Usable Usability Reports (Dick Horst)

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Given at UXPA-DC's User Focus Conference, Oct. 19, 2012

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Usable Usability Reports (Dick Horst)

  1. 1. Usable Usability ReportsThat Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your Colleagues User Focus 2012 October 19, 2012 www.userworks.com (301) 431-0500 Dick Horst
  2. 2. Usable Usability Reports – Who Cares? Whether writing for clients or colleagues, the report communicates not only the substance of what you have to say but: • Your style of communicating • Your care in constructing deliverables “Cobbler’s children have no shoes” problem? • No time • No budget • That’s why we have technical writers and editors Report design, format, style, quality of writing may influence reader’s view as much as the quality of thinking that went into the design recommendations that are the subject of the reportUsable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 2
  3. 3. What I DON’T Want to Talk About Writing composition Grammar per se Spelling Visual document design; report’s look and feel Tables and graphs Specific business domains, particular types of user research reportsAll of these are “givens,” they have to be well-done, and thereare generic style guides and other resource materials readilyavailable (e.g., new edition of APA Style Guide)Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 3
  4. 4. What I DO Want to Talk About Issues that are largely specific to “usability” reports Strategies, approaches, rules of thumb Not only report structure and text, but tone Not only report composition, but file naming Issues that should apply to everyone on the team, not just the technical writer or editor Issues that would apply not only to technical reports, but proposals, planning documents, research papers, etc. Largely based on my pet peeves (and I’d like to hear yours)Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 4
  5. 5. Pizazz-iness of the Title Creating Usable Usability Reports (2011) vs Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your Colleagues (2012)Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 5
  6. 6. A Recurring Theme HereConsistency is King! Hard for the reader to accept your critiques of product design inconsistencies if the report itself is riddled with inconsistencies Doesn’t much matter which of several alternative schemes you choose, but use it consistentlyUsable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 6
  7. 7. How to Refer to Web Pages, Menus, MenuItems, LinksUsable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 7
  8. 8. How to Refer to Web Pages, Menus, MenuItems, LinksSome participants had difficulty beginning the customization processFor this scenario, participants were brought to the home page of the site and asked tomodify the home page of the site to include highlights from NewsEdge and a link to theRapid Reduction Technology Office Web site. No other information was given, andparticipants were free to explore whatever area of the site or process would accomplishthe task. Four participants (33%) had to be guided by the moderator to the “CustomizeYour Home Page” box and/or category links in order to begin the customizationprocess. Had the moderator not drawn their attention to that section of the site, it islikely that more participants would have abandoned this task.Many participants were confused by the home page customizationcategoriesFive participants (42%) expressed confusion with the category options on the homepage for “Customize Your Home Page” and indicated that they were not sure whichbox would be most appropriate for the resource for which they were looking. In fact,two participants said that they would prefer to have a keyword search box to locate theresources rather than having to scan through each category to determine which one wascorrect.Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 8
  9. 9. How to Order and Prioritize the IssuesAddressed By tasks given the participants By audience group By severity of the problem (high, medium, low) (catastrophes, important, nice to have) By nature of the problem (e.g., navigation, labeling, content, search, visual design, accessibility, system performance) By nature of the solution (e.g., reorganize site architecture, streamline transactional workflow, create controlled vocabulary, rewrite content, introduce new content management, improve tagging of content for search, remediate accessibility non-compliance, improve online Help)Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 9
  10. 10. Two Sample Organizational Schemes Task 1  Navigation problems • High severity problems • Home page  Navigation  High severity  Labeling  Medium severity  …  Low severity • Medium severity problems • Registration process  Navigation  High severity  Labeling  Medium severity  …  Low severity • Low severity problems • Checkout process  Navigation  High severity  Medium severity  Labeling  Low severity  … Task 2  Labeling problems • High severity problems • Home page  Navigation  High severity  Medium severity  Labeling  Low severity  … • Medium severity problems • Registration process  High severity • Navigation  Medium severity  Labeling  Low severity  … • Checkout process • Low severity problems  High severity  Navigation  Medium severity  Labeling  Low severity  …Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 10
  11. 11. Some Rules of Thumb “Participants” rather than “Subjects” when talking about usability studies “Participants” when referring to those individuals you observed in the study; “Users” when referring to the broader population of site visitors or product users Past tense when discussing what happened in the study; present or future tense when referring to what users can do now or speculating about what they may do in the future Write for your main point-of-contact’s boss, not your main point-of-contact. Who knows who all might see your report!Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 11
  12. 12. Make it Easy to Navigate the Report Include an Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Appendices Accommodate both the casual reader who just wants the big picture and those who want the gory details Embed video clips in report? Hyperlink among related sections of the report?Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 12
  13. 13. Make it Highly VisualUsable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 13
  14. 14. “A spoonful of sugar …” Before delivering the bad news, write about some positive aspects of the design or test results • What worked well • Participants had no problems using the following • Participants appreciated the following • Overall user satisfaction was rated highlyUsable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 14
  15. 15. Naming the Electronic File That Contains theReport Name the file so it is recognizable to the recipient, not to you; and not next week, but next year • “Usability test report for XXX” may not jog XXX’s memory when they see it in their file system a year from now • “UserWorks’ report of XXX usability test, 10-19-2012.pdf” would be better It’s never “final” • UserWorks’ report of XXX usability test -- final.pdf • UserWorks’ report of XXX usability test – final, v2.pdf • UserWorks’ report of XXX usability test – final, v2b.pdf • UserWorks’ report of XXX usability test – final, v2b2.pdfUsable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 15
  16. 16. Questions? What are your pet peeves regarding usability reports? What are some of your best practices in report writing?Usable Usability Reports That Will Delight Your Customers and Amaze Your ColleaguesUser Focus 2012Dick Horst - UserWorks, Inc. 16

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