Usability is more than market research, it’s talking to your users and finding out what they want. NOT what you think they want, what seems like a good idea, and what YOU want. Usability is getting user feedback on an idea, a design, a prototype or a finished product and finding out what people thin about it, how they expect it to work and how well they use it. People don’t always do this!!!
Jon, user testing sounds like a good idea, but we don’t have the time or money to do it.
First fridays.3 goals – train and mentor, fix problems, raise awarenessUsability demonstration and testing program, meaning we teach and test websites for free. You are welcome to observe our tests – we’ve tested 40 federal sites, including army.mil, IRS, state.gov, usajobs, GSA.gov, DOT.gov and many others. We test on the first Friday of every month, and another team on the third Wednesday – two tests a month
Monthly test processChoose site, work with stakeholders to develop test tasks that reflect their actual top tasks, recruit three real customers, after the test sessions debrief over lunch -- ID quick fixes in 30 days, send out a quick report, follow-up up in 3 weeks to check on progressMethod is based on discount usability method of Rocket Surgery Made Easy (show book) – we use as textbook - $21!Conducting the tests is a collateral duty for staff in addition to their main job dutiesInvolvement in the testing program provides great developmental opportunity to staff to learn the technology, collaborate across agencies, manage mtgs and represent the testing program at events such as this.Let look at some examples of quick fixes that benefit customers right now?How to recruit: based on criteria we pull from family, friends, coworkers, list of volunteers who come up to us and volunteer after presentations like this.Catering: contract vehicle thru dgu and before that we self-catered or ask executive sponsor to underwrite the catering.
Based on the ingenious rig by Cory Leb-son of Lebsontech.com - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT2RtNpHhSwTested iphones, androids and blackberrys
No installation on camera, plug and play, less than $100
Hallway test – more users, informal, public space. Very successful – army.mil testhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC0ODg2MpuE
Example 1 the state dept’s passport siteBEFORE – busy: Headlines, links, bold text, numbered steps, bullets, buttons, and notes – no starting point!
AFTER – watching the usability testThe web team removed noise and elements (subtraction is a great way to improve a page) and made it clear you have TWO optionsThe vertical line, OR, white space, text alignment and simplified button text clearly delineate two choicesBEFORE AFTER BEFORE AFTER
Example 2 GSA Intranet – InSite (click to zoom in)BEFORE: we had a left-hand accordion navigation. Topics were redundant and jargon-filled. Plus the accordion functionality hid the topics and most users didn’t understand how to work the accordion.
AFTER watching the teststhe web team removed the accordion navigation, replaced it with simplified static navigationEliminated redundancy – Plain language links in parenthesis
Geti it right early- Hence, there is hardly any probability of a redo or workaround in design in later stages and the development team can take with no doubt, the matured proto for further development.
A usable solution contributes to even increase confidence levels of different teams working on to make it a success.
We teach people how to fish – that’s our motto. UX vendors said they would charge $17K+- for one FF testSo purchasing the test(fish) would be expensive. But not purchasing it is moreso - $12 per customer service call, $5 per web chat, 10 cents or less for self-serviceAnd so is bad design at $12/customer service call.Makes sense for agencies to learn test (fish) for themselvesAnd to realize the savings in customer support after the design has been improved.FF testing gives you more resources for your mission
We post templates, best practices, roles and responsbilities, checklists and much more on our website
How can you get involved at FF and learn more?
The benefits of “Do It Yourself” Usability Testing By Jonathan Rubin First Fridays Program Manager General Services Administration