Usability
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Usability Usability Presentation Transcript

  • Usability Research Methods
  • Participatory Design
    • Users involved in all stages of the process.
    • Often entails ethnographic observations and interviewing.
    • Might involve “participant observation.”
    • Focuses on giving users the ability to shape technologies to fit their needs.
  • Questions of Usability Research
    • What are the users’ goals? What motivates them?
    • How do users tend to learn about and troubleshoot problems with new technologies?
    • What tasks do users need to perform? For what purpose are these tasks performed?
    • What mental models do users have for understanding the technology in question?
    • What vocabularies do users have for understanding the technology in question?
  • Observation
    • Record as much data as possible (just record, don’t evaluate significance at first)
    • Use multiple technologies for recording data (video screen capture, audio, notetaking)
    • Try participating in the user’s daily work activities.
    • Record the time it takes to complete tasks.
    • Recognize that users can’t always vocalize their needs and problems. (Observation is key)
  • Observation
    • Record everything. Look and look again.
    • Then analyze data and “code” for key themes.
  • Interviewing
    • Ask questions designed to get users to tell you stories (avoid yes or no).
    • Record data using audio or really specific notetaking.
    • Ask questions designed to elicit the user’s mental models and vocabularies related to the topic.
    • Work to find a diverse group of interviewees.
  • Task-Based Testing
    • Ask the user to complete a task and then watch them as they do (often a task that involves locating information).
    • Make the task specific and “real world.”
    • Consider asking users to “think aloud” while they work.
    • Pay close attention to how users navigate through the text/site.
    • Pay close attention to when and where the users get stuck or look in the “wrong” place.
  • Users do the darndest things…
    • Recognize that users will rarely peruse your documentation in the way you want them to.
    • Your goal is to make documentation and interfaces simple enough that users can recover from the many errors they are likely to make.
    • Usability testing is a key way to understand and accommodate the diverse learning orientations, mental models, and vocabularies of your users.
  • Usability testing is not enough
    • Users often don’t want to be critical or don’t know how.
    • Users often have come to expect poor quality documentation and interface design.
    • All users are different.
    • So, you need to become your own usability
    • tester (and to find colleagues who can play that
    • role for you).
  • Let’s try it…
    • Let’s develop and implement a task-based test of
    • The Miami University website.