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Basic defintions: User Experince (UX) is about how a product works when a person comes in to contact with it and has to use it. UX quality is measured by the level of satisfaction an average user gets from the product. A goodUXencourages users to “convert“ to the next level (e.g. subscribe to the site or buy a product). Conversion rate is a common way of measuring the effectiveness (Return of Investment, ROI) of a user experince. A badUX drives people away from your site, makes them feel stupid, angry or frustrated. User Centered Design (UCD) puts the intended users of a product at the centre of its design and development. UCDdoes this by taking the user into account every step of the way as the product is being developed. Involvement of the users are carried out in an iterative fashion.
UCD Basic Workflow The development and involvement of the users are carried out in an iterative fashion, with the cycle being repeated until the project‘s usability objectives have been attained. The primary steps are: 1) Concept, 2) Research, 3) Prototype, 4) Test, 5) Build/ amend 6) Testing/ buildinguntilright, 7) Launch, 8) PostLaunchTesting.
5 Planes: Elements of UCD The Five Planes Model provides a conceptual framework for talking about user experience problems and the tools to solve them. The five planes are built from bottom to top, from an abstract level to a more concrete level. Decisions made on the lower/ higer planes can have ripple effect in both directions.
5 Planes: Elements of UCD The 5Planes are devided in to: Strategy: define sites & user centric goals, do research (interviews, Focus groups), create Personas). Scope: decide content & functional features, create user stories & scenarios. Structure: develop site structure, information architecture, use Card sorting & user stories. Site mapping in Core Process terminology. Skeleton: wireframes, navigation, placement of photos, text, buttons etc. Surface: visual design, concept, colors, mood boards etc. Work on the next plane shall start before the work on the previous plane is finished
User Centric Strategy Create attributes list (Primary goals for visiting the website, Roles: job seeker, information seeker, client etc., Demographics: sex, age, income, single, married etc., Experience: education, tech know-how etc., Organizational: type of job, type of company user works for etc. Prioritize and define what attributes are important for user/ sites goals. Describe segments or user groups to do research on. “Do we know what the problem is, and does this (product, website) solve the problem for those that will use it?” “What should the user be able to do?” Our goal is to improve efficiency: Help people work faster and help them make fewer mistakes. First step is to define the average user:
UCD Research Methods Research techniques can be devided in to qualitative (insight)and quantitative (validation) research. Qualitative research is about discovering new things with a small sample size. Examples of qualitativeresearch are: 1)Focusgroups (intended/ actual users share thoughts, feelings, 2)User interviews (1 to 1),3)Fieldstudies (observe, asking users in working situation), 4) Cardsorting (suggest structures/ categories) and 5)Usabilitytesting(collect data from people as they use, e.g. think-aloud test). Quantitative research is about testing something with a large sample size. Example: Surveys and Site trafficorlog file analysis. Quantitative research is better at telling you what is happening, qualitativewhy it does.
Personas: Tool for UCD Another way to look at UCD research is to study what people say(goals&attitudes they have) versus what they actually do (behaviors). When research is finished we create personas, description of typical users. By building a fictional representation of the users we are able to empathize with them and understand their needs. Personasare marketing-targeted (purchase motivations) or interactive(usage behaviors).
Personas: Tool for UCD Personas must be actionable. “What are their goals, attitudes and behaviors?”, are the basic questions we should ask ourselves. Personadescription should include: Photo (not posed but natural) – Name (normal one) – Age – Location (for cultural and behavioral differences) – Occupation – Biography(facts, anecdote, stories that makes the persona more real). It might also include: Education– Salary – Motto – Online/ offline activities – Loyalty towards a brand – Tech/ Computer knowledge – Social network behavior – Motivationto use brand – User goals. Storytelling: Creating stories about the personas helps us cast a more meaningful vision of the project. Single line stories that include the role of the user and the activity they wish to perform.
Practical Example of UCD Write short paragraphs and use everyday words. Have good readability. Large enough body text, high contrast betwean text and background. Have excerpt and bigheadings for light scanning. Have Content and links go-down and go-up in long pages. Use small file graphics so they download quickly. Use meaningful and consistentelements across site. Help and video tutorials on how to use website. Make obvious what’s clickable and what’s not (links, buttons). If possible stay in one window. Printer friendly version. Create shortest paths to completing tasks. Include a site map or breadcrumbs to show users were they are and were to go. Use good space between lines (1.5) and all elements.