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Winning At The Politics Of Usability Proposal 18 June 2008
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Winning At The Politics Of Usability Proposal 18 June 2008

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Proven methods for gaining credibility for your usability team.

Proven methods for gaining credibility for your usability team.

Published in: Technology, Design

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