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3 Usability Techniques

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  • Timings for CPL (rough)10 minutes - Intros and so on70 minutes - usability overview plus persona / story walk-through 40 minutes - hallway evaluations10 minutes – break60 minutes - usability testing20 minutes - wrap up - putting this into your work context
  • #1 focuses on the importance of looking at your work from the perspective of a user. The basic technique is a quick user story (persona based on what you know at this point).
  • Make this as a bile
  • #2 is about how to get people to try something out, instead of offering opinions. The basic technique in this segment is writing realistic tasks and observing behavior.How we will do it:screenshots and post-it notesCan have each table rotate to the next table for 5 minutes, etc. to jot down comments on post-it notesWon’t have time to get everyone through all the tables, but should get good idea
  • #3 puts the first two into real usability test, and teaches how to moderate and observe, along with some thoughts about who makes a good usability test participant.
  • What should we use for the demo usability test?We could use the Use Tax notice from the Hallway exercise because they will all have seen it and they'll have a copy.
  • We are testing with a VA brochure -- the before; as with the other documents we have an after to share at the end of the exercise.We should give the moderators and observers the brochure to look at for a few minutes to decide how to do the test and to decide whether to do a paraphrase test or a go through it and ask questions test.
  • Steve runs instant usability tests in his workshops – he asks for volunteers to name a web site, and runs a test with someone in the audience using the site. They always find at least a few problems.
  • This is where Nicole talks about First Friday and Whitney talks about NCI
  • This starts our conclusion.Remember that we've looked at 3 techniques from this toolkit.
  • We've shown review techniques but don't wait for the end of a project to focus on usability and accessibility.Use these review techniques on your CURRENT version at the start of a project.Use all the other techniques, too.
  • And a reminder of who sponsored this workshop today
  • Transcript

    • 1. Three ways to help users understand your informationA usability workshop for World Usability Day
      Whitney Quesenbery
      Ginny RedishKate Walser
      November 10, 2010
    • 2. Topics for this workshop
      Introduction to usability and usability techniques
      Three techniques for today
      Persona / story walk-through
      Hallway review
      Informal usability test
    • 3. Introduction to usability and usability techniques
      Poster from Usability Professionals’ Association showing an overview of a user-centered design approach
    • 4. Plain language and usabilitygo hand in hand
      Plain language means that people can
      Find what they need
      Understand what they find
      Use the information to meet their goals
      Usability means that people can meet their goals
      Effectively (completely, accurately)
      Efficiently (in an appropriate amount of time)
      With satisfaction
    • 5. Usability is about people
      All kinds of people
      doing all kinds of things
      online and offline
      Photo credits iStockphoto, russeljsmith, Trace Center
    • 6. Different types ofpeople…doing differenttasks… have differentusability needs
      For this person, efficiency and effectiveness are the most important dimensions.
      For this person, easy to learn and error tolerant are the most important dimensions.
    • 7. Usability focuses on users’ behavior
      Understanding users' needs
      Designing to meet those needs
      Making sure you have met those needs
      − in the time and effort that users are willing to spend
      Attitudes and satisfaction are important.
      But most important is what people dowith your document or web site.
    • 8. Usability is a toolkit of techniques
      Do a final usability testto compare to benchmark
      Analyze and measurefor maintenance
      Prototype (or write drafts) iteratively
      Create a style guide and templates
      Inventory your content
      Develop your content strategy
      Do card sorting
      Do persona / story walk-throughs
      Set measurableusability goals
      Do hallway reviews
      Write relevant stories
      Do rapid, informal iterative usability testing
      Create personas
      Conduct benchmark usability tests
      Watch, listen to, and talk with users as they work(contextual interviews)
      Use each technique − when you need it and at the right scale.
      Analyze search logs and server logs
      Articulate your business goals
    • 9. Persona / storywalk-through
      When you have no timeand no access to users
      Persona of a commuter, created in a workshop at the Society for Technical Communication
    • 10. What is a persona / story walk-through?
      A usability technique that
      takes no special equipment or set up
      gets your whole team involved in the processAnd can even be a bit of fun!
      You can do this (and any of our techniques) with
      a document (paper, web-based)
      an entire web site or a partial web site
      a specific web topic or even one web page
      We'll call this your "content.”
    • 11. Step 1: Don’t look at it yet
      Sounds contradictory?You have only one chance to look at somethingfor the first time and to think about it like a new user.If you look at it before you try to use it, you’ll see it differently.If you are reviewing your own material, set it aside for a fewhours before you do the persona / story walk-through.
