Understanding The Value Of User Research, Usability Testing, and Information Architecture


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This presentation was given at Drupal Design Camp Boston on 6/14/09 as well as Bar Camp NH on 9/26/09.

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Understanding The Value Of User Research, Usability Testing, and Information Architecture

  1. 1. Understanding the Value of User Research, Usability Testing, & Information Architecture Kyle Soucy, Founding Principal Usable Interface www.usableinterface.com
  2. 2. The Ockham's Razor Principle of Content Management Systems “Given two functionally equivalent content management systems, the simplest one should be selected.” - Dries Buytaert Original creator and project lead of Drupal
  3. 3. Are YOU responsible for this?
  4. 4. Don’t believe me? Ask them!
  5. 5. Don’t assume that people think the way that you do.
  6. 6. If you don’t care about people, you can’t create a usable product!
  7. 7. When people interact with a product they’re interacting with YOU.
  8. 8. Why Usability is Important? • Nowadays, it’s survival of the easiest! • Reduced support costs • Can’t afford to NOT get it right the FIRST time. • Higher revenues through increased sales
  9. 9. Common Usability Problems • Lack of objective (no clear call to action) • Vague/misleading labels and navigation • Poor functionality (broken links, scripting errors, etc.) • Too many features...
  10. 10. Source: Human Factors International, Inc.
  11. 11. How do we prevent this?
  12. 12. User-Centered Design (UCD) "Human-centered design is characterized by: the active involvement of users and a clear understanding of user and task requirements; an appropriate allocation of function between users and technology; the iteration of design solutions; multi-disciplinary design." - ISO 13407
  13. 13. Usability "[Usability refers to] the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of user." - ISO 9241-11
  14. 14. Usability Methods User Research Focus Groups Heuristic Evaluations Log File Analysis Surveys Eye Tracking Card Sorting Usability Testing
  15. 15. User Research
  16. 16. User Research is NOT Market Research
  17. 17. Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research
  18. 18. Why can’t I just use a focus group?
  19. 19. Purpose of User Research Making sure the product provides what the customer needs and wants. Quality Assurance ✓ Does the the feature work? Usability Testing ✓ Can it be used easily? User Research ✓ Is the feature even needed?
  20. 20. Value of User Research Making sure all your resources are being used effectively. RESOURCES: INVESTMENT: OUTCOME: Design Confidence that Engineering you are building a product that is Marketing/Sales wanted, needed Support and will be used by Etc. your customers.
  21. 21. User Research Methods • In-depth Interviews • Contextual Inquiries • Field Studies • Diary Studies
  22. 22. Personas Source:Viget Labs
  23. 23. Usability Testing
  24. 24. What is Usability Testing? Observing real customers as they actually use your product. Image source: facit digital
  25. 25. Usability Testing Process • Define what you are testing • Define who you are testing • Define the tasks you are testing • Recruit users • Prepare the prototypes • Conduct dry-run • Facilitate tests • Conduct Analysis
  26. 26. Usability Labs Source: Kent State University
  27. 27. Who should you test? • Create a recruiting screener • Include existing users as well as the people you are trying to target • Make sure to cover all user groups • Get buy-in from project stakeholders
  28. 28. How many users do you need to test? Source: Jakob Nielsen
  29. 29. Budget Allocation What NOT to do... 1 Round of Testing
  30. 30. Budget Allocation What you SHOULD do... Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Design Design Iteration Iteration
  31. 31. Remote vs. In-Person Testing Vs.
  32. 32. When should you test? The earlier, the better...
  33. 33. Low vs. High-Fidelity Prototypes
  34. 34. UCD on a Small Budget • Don’t record tests on video • Don’t use a lab • Use surrogate users • Don’t write reports
  35. 35. Real-Life Example Vs.
  36. 36. Information Architecture
  37. 37. What is Information Architecture? Organizing, labeling, and classifying content so it can be easily retrieved. Image source: facit digital
  38. 38. How to Create an Effective IA You must understand: • Business Objectives • Content • User Objectives • Context of Use
  39. 39. IA Methods • Card Sorting • Free Listing • Mental Models • Affinity Diagramming • Search Log Analysis
  40. 40. Good Resources • Usability.gov • BoxesandArrows.com • UXmatters.com • UPAssoc.org • NNGroup.com • UIE.com
  41. 41. Summary • First step to user-centered design is to realize your end users are not YOU • Include your users in the design process • Usability testing is not a validation test • Testing earlier pays off more
  42. 42. Thank you! www.usableinterface.com