Ok, so how do we build apps around real user
First, know your users.
• What are they trying to accomplish?
• What are their metrics of success?
Productivity, creativity, accomplishment,
better communication, fun?
• Oh, and... who are they?
How can we discover the needs of app users?
• User testing, with participants selected for matches with
your demographic and enough people to be statistically
• Focus groups, with participants recruited via agencies
and pair for their time
• Eye tracking studies
• Journal studies
• Contextual interviews
broke and in a
Here’s some quick and dirty user experience tips
for your app
A common problem app developers face is
unknowingly designing for:
• Their features and capabilities
• Their mom
To avoid falling in this trap, create a persona!
• Personas are ﬁctional, archetypal users that represent
the needs of larger groups of users
• They act as ‘stand-ins’ for real users and help guide
decisions about functionality and design
• They have speciﬁc attributes as people and needs as
users. They should be “real” enough to talk about and
Personas are useful for:
• Giving the team a shared point of reference for design
(much better than everyone’s mom)
• Tying the usage and design of the product to real
human needs, not just features
• Focusing the scope of design on particular kinds of
users, rather than “all users”
Let’s make one!
• Familiarity with similar products?
Once you have a design or prototype,
how can you get useful UX feedback on it?
Easy, cheap, and super eﬀective!
Think-aloud test tl;dr:
1. Find a user not familiar with your product who
(hopefully) is similar to your target users
2. Give the user a task or two to do. Instruct the user to
“think out loud,” remind them to do this when they stop
3. Don’t say anything: record or take notes
4. Rinse and repeat with diﬀerent users
• Take some demographic information down at the
beginning. How familiar is the user with the product, etc?
• Assure the user at the beginning that you are “testing
the software, not them.”
• The rougher the prototype looks, the more honest
feedback will be
• At the end of the test, ask the user for any clariﬁcations
you need on what they did during the test
What if I just need a question or two answered but
don’t have the money for an agency?
Amazon Mechanical Turk pros:
• No recruiting
• Participants are actually thorough and take time on
• If you need a speciﬁc demographic you can target it
• Anonymous, so less lab-watched eﬀects
Amazon Mechanical Turk cons:
• Some markets are harder to reach: India and the United
States still the vast majority of workers, all have access to
computer and internet
• Limits on how interactive your test can be
• Money is the motivation for your users - they want to
ﬁnish your test and move into another, and are in this