    • 12. Step 2. Write down your goals for your content
      Your site visitors' goals (and their reality)
      Your organization'sgoals for this specific document or content
      Success − for youand your users
      Answer people's questions about your topic
      Have people complete a transaction correctly without calling
      Get more people to fill out a form correctly without calling
    • 13. Step 3: Create a mini-persona
      Who is using your content?
      Who is a typical person for this content?
      What adjectives or phrases describe this person?(busy? anxious? curious? nervous? knows relevant technical vocabulary? or not?done this lots of times or never before?)
      Give that person a name, an age,a few personal characteristics
      Think about how well you know this person, and how much they are − or are not − like you.
      Mariella Garcia
    • 14. Step 4: Tell that persona's story related to your content
      Why has that person come to your content?
      What is your persona's goal?
      What is your persona trying to do? looking for?
      What does your persona expect to find? to happen?
    • 15. Step 5: Walk through your persona's story as the persona
      "Channel" your persona.
      Start where your persona would in the story.
      When / how would your persona get the document?(Open the envelope.)
      Where would your persona start in the web story?(Know the URL? Go to Google?)
      Go through the content (document, web site, web topic, web page) as if you were the persona carrying out the persona's story.
      Take notes of what works well and what does not.
    • 16. Try it!
      We'll work on this example:
      Home page of the Tricare web site.
      Tricare is the medical insurance company for military personnel, retirees, and their families.
      It offers several plans with health, dental, pharmaceutical coverage.
      The site must serve current and new customers.
      That should be enough for you to set up a persona / story
      walk-through.
    • 17. Try it!
      Work with a neighbor
      Don't look at it yet.
      Write down Tricare's goal(s) for the web site.
      Create a mini-persona of one typical user of the Tricare web site.
      Write the start of the persona's story. Why is your persona coming to the Tricare site?What does your persona expect to happen?
      Now be your persona doing the persona's storyand make notes about how well the Tricare home page works or does not work for your persona and your persona's story.
    • 18. Considering what you learned
      Positives: Did any part of what you were reviewing work well?
      Concerns
      Relationship problems
      Are the organization's goals and the persona's goals in alignment?
      How well does the site satisfy either set of goals?
      Conversation problems
      Are the headings, text, and images meaningful to your persona?
      Did your persona understand the words? find where to click?
      Appearance problems
      Does it look tidy and attractive?
      Is space used well?
    • 19. Making use of what you learned
      Reporting
      Include at least one positive comment.(You want to keep what is working well.)
      Have examples of problems from the persona’s perspective.
      Think about how critical the problems are.
      Think about what keeps the persona from being successful.
      Fixing
      Yes, fix the easy-to-fix problems.
      But fixing the one or two most critical problems is much more important.
    • 20. A bit more about being user-centered
      What we’ve just done is a persona / story walk-through
      The user's story – the persona and goal – guides the review.
      Your knowledge of usability and good design helps you understand the problems the persona encounters.
      Guidelines or a checklist can help you keep important points in mind.
      Ginny did a large review with this technique for AARP.
    • 21. What are the benefits and risks of this technique?
      Benefits
      Easy to do.
      Doesn't need users, space, equipment.
      Risks
      You may know less about these users than you think.
      Methods that rely only on guidelines are known to be rather poor at predicting actual problems.
      You (or your colleagues and managers) may resist doing usability testing because the review seems good enough.
      You become over-confident.
    • 22. Doing a little bit more
      Get a second opinion.
      More people means more insights and less chance of getting fixated on a minor issue.
      Decide whether you want more or less expertisein the persona and the reviewers.
      Add a wider coverage of people and tasks.
      Include more personas, especially those that contrast.
      Include more stories for each persona.
      Make the report more comprehensive − if that will actually accomplish what you need.
      More detailed descriptions of problems.
      Include screenshots to point to specific problems.
    • 23. Hallway reviews
      Getting input from morepeople in your organization
      Post-it notes with comments about a home page (portal) for students who are new to the Open University
    • 24. What is a hallway review?
      A usability and design technique to capture feedback from
      Target users
      Team members
      People in the organization
      Customers
      Post screenshots or examples of the information in
      Meeting rooms
      Hallways
      Online (using tools like Notable − screen shot and link on a later slide)
    • 25. Step 1: Decide what to review
      Which do you want to review?
