User-centered design: A road map to usability

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Nobody ever set out to build a Web site that’s difficult to use. Even so, many sites prove to be frustrating for the very people they’re built to serve. When we design without a clear and proven …

Nobody ever set out to build a Web site that’s difficult to use. Even so, many sites prove to be frustrating for the very people they’re built to serve. When we design without a clear and proven understanding of the site’s audience–or with our own preferences and biases unchecked–we put the overall usability and effectiveness of the site at jeopardy.

In this presentation, Will Sansbury overviews user-centered design, a process that infuses concern for the audience into every step of creating a site or software product. He shares practical tools for learning about your audience initially, checking your decisions against your understanding of the audience throughout the design process, and gauging the effectiveness of your final design using qualitative usability testing.

As an information architect on the WhatsUp Gold team at Ipswitch, Will has experimented with integrating user experience design into the Scrum software development process. Because he’s a practitioner first, he has a pragmatic, from-the-trenches view that makes user experience and user-centered design approachable to designers and developers of all skill levels.

This presentation was delivered at RefreshAugusta on July 22, 2009.

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  • Thank you for making such a fascinating and visually appealing presentation. I loved it. As a fundraiser fnonprofit, it seems to me that there are a lot of things fundraisers could learn from your presentation. We are often the ones called upon to make the graphic design, and the user experience. We need to educate ourselves to learn how to do it most effectively.

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Transcript

  • 1. Usability is like world peace. We all want it. But how do we get there?
  • 2. User-centered design A road map to usability RefreshAugusta July 22, 2009
  • 3. What is User-centered design (UCD) is an approach to design user- that grounds the process in information about centered the people who will use design? the product. UCD focuses on users through the planning, design and development of a product. What is User-Centered Design? UPA, accessed from http://www.upassoc.org/usability_resources/ about_usability/what_is_ucd.html
  • 4. User-centered design goes a little something like this… Phase 1 Analysis Phase 2 Design Phase 3 Evaluation Phase 4 Deployment
  • 5. User-centered design is common sense. Image by malias (flickr)
  • 6. User-centered design is common sense. Phase 1: Analysis How would you like your hair cut? Phase 2: Design Snip, snip. Phase 3: Evaluation Here’s a mirror. What do you think? Phase 4: Deployment Have a great day! Image by malias (flickr)
  • 7. Phase 1: Analysis Understand the people who will use the design. Image by huangjiahui (flickr)
  • 8. Listen to people who might use your design. Use any means necessary. Hint: They’re probably not the people who are paying you. Image by victoriapeckham (flickr)
  • 9. Create personas to embody groups of users who are similar. Ethel LeDuc 82 years old Ethel spent her adult life as a stay- at-home mother and wife. Now, she is proud of being a “grr-grandma.” Having come of age during the Great Depression, Ethel is resourceful and spunky. She doesn’t shy away from any challenges, and Primary reason for getting a cell phone: she’s not afraid to try to learn new Safety while traveling things—though she’s not as quick a Primary use of cell phone: study as she once was. Calling a select set of contacts (friends and family)
  • 10. Create personas to embody groups of users who are similar. Ethel LeDuc 82 years old Personas are about spent her adult life as a stay- Ethel Personality at-home mother and wife. Now, she is proud of being a “grr-grandma.” Behavior Having grown up through the Great Habits Depression, Ethel is resourceful and spunky. She doesn’t shy away from Motivationstry to learn new things—though Primary reason for getting a cell phone: any challenges, and she’s not afraid to safety while traveling Primary use of cell phone: Fears she’s was.as quick a study as she once not Calling a select set of contacts (friends and family)
  • 11. Every decision should directly benefit one of your personas. Can it make phone calls?
  • 12. Every decision should directly benefit one of your personas. Can Ethel make a phone call with it?
  • 13. How many targets can you hit? Hint: It’s probably about three. Image by TheMarque (flickr)
  • 14. Phase 2: Design Solve their problems. Image by stuartpilbrow (flickr)
  • 15. Look at the big picture first. People see the forest before the trees. Image by meaduva (flickr)
  • 16. Sketch a lot of different ideas, fast. Then throw most of them away. Hint: It’s easier to get attached to ideas that end in .PSD. Image by Myrone (flickr)
  • 17. Close Photoshop. (Relax. It’s just for a little bit.) Image by Mike Rohde (flickr)
  • 18. Soapbox: Banish lipsum! Content is design; design is content.
  • 19. Soapbox: Banish lipsum! Content is design; design is content. Designing for a template- based system? Anticipate the types of content and design for them.
  • 20. Don’t forget Ethel.
  • 21. A couple of ideas seem to work? Clean them up and test them. Hint: You don’t yet know if you have a gem or a turd. Don’t polish too much. Image by irrezolut (flickr)
  • 22. Phase 3: Evaluation Make sure the design works. Early. And often. Image by l-i-n-k (flickr)
  • 23. Know your limitations. You won’t catch everything. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47LCLoidJh4
  • 24. Be a voyeur. Use any means necessary.
  • 25. Phase 4: Deployment When you’ve gotten it right… Launch.
  • 26. Getting started How can you tip-toe into user- centered design? Image by Zunami (flickr)
  • 27. If you want to win the race, you have to run the entire course. Image by Philo Nordlund (flickr)
  • 28. Each phase builds on the previous. Phase 1 Analysis Phase 2 Design Phase 3 Evaluation Phase 4 Deployment Image by Philo Nordlund (flickr)
  • 29. Design without analysis won’t solve the right problems. You need to know why they want to fire a gun.
  • 30. Evaluation without design will find obvious flaws. Testing what’s obviously wrong is a waste of effort.
  • 31. Deployment without evaluation will disappoint your customers. It’s not nice to make Ethel cry. Not good business, either. Image by Philo Nordlund (flickr)
  • 32. So start at the very beginning. Listen to people. Empathize. The rest will follow.
  • 33. Thank you! Will Sansbury www.willsansbury.com willsansbury@gmail.com @willsansbury