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The benefits of "Do It Yourself" Usability Testing

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Given at Maximus Center for Health Literacy Plain Talk conference Sept 6, 2012

Given at Maximus Center for Health Literacy Plain Talk conference Sept 6, 2012


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  • SLOWLY Morning I’m jon program manager from gsa first fridays usability program Slides will be avaialble - email me
  • TALK SLOWLY ---- Here’s a story about bad usability. Who knows what these are? The Nov. 7 2000 United States presidential election in Florida. Florida, swing state, In Florida there was massive recount that involved the Supreme Court, No idea president for 1 month The reason? Two usability problems! This is ballot and people punch out holes next to who they are voting for, and machine reads it
  • Problem #1: chads don’t fall out the machines – false readings. Machine’s jammed chads – no voting at all The machine wasn’t usable
  • This is what dominated the news - it was CHAOS!!!!
  • Usability problem #2 - butterfly ballot Voters unable to see which name goes with which slot – 2 nd name on the left was actually the 3 rd hole
  • Working with users = Important piece of information overlooked constantly, especially in terms of websites
  • How to get some usability momentum at your agency
  • Lots of buzzwords
  • Market research is what people say about your product, usability is how they actually USE IT
  • Quality control is – it works – pages load, links work, etc/ Usability – people can find what they are looking for
  • more recent example about design - august of 2012. What is this? How do you use this?
  • Simple, right? Actually….
  • You use it like this. Fan it put for more Do you feel stupid? you shouldn’t! bad design, or lack of training You have to test with users!!!
  • Which brings us to
  • GSA First fridays usability program. 3 goals – train and mentor in usability testing, fix problems for federal agencies, raise awareness We test federal gov websites, apllications, mobile sites and prototypes First Friday and 3 rd wed
  • Here’s who we’ve helped – nearly 50 agencies
  • We post templates, best practices, roles and responsbilities, checklists and much more on our website
  • 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 tests the web team removed the accordion navigation, replaced it with simplified static navigation Eliminated redundancy – Plain language links in parenthesis
  • Such a thing of beauty. Stare it every night before I go to sleep
  • Let’s talk about the only thing your boss cares about – ROI. Why bother, what’s the REAL, tangible benefit
  • Less time coding = more time on other things. Create it righ the first time Less likely you need a costly overhaul, or a code-all-weekend crisis
  • The more training someone needs, the more difficult it is to use. Good usability example - GSA rolled out a HR system called ALOHA – training but many people didn’t need it. Use it once, you’re good
  • A huge one for sites that provide services They can’t find answer – they COULD look at the FAQ or look around, but instead they’ll call or email Recent survey: $12 per customer service call $5 per web chat, 10 cents or less for self-service
  • Whatever people come to your site to do – find info, request something, order something They get through the entire process Obviously if they suuceed – that’s why you have a site in the first place
  • Market yourself well. Bad usability sends message – we don’t care about our customers
  • Usability = talking to users and finding out what they want. NOT what you think they want, especially if you’re a manager. Your field knoweldge and experience make it MORE difficult for you to understand a users needs You are in insider, not a user
  • Jon, user testing sounds like a good idea, but we don’t have the time or money to do it.
  • The bible of do it yourself testing If you have to buy one book this fall. Steve krug method A conference between two covers -met some at a usality metup - read book, did tet, thought shw was a genius
  • You can add all sorts of tools, but what’s the bare minimum that you need?
  • No special labs are required
  • Morae or Gotomeeting / gotowebinar
  • Staff size get into later, 3-5 volunteer testers to look at your product
  • Training – rocket surgery is a start. classes
  • How many people do you need?
  • http://www.useit.com/alertbox/roi.html
  • First Fridays approach to staffing – 1 full time employee, all others borrowed
  • We teach these fast, effective testing methods
  • Monthly test process - quick fixes, not huge redesigns
  • Testing room - ask them to speak aloud what they would normally do if we weren’t there
  • Tests people are watching live. Afternoon debrief collects usability problems seen by oservers that day Collect problems, prioritize, top 3 solutions that can be fixed in 30 days Leave with list of problems and top 3 issues and solutions.
  • It is possible to do in 1 room – but limited Red = staff, white = volunteer Facilitator (must be trained)
  • Facilitator (must be trained) Observation Room Manager (tech support)
  • Facilitator (must be trained) Observation Room Manager (tech support)
  • Hallway test – more users, informal, public space. Very successful – army.mil test http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC0ODg2MpuE
  • Menu items and navigation on site – ask them to organize pages /topics into group to see how people think
  • FF testing gives you more resources for your mission Makes sense for agencies to test (fish) for themselves And to realize the savings in customer support after the design has been improved.
  • You can learn how to fish too….
  • We post templates, best practices, roles and responsbilities, checklists and much more on our website
  • Once a month, you can create culture change at your agency
  • Questions?
  • Transcript