      Information – use a printout of the wording
      Information plus design – use a screenshot or wireframe
      What do you want hallway reviewers to critique?
      Clarity – can someone read and understand it easily?
      Tone – does it set the right tone?
      Context – is there enough to help with understanding?
      “Enablers” – do the surrounding elements (design, headings, label, etc.) help reinforce the message?
    • 26. Step 2: Think of questions AND bounds
      Help frame the feedback
      Post personas and sample scenarios / tasks with questions to gauge ability to complete scenario (e.g., What’s the penalty for paying late? Where did you find the answer?)
      Post thought-provoking questions (samples on next slide)
      What will hallway reviewers know that your personas won’t?
      Think of the game “Taboo”
      Background information
      Internal, insider words, phrases
    • 27. Sample questions
      Could you answer [question 1]? If so, where did you find the information?
      How clear is the information?
      What else would the reader need to know to understand thisinformation?
      Are there any design elements that promote understanding?
      What would you suggest rewording?
      Are there any words your friends, family, or colleagues wouldhave trouble understanding?
    • 28. Step 3: Find the right place
      High-traffic areas when you need…
      Volume
      Diverse population
      Lower-traffic areas, but with RIGHT people
      Subject matter experts
      Help desk
      Trainers
    • 29. Step 4: Gather materials and post
      Get approval / clearance if needed
      Sample materials
      Large easel sticky notes
      Print-outs of site pages or pamphlets
      Post-it notes (arrow post-it notes too!)
      Tape
      Pens, markers
      Answer drop-box (if you want to review answers to questions)
    • 30. Or set up an online area to collect
      Notable – http://www.notableapp.com
      flickr – http://www.flickr.com
      To give people “Add a note” option, go to You > Your Account > Privacy & Permissions
    • 31. Step 5: Check in and observe
      See reactions as people encounter the review
      Check response rate
      Post new copies of screenshots if response rate is good
      Adjust the “framing” if needed
      Provide more clarification on task
      Follow up on questions, results as appropriate
    • 32. Try it!
      We'll work on this example:
      Information that the Washington State Department of Revenuewrote for every business owner in the state.
      Organization's goals:
      If business owner owes this tax, pay it.
      If business owner does not owe this tax, go on record to say that.
      Persona:
      Owner of a small business with 10 or fewer employees.
      Is very busy; needs to spend most of time focused on the business.
      Doesn't want to get in trouble with Revenue, but doesn't know tax law or tax language.
      Gets a lot of mail from a lot of sources.
    • 33. Considering what you learned
      Positives: Did your reviewers make any positive comments?
      Concerns: What did you learn from reviewers' comments about -
      Relationship problems
      Are the organization's goals and the persona's goals in alignment?
      How well does the site satisfy either set of goals?
      Conversation problems
      Are the headings, text, and images meaningful to your persona?
      Did your persona understand the words? find where to click?
      Appearance problems
      Does it look tidy and attractive?
      Is space used well?
    • 34. What are the benefits and risks of this technique?
      Benefits
      Quick and easy
      Cheap
      Fewer time constraints than scheduled sessions
      Can reach more reviewers and cover more ground
      Risks
      More often, gather feedback from insiders – less often, target users
      Similar challenges to focus groups – one reviewer’s commentsmay influence another
      Little chance to learn more about the comments
    • 35. Can we lessen the risks?
      Separate the markings from the commentsAsk reviewers to
      Initial / mark the area they want to critique
      Jot down the comments / ideas and drop in a box andreference the mark (e.g., KW1)
      Spread out the hallway reviews
      Requires more effort aggregating feedback
      Distributes the number of comments that could bias otherreviewers across multiple copies
      Use copies of the same screenshots and give each its own“focus” (e.g., clarity, tone, etc.)
    • 36. Usability testing
      Informal testing with people who use your information
      Informal usability testing of voting materials at the Farmer's Market in Olympia, Washington
    • 37. What is a usability test?
      Observe real people using something in a realisticor semi-realistic environment
      Not just asking them about it
      See how easily real people find what they need to accomplish a task
      Confirm or challenge assumptions
      Improve materials
      Don’t argue about design or language. Test with real users.
      Learn where and how to prevent mistakes or help peoplerecover from mistakes.
      Find where the information is not "plain" enough for peopleto revise it.
    • 38. How easily can we learn from users?
      Gathering feedback from people can be as simple aswatching someone use something to find information.
      Let them explore the material as they would really do.
