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The benefits of "Do It Yourself" Usability Testing

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Given at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 5, 2012

Given at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 5, 2012


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  • easy
  • fast
  • Cheap. Easy fast and cheap
  • 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
  • Jacob Nielsonhttp://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000319.htmlEasy!!!
  • 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?
  • Transcript

    • 1. The benefits of “Do It Yourself” Usability Testing By Jonathan Rubin First Fridays Program Manager General Services Administration
    • 2. Your boss says:
    • 3. Know your users, for you are not them
    • 4. Schedule + First MeetingFollow-up Meeting + Develop Track Metrics Scenarios Test Process Manage Participants + Trainees Write Report Conduct Test + Debriefing
    • 5. Observation Room Testing Room
    • 6. First Fridays MobileTesting Equipment
    • 7. 1. Binder clip / duct tape2. Web cam3. Desk lamp4. Smartphone
    • 8. Why our method works Office of Citizen Services and Innovative2/1/2013 16 Technologies
    • 9. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words
    • 10. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words• Gov speak / jargon
    • 11. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words• Gov speak / jargon• Top tasks hard to find
    • 12. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words• Gov speak / jargon• Top tasks hard to find• Ineffective navigation
    • 13. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words• Gov speak / jargon• Top tasks hard to find• Ineffective navigation• Ineffective search results
    • 14. Example 1:Helping Passports Take Flight Office of Citizen Services and Innovative 2/1/2013 Technologies 23
    • 15. Office of Citizen Services and Innovative 2/1/2013 Technologies 24
    • 16. Example 2: GSA Intranet
    • 17. ?
    • 18. Before After Office of Citizen Services and Innovative2/1/2013 27 Technologies
    • 19. What’s the ROI?“Spending 10% of your developmentbudget on usability should improveyour conversion rate by 83%.” – JakobNielson
    • 20. What’s the ROI?• Reduced developer time
    • 21. What’s the ROI?• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time
    • 22. What’s the ROI?• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time• Reduced help desk calls / emails
    • 23. What’s the ROI?• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time• Reduced help desk calls / emails• Higher task completion rate
    • 24. What’s the ROI?• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time• Reduced help desk calls / emails• Higher task completion rate• Increased productivity
    • 25. What’s the ROI?• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time• Reduced help desk calls / emails• Higher task completion rate• Increased productivity• PR boost
    • 26. What you need to test sites at EPA
    • 27. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion!
    • 28. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion! • One morning a month
    • 29. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms
    • 30. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops
    • 31. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software
    • 32. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software • Volunteers
    • 33. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software • Volunteers • Food
    • 34. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software • Volunteers • Food • Incentives
    • 35. What you need to test sites at EPA • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software • Volunteers • Food • Incentives • Training (First Fridays!)
    • 36. Howto.gov/firstfridays
    • 37. • Observe a First Fridaystest
    • 38. • Observe a First Fridaystest• Recommend a website
    • 39. • Observe a First Fridaystest• Recommend a website• Volunteer as a tester(remote or in person)
    • 40. • Observe a First Fridaystest• Recommend a website• Volunteer as a tester(remote or in person)• Learn to fish (Facilitatorin Training program)
    • 41. Questions?
    • 42. Thanks!Jonathan.rubin@gsa.gov firstfridays@gsa.gov