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Quick and Dirty User Research
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Quick and Dirty User Research



Refresh Boston talk from August 26, 2010

Refresh Boston talk from August 26, 2010



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    Quick and Dirty User Research Quick and Dirty User Research Presentation Transcript

    • Quick and Dirty User Research Techniques @cperfetti
    • Quick and Dirty Research Techniques By watching users interact with your product, you’ll uncover users’ key tasks and how to design for them User research and usability testing doesn’t have to be time intensive The best teams start conducting quick and dirty techniques and tricks right away They avoid making excuses about constraints
    • The Excuses Testing is too scientific Not enough time No money No buy-in from management Unsure where to start No resources and staff
    • Usability testing isn’t science A usability test involves putting users in front of the product and observing what they Usability lab
    • Start testing anywhere
    • Start testing anyone
    • A traditional usability test Quick and Dirty Version Bring in user, sit beside them, and watch what they do Greet the user Explain how the test will work Give users tasks to complete and observe the problems they experience General Q&A Debrief with observers
    • Quick and Dirty Testing Techniques When we understand who are users are and what they want to accomplish 5 Second Tests Comprehension Tests Paper Prototype Tests First Click Tests Competitive Tests Remote Usability Tests
    • Tests can take 10 minutes 5 Second Page test A simple technique Can be done in less than 10 minutes Tells designer if page is clear and concise
    • Buying A Notebook Computer You’re ready to buy a new notebook computer You consider a computer a big purchase How much technical support will you get if you experience problems? Usability study by User Interface Engineering (www.uie.com)
    • Exercise Questions Write down everything you remember about the page From this page, do you feel the site would give you reliable technical support? If not, why?
    • Exercise Questions Write down everything you remember about the page From this page, do you feel the site would give you reliable technical support? If not, why? Do you feel this page was better or worse than the previous page?
    • Exercise Questions Write down everything you remember about the page From this page, do you feel the site would give you reliable technical support? If not, why? Do you feel this page was better or worse than the previous pages?
    • Five-Second Page Tests Designers often intend pages to have a single purpose We use when users complain that pages are too cluttered or confusing Identifies if pages quickly communicate their purpose
    • Comprehension Tests Pages contain complex content Such as policies or procedures User comprehension is imperative to their success Questions determine if users understand content
    • What causes most usability problems? We’ve conducted hundreds of usability studies Each test identifies dozens of problems The underlying cause is the same for every problem: Someone on the team didn’t communicate everything they knew about the product or users
    • The best studies... Usability tests are only successful if the right people are involved in the design process Designers, developers, engineers, marketing, usability professionals, content strategists can all involved This is possible even with quick and dirty testing
    • Tests can happen early Paper prototype tests typically happen during the first two weeks of development and involves all team members Design is in flux Development team needs to try ideas and get feedback quickly All team members can participate in the study Allows design teams to go through multiple design iterations in a week
    • “We’re building a what with what?” Heather O’Neill, Above the Fold http://www.abovethefolddesign.com/blog/2010/08/24/from-paper-to-prototype/
    • Building a paper prototype The paper prototype consists of: A “screen” (large cardboard or paper rectangle) Separate pieces of paper for each screen state, drop- down menu, or pop-up One team member silently simulates the behavior of the computer by placing pieces of paper in front of the user
    • Paper Prototyping by Carolyn Snyder
    • Testing the Home Page: First Click Tests Useful method to assess where users first click on your site’s home or entry page Provide users with a specific task to complete when they arrive at the site By observing where users first click, it’s a clear indicator whether they’ll eventually be successful
    • Combating Copycat Design Copycat Design by Joshua Porter, 52 Weeks of UX http://52weeksofux.com/tagged/week_32
    • Competitive Testing Compares designs to competitors Looks for innovations Prevents copying features that don’t really work Tasks are identical across competitors
    • Remote Usability Tests Remote testing can be valuable When in-person testing isn’t a possibility Gathering more data points Two types: moderated or unmoderated
    • Online meeting tools
    • Remote testing tools
    • Quick and Dirty Techniques We use these techniques when we’re unsure of who are users are and what they’re trying to accomplish Task Cataloging Questionnaire Interview-based Tasks User Interviews
    • Field Studies Are the Gold Standard
    • Task Cataloging Survey An approach to gather information about your users’ most important and frequent tasks Ask users to spend 15 minutes completing the survey Gain a better understanding of what users want to accomplish with your product
    • Interview-based tasks Combine interviewing before and during test to identify users’ goals Screen candidates for broad interests before bringing them in As part of the test, users talk about their specific goals and perform tasks based on these goals Realistically assess usability given users’ own goals
    • Fidelity
    • Creating interview-based tasks You mentioned you are interested investing money? How much money would you like to invest? What kind of investments are you thinking of? What kind of savings plans do you have now? What are the concerns you need to address? How do you evaluate a potential investment? Go find what you want on the Fidelity site
    • The user interview If you are short on time and money Bring in one user per month Ask them about their goals, motivations, and experience with the product
    • General questions What activities waste your time or drive you crazy? How did you learn about the product? What kind of training did you receive? Who do you provide information to? What information do you collect? What information do you need to make a decision?
    • Questions about the product What are your most important and frequent activities with the product? What are the two things you like best about the product? What are the two things you would like to see improved? Are there any activities you currently perform that you’d like to see automated? What shortcuts help you? What changes to the product would make your life easier?
    • Thank You! Email: christine@perfettimedia.com Twitter: @cperfetti Free Newsletter: www. perfettimedia.com/subscribe
    • Give Me Feedback
    • Perfetti Media Workshops October 25: Paper Prototyping Essentials October 26: Designing for the Social Web January 27-28: Usability Bootcamp Sign up with promotion code REFRESH for $100 off each workshop www.perfettimedia.com/workshops
    • Quick and Dirty User Research Techniques @cperfetti