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The what, when, why and how of usability
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The what, when, why and how of usability



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  • 1. The what, when, why and how of usability16th May 2012Fiona HarwoodSimpleUsability Ltd© Copyright 2012 SimpleUsabilityPlease ask for explicit permission before republishing any of this information.
  • 2. Session• About me• What – Is usability?• When - Process and techniques overview• How - Techniques explained and how to adapt in-house• Why - Common usability requirements and how to solve• Usability examples and questions
  • 3. About me• Graduated as Product Designer• Have worked in various industries working with IT projects• Intranet manager for 5 years• Trained in usability• Working full time as Senior User Experience Consultant for SimpleUsability Ltdfi_harwood
  • 4. About SimpleUsability• SimpleUsability is a behavioural research consultancy• We combine a unique methodology with the latest technology to provide invaluable insight and add value to our clients’ businesses• Established in 2001, twelve strong team• Core experience lies in retail, travel & leisure and financial services sectors
  • 5. What is Usability? • Usefulness • Learnability • Effectiveness • Efficiency • Memorability • Errors • Satisfaction
  • 6. When to test
  • 7. How – Overview of usability techniques• Expert reviews• User testing• Eye tracking• Card sorting• Paper prototyping• Field studies
  • 8. How – Other methods• Focus Groups – Don’t always do what they say they do – Doesn’t encourage the quiet user – Listening to rather than observing users• Web analytics – Don’t know why• Email feedback / surveys / panels – Super user, committed to the cause and not the average user
  • 9. How – Expert ReviewsPros:• Catches many usability problems before testing takes place• Cost effective• Actionable report for project teamProblems:• Needs to be followed up by user testingWhy?• How do we compare?• What’s working, what’s not?
  • 10. How – User TestingPros:• Testing on real users• Observe behaviourProblems:• Software investment• Requires trained moderatorsWhy? Screen capture software• How easy is the user journey?• What are the main barriers?• How is a particular part working?
  • 11. How – Usability methodology• Concurrent Think Aloud o Encourage the user to say what they are thinking o Use unfinished questions, you were expecting o Gets feedback there and then• Retrospective Think Aloud o Play back video or repeat a path how to the user and ask them what why what they were thinking at the time task end wrap o Allows user to naturally complete the task
  • 12. How – Eye TrackingPros:• Totally natural• Relaxed, detailed feedback• Proven effectiveness• Evidence based resultsProblems:• Requires expert moderation• InvestmentWhy?• How do users interact naturally?• What are users missing?
  • 13. About Eye Tracking• Lots of scary ways to do it.
  • 14. About Eye Tracking Eye Tracking Monitor• The non-invasive way• More accurate• Works with glasses / contact lenses Live View of the Eye Tracking
  • 15. How – Card SortingPros:• Get real users to design the IA• Solve categorisation problemsProblems:• Needs large number of participants• Needs analysisWhy?• How should I structure the site?• What should I call this label? Donna Spencer
  • 16. How – Paper PrototypingPros:• Quick• CheapProblems:• Needs to be followed up by more testing of the actual interfaceWhy?• How can I quickly check if a workflow makes sense to users? Caroline Snyder
  • 17. How – Field StudiesPros:• User is relaxed in their own environment• Can be done in the office environment• Moderator gets to observe the system used in situationProblems:• Investment in time to go out of the office• Testing will not be controlledWhy?• What external effects are there on the user journey?
  • 18. How – Moderation• Be neutral • Don’t blame the user or defend the design• Acknowledge • Let the user get on with the task but encourage them if necessary • Listen and react• Know when to intervene • Don’t let a user suffer but a user struggling to complete a task can give you the evidence that you need• Users who want to talk (and not want to talk)• Watch your language (and your body language)• Open ended questions
  • 19. How – Moderation• The alternative guessing game – One person is the moderator – One person is the user• Rules – Only questions that will result in an answer of more than 3 words – Can’t ask a question that will result in the answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – Try and ask as few questions in order to guess the object
  • 20. How – Moderation – How to ask why• Open ended questions• What worked? • Can • Would • What• What didn’t work? • Is • Did
  • 21. Questions Thank you