li>Insure salary perks for increased skills/scope </li></ul><ul><li>All this acknowledges: “career professional” </li></ul><ul><li>Usability will never disappear </li></ul><ul><li>Do the due . GET MOXIE! </li></ul>
  35. 35. Review: Rapping Up Politics <ul><li>Doing the dew (due) means “politics” </li></ul><ul><li>Who would like more moxie? </li></ul><ul><li>Tell us your take-home rap… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>! Wow… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>! Sure… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>! Love it… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>! Goforit… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-mail your ideas: </li></ul>