The Who, What,Why, When andHow of Usabilitywww.boost.co.nz
What is usability?- According to Wikipedia, usability is the ease of useand learnability of a human-made object- This means the ease of use of your website: Findingcontent, finding links, using the site, navigationstructures...“If the user can’t find it, it doesn’t exist”
What is usability?Can be summed up as 5 key points:‣ Learnability: How easily can users accomplish basic tasks on first use‣ Efficiency: How quickly they can complete tasks after learning the interface‣ Memorability: How easily they can remember how to use it between uses‣ Errors: How many errors do they make, what kind, how serious...‣ Satisfaction: How pretty is the design, how enjoyable is the experience...
What is usability?Put yourself in your users shoes: -Can you accomplish important tasks -Does the site do what the user needs -Is the site functional -What happens when things go wrongThink about the sites you use every day: -What is the experience like -Why do you keep using them -What gets in your way during this experience“Pay attention to what users do, not what they say”
Why is usability important?Usability is a condition for survival.The web is survival of the fittest: -Myspace vs Facebook -iPhone/iPod vs others -Google vs Yahoo!, Bing... -Chrome vs Firefox vs IE?...If users:Can’t find information --> leaveGet lost on your site --> leaveInformation is hard to understand --> leave
Why is usability important?‣ There is no website manual. People either find the information quickly or leave your site.‣ The web is full of alternatives, what makes you stand out from the competition?‣ You can save time from user training, increase satisfaction, better spread your message...‣ Everyone experiences the web in a different way: http://bit.ly/browservid
How can we improve usability?Lots of free or cheap, simple techniques:‣ Hallways tests‣ Card sorting exercises‣ Feedback from users‣ Observe how people interact with your site‣ Through analytics data‣ Online testing tools IntuitionHQ.com“We don’t see things they are, we see them as we are”
How can we improve usability?‣ Even getting feedback from friends can improve your usability‣ Any feedback is better than no feedback‣ You can test in all sorts of interesting ways‣ The web is full of people who love giving their opinions - relevant forums, newsletters etc.
How can we improve usability?The key is to get out and do it.Don’t be afraid of negative feedback because that iswhat helps you improveBe prepared to listen and observe. Be prepared tomake changes. Be prepared to learn.Think about success criteria for your site“A bad website is like a grumpy salesperson”
How can we improve usability?Examples:‣ Twitter‣ Facebook‣ Digg‣ NZ Herald‣ Your sites?
When to focus on usability?Any time is a good time to focus on usability:‣ Before starting a new design, test the old one‣ Test your competitors designs to see alternatives‣ Regularly observe your users to see how their behavior changes over time‣ Make paper prototypes, wireframes and sketches for quick feedback‣ Use multiple iterations from first sketch to finished design‣ Compare your site with usability guidelines
When to focus on usability?Keep tweaking your design; it’s easier to continuallymake small changes than to make huge ones (or ahuge number) later down the trackKeep observing your users: post tests or questionson your site, with your newsletters, on your twitterfeed etc.Remember, there is no such thing as bad feedback.All feedback can help you improve
Who can we test?Simply, anyone who has an interest in you, your site oryour community:‣ Current users of your sites‣ Stakeholders in your site (you, your colleagues...)‣ Friends and family‣ Relevant internet forums‣ Make use of your own Facebook page, Twitter feed...‣ Go out on the street with paper mockups, an iPad, laptop etc. and observe how people interact
Key points‣ Any testing is better than none‣ There are testing methods for any budget and any timeframe‣ It’s always a good time to do more testing‣ The internet is full of useful information on usability; use it: UXBooth.com, Useit.com, UXMag.com...‣ I’m always happy to answer any quesitons“Build it and they will come; build it well and they willcome back”