      Don’t explain or demo.
      Watch what they do.
      Note where they do and do not read.
      Listen to their comments.
      Take their problems seriously.
    • 39. How easily can we learn from users?
      Usability testingdoes not have to be formallengthy, or expensive.
      You don’t need
      a formal laboratory
      100s of participants
      special equipment
      special recording systems
      Poster from Washington State
    • 40. Why not do this in a group?
      In focus groups, you get
      preferences
      opinions
      group consensus
      In a usability test, you get
      individual behavior and performance
      what happened, as well as why
    • 41. What do you need for a usability test?
      What
      The material you want to test
      Where
      A quiet room (Maybe. We know of very successful usability testing in an open marketplace, a hangar at an air show, the chemotherapy center at the NIHClinical Center.)
      Who
      Moderator
      Observer/note-taker
      Users: 3 − 6 people, one at a time
    • 42. The moderator runs the session
      Impartial, unbiased, observing
      No teaching!
      Listen and watch
      Open-ended questions: Why?How? What were you doing?
      Moderator roles:
      Flight attendant: Ensuring safety and comfort
      Scientist: Planning, maintaining objectivity, managing data
    • 43. Briefing the user
      Thanks for trying out this […]. Your doing this will help improve this material.
      Note: If you never use the words "test" or "evaluate" with the user,you will not have to say "We are not testing you."
      You can stop anytime.
      Your involvement will be confidential.
      If you get stuck or confused, say so.
      Please let me know what you are thinking as you use this …
    • 44. Techniques to maximize information
      If the user says, “hmmm” or “oops” or “I wonder…”
      Say, “What questions do you have right now?”
      If you are doing "think aloud" and the user is silent for 10 or 20 seconds (count!)
      Say, “What are you thinking?”
      If users stop because they think they're done or they are stuck (and you think there’s a problem)
      Summarize what you saw the user do.
      Ask "What would you do now?"
    • 45. Think aloud during − or after the task
      Consider asking people to “think aloud” as they work
      What they’re doing
      Why they’re doing it
      If it's a usability test that you can't do with think aloud,go back over the material
      Ask the participant to walk you through what they did and why.
      Use the material as a guide for the discussion.
      Ask if anything was confusing or frustrating.
    • 46. Different ways of having people try outdifferent materials
      Web site where you are observing people both find andunderstand information
      Ask participants for their own scenarios. (Have you used this site? What for? Please show me how you did that with this site. or Would you be likely to use this site? What for? Please show me how you would do that with this site.)
      Give participants scenarios you have written. (Write scenarios that will have people use parts of the site you are worried about.)
      Use both of these with their own scenario first.
    • 47. Different ways of having people try outdifferent materials
      Single document (letter, notice, one web page)
      Paraphrase: Have participants
      read a section themselves (depending on the document that could be a sentence, a paragraph, a heading and the text under the heading)
      tell you in their own words what it means (note what they get right, what they get wrong, and what they leave out)
      Read, comment, and answer questions:
      Have participants go through the document as they would if you were not there, while commenting to you with their reactions as they go through the document.
      Then ask them questions about facts from the document. (You can write the questions like scenarios.)
    • 48. Observers and note-takers
      Watch quietly.
      Do not distract the person participating in the usability test.
      Do not react to anything that happens during the test.
      No laughing, gasps, shaking your head, whispering.
      Do not ask questions or try to discuss the test with the participant.
    • 49. Observers and note-takers
      Take good notes.
      Write down what you see and hear.
      Be specific. Not "he's confused." But "he said he doesn't know what APR means."
      Don't translate. Put down the user's words.
      Don't infer the user's reasons for doing something. (The moderator may ask as it is happening. If not, at the end, you may be able to ask the moderator to take the user back to the event and ask what was happening then.)
      Don't solve problems while taking notes. That's for later. It will take all your concentration to note what is happening.
    • 50. Observers and note-takers
      Watch (and listen) for whether the user
      has any trouble understanding or following instructions?
      asks questions or appears confused?
      has to correct mistakes or re-read information?
      has any comments?
    • 51. Watch and listen to a demostration
      We'll demonstrate a short usability test.
      You are all observers / note-takers.
    • 52. Try it
      Break into small groups (3-4 people)
      Choose 1 person to be the participant
      Choose 1 person to be the moderator
      Others observe and take notes
      Participants all come up to the front to get a briefing while the moderators and observers become familiar with the document we are going to have you try out.
