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  1. 1. Usability The Elevator Pitch Deb Cook Eva Kaniasty Andrew Wirtanen
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Explaining what we do </li></ul><ul><li>Our approach to getting answers </li></ul><ul><li>Introducing the experts </li></ul><ul><li>The Personal Pitch </li></ul><ul><li>The Workplace Pitch </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons learned </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation videos are available at http:// </li></ul>
  3. 3. What Is So Hard About Explaining What We Do? <ul><li>Some people have it easy… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m a lawyer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m a web designer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m a jet pilot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m a software engineer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some don’t… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m an Interaction Designer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m an Information Architect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m a Human Factors Engineer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m a Usability Specialist </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Explaining Usability <ul><li>How much detail? </li></ul><ul><li>How technical? </li></ul><ul><li>What terminology? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User Experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interaction Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intuitive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User-friendly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to use/learn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not frustrating </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enjoyable </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. What Not To Say… <ul><li>Human Factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Human Services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Human Factory </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Human Sacrifice </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>The devolution of HF
  6. 6. Common Misunderstandings <ul><li>Usability is easy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ You make things user friendly? They pay you for that?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ This stuff is obvious. Anybody can do it.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>User research is unnecessary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Our products are usable. Customers never complain about our software/website.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We don’t need to talk to users. Our salespeople know what customers want.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Usability by any other name </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Doesn’t QA do this?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We already have a beta-testing program.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ You make things look pretty, right?” </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Our Approach <ul><li>Ask the experts… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How they define usability? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How they explain it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How they persuade others? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do their mothers understand what they do for a living? (No) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Introducing The Experts http://
  9. 9. The Experts <ul><li>Joe Dumas Dr. Usability, Bentley College; Author of “A Practical Guide to Usability Testing” </li></ul><ul><li>Jonathan Grudin Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research </li></ul><ul><li>Steve Krug Usability Consultant and Founder, Advanced Common Sense; Author of “Don’t Make Me Think” </li></ul><ul><li>Mary Beth Rettger Director of Usability, The MathWorks </li></ul><ul><li>Janice Rohn Vice President – Consumer Experience,™ </li></ul><ul><li>Jared Spool Founder, User Interface Engineering </li></ul><ul><li>Tom Tullis Senior Vice President, User Experience, Fidelity Investments </li></ul>
  10. 10. We Make Things Usable. So, what exactly does that mean?
  11. 11. Usability Is… “ [A product is usable when] people can use the thing for its intended purpose, without it being more trouble than it’s worth.” – Steve Krug, Advanced Common Sense “… the absence of frustration. What you do is remove all the frustrating bits...” – Jared Spool, User Interface Engineering “ A usable product allows the user to focus on what they’re trying to accomplish…” -Mary Beth Rettger, The MathWorks
  12. 12. Usability Is In The Eye Of The Beholder <ul><li>Good usability is hard to pinpoint </li></ul><ul><li>It’s easier to see… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequences of bad usability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The next frontier </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enjoyable user experiences </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. So How Do We Explain What We Do? …It depends.
  14. 14. The Personal Pitch
  15. 15. It Depends On The Audience <ul><li>Interest level </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Familiarity/Comfort with technology </li></ul><ul><li>Attractiveness?!? </li></ul>“ I gauge [if] they’re coming from a technical background…Depending on the background, I alter it.” - Janice Rohn, “ I have six different answers.” - Jared Spool, User Interface Engineering
  16. 16. Keep It Simple “ It’s sort of on a need-to-know basis…The simpler you can keep it the better.” - Steve Krug, Advanced Common Sense “ I tell people I do software engineering, because people can relate to that. Then I say I’m involved in making products easy to use.” - Joe Dumas, Dr. Usability “ I try to help design websites so people can use them easily…the web domain is a handy one to talk in because it is one that almost everybody can relate to.” - Tom Tullis, Fidelity Investments
  17. 17. Examples Work Well <ul><li>“ Phone menu systems are just nightmarish...” </li></ul><ul><li>Steve Krug, Advanced Common Sense </li></ul><ul><li>“ Remote controls…Dr. Usability had to get help…just to be able to turn the picture-in-picture off.” </li></ul><ul><li>Joe Dumas, Dr. Usability “Remote control units.” </li></ul><ul><li>Jonathan Grudin, Microsoft Research </li></ul><ul><li>“ The funny thing about thinking of that as the Elevator Pitch [for Usability] is that I sometimes I use an elevator as my example.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Tom Tullis, Fidelity Investments </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Workplace Pitch
  19. 19. It Depends On The Audience <ul><li>Interest level </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency of interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Person’s role in the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Person’s primary focus (function) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product development </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Common Strategies <ul><li>Avoid the term “usability” </li></ul><ul><li>Position user centered design (UCD) as a solution to a problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tie it into the goals, objectives and values of the business (or the person) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Show” is more powerful than “tell” </li></ul>
  21. 21. Avoid The Term “Usability” “ One of the things we learned a long time ago is the less we mention the word ‘usability’, the better we can sell things - and the bigger the projects.” - Jared Spool, User Interface Engineering
  22. 22. Position UCD As A Solution To A Problem <ul><li>Tie it into the goals, objectives and values of the business (or the person) </li></ul><ul><li>WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?” </li></ul>“ We talked about their problems. They didn’t have a usability problem. They had a problem that they weren’t selling enough.” - Jared Spool, User Interface Engineering “ I explain the benefits in the terms that are the most important to the particular company.” - Janice Rohn,
  23. 23. “ Show” Is More Powerful Than “Tell” “ Talking about user centered design and the value of it in the abstract just doesn’t seem to be nearly as convincing as being able to see it in action.” -Tom Tullis, Fidelity Investments “ I try to get users in front of developers as much as I can.” -Joe Dumas, Dr. Usability “ I would tell people ‘Do some user tests.’ Have them watch people try and use their stuff.” -Steve Krug, Advanced Common Sense “ The best way to explain the benefits is actually to demonstrate the benefits.” -Mary Beth Rettger
  24. 24. “ Show” Is More Powerful Than “Tell” “ One of the things I’m a big believer in is measuring the state of things before and after…Demonstrate significant improvement.” -Janice Rohn,
  25. 25. Lessons Learned
  26. 26. It’s Getting Better All The Time “ I have seen such a huge change over the years.” -Janice Rohn, “ In the early days, you had to teach people, or try to convince them, that usability itself was important.” -Joe Dumas, Dr. Usability
  27. 27. But, Some People Still Aren’t Ready – So Choose Your Battles Wisely “ We’ve certainly had some people who get mainly defensive…when we’re testing ‘their baby’….But most people recognize the value of it.” -Tom Tullis, Fidelity Investments “ I gave up trying to convince people that usability was important. I just figured, if they didn’t get it, they were not going to ever get it, probably. ” -Joe Dumas, Dr. Usability
  28. 28. Final Lessons <ul><li>We are in good company - </li></ul><ul><li>Even the experts have struggled with this issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Write a book – </li></ul><ul><li>It will reduce your need to create a usability elevator pitch. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Discussion <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Comments? </li></ul><ul><li>War Stories? </li></ul>The full presentation, including video clips, will be available at soon. Debbie Cook - Eva Kaniasty – Andrew Wirtanen –