    • 1. The benefits of “Do ItYourself” Usability Testing By Jonathan Rubin First Fridays Program Manager General Services Administration
    • 2. Let me tell you a story 2
    • 3. Hanging chads 3
    • 4. inspections 4
    • 5. butteflu 5
    • 6. Why did problems occur?They didn’t listen to customer’swants, needs and expectations.TAKEWAY MESSAGE: Testingwith customers gets youvaluable feedback (duh)!
    • 7. In this hour…1. What is usability2. Why you need usability3. Idea: Do your own testing! 7
    • 8. 1. What is usability?
    • 9. Usability =How people interact with aproduct, system or service,and how they expect it towork.
    • 10. Usability ≠ Quality Control 10
    • 11. Good products are usable 11
    • 12. What is it? How do you use it? 12
    • 13. What is it? How do you use it? 13
    • 14. Don’t feel stupid! 14
    • 15. 4 Steps to Working with Users1. Observe users (customers) using your product2. (Re)design with users in mind3. Get a usable product4. Repeat
    • 16. • Education• Demonstration Tests• Awareness
    • 17. We’ve helped these folks• DOT • State• Interior • FCC• IRS • USAJobs• U.S. Army • Census• NASA • NSF• Labor • NIH• OMB • And 35• GSA others 17
    • 18. Free @ Howto.gov/firstfridays• Usability Testing Scripts• Email Templates• Best Practices• Final Report Examples• Project Management• Before and After Screenshots• Videos• Etc.
    • 19. 2. Why you need usability
    • 20. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words
    • 21. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words• Gov speak / jargon
    • 22. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words• Gov speak / jargon• Top tasks hard to find
    • 23. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words• Gov speak / jargon• Top tasks hard to find• Ineffective navigation
    • 24. Top 5 Government Usability Problems• Too many words• Gov speak / jargon• Top tasks hard to find• Ineffective navigation• Ineffective search results
    • 25. Example 2: GSA Intranet
    • 26. ?
    • 27. Before After 27 02/01/13
    • 28. Usability’s Return on Investment (ROI)• Reduced developer time
    • 29. Usability’s Return on Investment (ROI)• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time
    • 30. Usability’s Return on Investment (ROI)• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time• Reduced help desk calls / emails
    • 31. Usability’s Return on Investment (ROI)• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time• Reduced help desk calls / emails• Higher task completion rate
    • 32. Usability’s Return on Investment (ROI)• Reduced developer time• Reduced training time• Reduced help desk calls / emails• Higher task completion rate• PR boost
    • 33. Know your users,for you are not them - Usability Yoda
    • 34. 3. Idea: Do your own testing!
    • 35. Must read: ‘Rocket Surgery Made Easy’ • Commit to monthly product testing • Same time each month • More observers + more testing = more buy-in 38
    • 36. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion!
    • 37. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion! • One morning a month Needed for UT
    • 38. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms
    • 39. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops
    • 40. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software ($1000/yr)
    • 41. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software ($1000/yr) • Volunteers
    • 42. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software ($1000/yr) • Volunteers • Food ($10/person)
    • 43. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software ($1000/yr) • Volunteers • Food ($10/person) • Incentives ($0- $80)
    • 44. Needed for “discount” usability testing • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software ($1000/yr) • Volunteers • Food ($10/person) • Incentives ($0- $80) • Training (FF)
    • 45. How many people do I need? 48
    • 46. Spending on usabilityWhen usability is present, 10% ofdevelopment budget spent onusability- Usability Return on Investment (2008, Nielsen NormanGroup Report) 49
    • 47. Staffing options (all are good)1. Usability Contractor ($17,000 per test)2. Dedicated Usability Staff ($60,000+)3. Get training and do it yourself (Free) 50
    • 48. Matrixed Approach to Staffing • Part-time volunteers! • Borrow from other departments • You are “providing skill building opportunities” • Flexible needs: 1 -20 hours a month 51
    • 49. Types of First Fridays Tests• 1. Formal, talk-aloud tests
    • 50. Stakeholder MeetingFollow-up DevelopMeeting Scenarios Formal Testing Process RecruitWrite ParticipantsReport + Observers Conduct Test
    • 51. It takes two (rooms) to testObservation Room Testing Room
    • 52. Formal Testing Schedule• 8:20 – 8:30 Welcome• 8:30 - 9:30 Tester #1• 9:30 – 10:30 Tester #2• 10:30 – 11:30 Tester #3• 11:30 – Noon Lunch• Noon – 1:30 Debrief / Critique 55
    • 53. Absolute Minimum T = Tester, F = Facilitator Usability Staffing T F Testing Room
    • 54. Minimum First O = Observer F = FacilitatorFridays Staffing M = Room Manager O O O T F O O M Observation Room Testing Room
    • 55. Better O = Observer G = Greeter F = Facilitator DG = Data Gatherer Staffing M = Room Manager BU = Back up O O FBUBU TBU F DG O M Observation Room G Testing Room
    • 56. Types of First Fridays Tests1. Formal, talk-aloud tests2. Hallway Tests
    • 57. 2. Hallway Test
    • 58. Types of First Fridays Tests1. Formal, talk-aloud tests2. Hallway Tests3. Navigation Improvement / Card sort
    • 59. 3. Navigation Improvement
    • 60. Types of First Fridays Tests1. Formal, talk-aloud tests2. Hallway Tests3. Navigation Improvement / Card sort4. Quick Win Evaluation (Heuristics Analysis)
    • 61. 4. Quick Win Evaluation (Heuristics)• Not for newbies• Group or single person feedback – Checklist – Task run-through• PRO: Fast! <1 week• CON: No users 64
    • 62. Teach ‘em to fish Teach em to fish
    • 63. Review: What you need to fish • Executive champion! • One morning a month • 1-2 rooms • Laptops • Screen sharing software • Volunteers • Food • Incentives for testers • Training (First Fridays!)
    • 64. Free usability resources! Howto.gov/ firstfridays
    • 65. More info on First Fridays • Observe a test
    • 66. More info on First Fridays • Observe a test • Recommend a website
    • 67. More info on First Fridays • Observe a test • Recommend a website • Volunteer as a tester (remote or in person)
    • 68. More info on First Fridays • Observe a test • Recommend a website • Volunteer as a tester (remote or in person) • Learn to fish (Facilitator in Training program)
    • 69. Once a month
    • 70. Thanks!Jonathan.rubin@gsa.gov firstfridays@gsa.govHowto.gov/ firstfridays

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