    • 53. Considering what you learned
      Positives: Did any part of what you were testing work well?
      Concerns
      Relationship problems
      Are the organization's goals and the persona's goals in alignment?
      How well does the site satisfy either set of goals?
      Conversation problems
      Are the headings, text, and images meaningful to your persona?
      Did your persona understand the words? find where to click?
      Appearance problems
      Does it look tidy and attractive?
      Is space used well?
    • 54. Base your findings on what the users did and said
      Did they read or use the information accurately?
      Were there any
      signs of hesitation or confusion?
      misreadings or misunderstandings?
      requests for assistance?
      adaptive behavior?(taking out reading glasses, moving closer to the document, holding the paper up to the light − could all be signs of problems with the information design)
      surprises?
      other expressions of emotion (anger, disgust, delight, satisfaction)− what specific aspects of the materials were those about?
    • 55. Report on what you observed in the test
      How you report depends very much on your situationand the usability maturity of the organization.
      Reports can range from
      a brief memo of what was agreed on in a debriefing meeting (Everyone involved observed sessions, attended the meeting, and will fix the problems.)
      a short report with very brief identifying information, and then bulleted lists or tables of findings and recommendations(Usability testing is well understood and people just need the results to act on.)
      a detailed report with an explanation of usability testing, details of what you did, quantitative and qualitative results, video clips and screen shots, recommendations
    • 56. Can we really find problems runningusability tests with so few people?
      Yes!
      This is not “science” but a way to find problems…and fix them before the material is released.
      Experience tells us that usability testing uncovers problems more clearly than any other method.
      Seeing the problem is the first step to solving it.
    • 57. Rocket Surgery technique
      Steve Krug's "do it yourself" method
      test on a regular schedule, a morning a month
      test to get answers to a limited number of issues
      3 participants (one hour each)
      observers note 3 insights from each of the 3 sessions
      debrief and decide immediately after the sessions
      to participate in decisions based on the test,you must observe at least on session
      no report! just a brief memo of what the team will change inthe next month
      tweak to fix; just do what is needed to eliminate the problems
    • 58. Usability is a toolkit of techniques
      Do a final usability testto compare to benchmark
      Analyze and measurefor maintenance
      Prototype (or write drafts) iteratively
      Create a style guide and templates
      Inventory your content
      Develop your content strategy
      Do card sorting
      Do persona / story walk-throughs
      Set measurableusability goals
      Do hallway reviews
      Write relevant stories
      Do rapid, informal iterative usability testing
      Create personas
      Conduct benchmark usability tests
      Watch, listen to, and talk with users as they work(contextual interviews)
      Use each technique − when you need it and at the right scale.
      Analyze search logs and server logs
      Articulate your business goals
    • 59. Usability andaccessibility must be designed in
      They can’t be piled on top after the rest of the design is done!
    • 60. Plain language matters.
      The Center advocates for clear communication and plain language everywhere − in government, business, non-profits, and universities.
    • 61. We support those who use plain language, train those who should use plain language, and urge people to demand plain language in all the documents they receive, read, and use.
    • 62. The Center’s projects include:
      • ClearMark awards, celebrating the best in clear communication and plain language
      • 63. WonderMark awards, telling the world what’s not plain.
      • 64. Demand to Understand, encouraging everyone to demand clear communications before they sign an agreement.
      • 65. Educational programs about plain language− like this one.
    • Plain Language and usability resources
      What is plain language?http://centerforplainlanguage.org/about-plain-language/
      How-to for plain language: guidelines and tools http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/index.cfm
      How-to for usability: basics, templates, and guidelines http://www.usability.gov
      Toolkit for starting plain language in your organizationhttp://centerforplainlanguage.org/toolkit/
      Usability training at Web Manager Universityhttp://www.usa.gov/webcontent/wmu/
      Usability Professionals’ Associationhttp://www.usabilityprofessionals.org
    • 66. Books on usability and plain language
      Handbook of Usability Testing (2nd Edition) by Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell
      Letting Go of the Words by Ginny Redish
      Rocket Surgery Made Easy (The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems)by Steve Krug
      Storytelling for User Experience by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks
    • 67. Janice (Ginny) RedishRedish & Associateswww.redish.net
      ginny@redish.net
      Whitney QuesenberyWQusabilitywww.wqusability.comwhitneyq@wqusability.com
      Kate WalserCX Insightswww.cxinsights.comkate@cxinsights.com

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