Usability in Practice - Tips from the field


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This is a talk I gave to students of the Manukau Institute of Technology, focusing on key usability heuristics, and giving them tips on how to run their own user research or usability testing.

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Usability in Practice - Tips from the field

  1. 1. Usability in Practice Usability in Practice – Tips from the Field Justine Sanderson | 2 May 2007 © 2007 Justine Sanderson
  2. 2. Today 1. User Centred Design 2. You are not the user 3. Interviewing people 4. Creating personas 5. Running heuristic evaluations 6. Doing a Navigation Stress Test 7. Making sense of the data 8. Book recommendations
  3. 3. User Centred Design
  4. 4. User Centred Design
  5. 5. User Research: Contextual Enquiry
  6. 6. Iterative Design: Prototyping
  7. 7. Development: Usability Evaluations
  8. 8. You are not the user
  9. 9. hang out with Hang out withwho don’t people people use a computer 8 hours a day
  10. 10. Typical occupations architect cleaner waitress policeman teacher gardener farmer midwife receptionist musician builder marine biologist nurse florist photographer sales assistant nanny plumber sharetrader banana ripener accountant journalist coach politician student machine operator
  11. 11. People do strange things on their computers
  12. 12. You do not have their undivided attention
  13. 13. Interviewing People
  14. 14. Active Listening • Asking open-ended, clarifying questions to gain further information and insight. • Paraphrasing, or repeating back in our own words what the speaker has said, in order to clarify or confirm understanding. • Probing - questioning in a supportive way that requests more information or that attempts to clear up confusions • Providing nonverbal communication, like body language and facial expressions, to show we are paying attention. • Learning when to be quiet. Giving the other to time to think as well as to talk.
  15. 15. Open-Ended vs. Closed Questions Open Questions • Begin with how, what, or why • Are used to clarify information and keep the conversation open by encouraging a person to share as much as they wish Closed Questions • Result in a simple “yes” or “no” or in short, factual answers • Tend to bring the conversation to a stop, requiring more questions to get the full story
  16. 16. Lead-Ins for Paraphrasing • Did I hear you say… • So what you’re saying is… • You’re telling me that… • Am I hearing you correctly that… • Am I hearing you clearly that… • So what I hear you saying is… • I believe that you are saying… • Okay, let me see if I got what you said… • So let me summarize what you just said… • I want to be on the same page as you, so let me go over what you just said…
  17. 17. Creating Personas • Archetypal representation of your target audience • Based on user research (ideally) • Aggregation of your users’ goals, attitudes, and behaviours • Presented as a vivid, narrative description of a single “person” who represents a user segment
  18. 18. Personas
  19. 19. Sample Persona • Jordan is a 22 year old college senior majoring in graphic design. He is pretty laid back and fairly social. He frequently goes clubbing with friends. Jordan also does some of his own DJing for parties. He enjoys music and the ability it has to entertain and to make other people happy. • Jordan takes some pride in his extensive digital music collection. He gets music from his own CDs and from sharing with his friends. He is constantly looking for new music, often by browsing through Newbury Comics and other record stores that carry unusual things.
  20. 20. Goals • Listen to a wide variety of music. • Find out about new or unusual music. • Entertain and/or help his friends. • Easily identify and play music to suit his activities. • Remain aware of all of his music.
  21. 21. Task: Share music with friends • Determine what specific songs, artists, albums, etc. that he likes or has liked • Make this information available to his friends • Find out what particular music his friends like • Determine what of this he likes
  22. 22. Task Analysis
  23. 23. Task Analysis
  24. 24. Task Analysis
  25. 25. Doing Heuristics Evaluations
  26. 26. Jacob Nielsen’s Heuristics 1. Visibility of system status 2. Match between system and the real world 3. User control and freedom 4. Consistency and standards 5. Error prevention 6. Recognition rather than recall 7. Flexibility and efficiency of use 8. Aesthetic and minimalist design 9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors 10. Help and documentation
  27. 27. Visibility of System Status
  28. 28. 1. Visibility of system status
  29. 29. Match between the system and the real world
  30. 30. 2. Match the system and the real world
  31. 31. 2. Match the system and real world
  32. 32. 2. Match the system and the real world
  33. 33. 2. Match the system and the real world
  34. 34. User Control and Freedom
  35. 35. 3. User Control and Freedom
  36. 36. Consistency and Standards
  37. 37. 4. Consistency & Standards
  38. 38. 4. Consistency & Standards
  39. 39. 4. Consistency & Standards
  40. 40. 4. Consistency & Standards
  41. 41. Error Prevention
  42. 42. 5. Error Prevention
  43. 43. Recognition rather than recall
  44. 44. 6. Recognition rather than recall
  45. 45. Flexibility and Efficiency of Use
  46. 46. 7. Flexibility & Efficiency of Use
  47. 47. Aesthetics and Minimalist Design
  48. 48. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design
  49. 49. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design
  50. 50. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design
  51. 51. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design
  52. 52. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design
  53. 53. Help Users Recognise and Recover from Errors
  54. 54. 9. Help Users Recognise Errors
  55. 55. Help and Documentation
  56. 56. 10. Help & Documentation
  57. 57. Other Guidelines • Bruce Tognazzini’s First Principles of Interaction Design • A good introductory summary from a fellow student
  58. 58. Doing a Navigation Stress Test
  59. 59. Navigation Stress Test • "Randomly" pick a low-level page, not a home page, from your site • Print the page out in black and white, without the URL listed in the header/footer • Pretend that you are entering this site for the first time at this page and try to answer to questions below • Mark-up the piece of paper with what you think the answers are
  60. 60. Navigation Stress Test What is this page about? Draw a rectangle around the title of the page or write it on the paper yourself What site is this? Circle the site name, or write it on the paper yourself What are the major sections of this site? Label with X What major section is this page in? Draw a triangle around the X What is "up" 1 level from here? Label with U How do I get to the home page of this Label with H site? How do I get to the top of this section of Label with T the site? What does each group of links O: Off-site pages represent? How might you get to this page from the Write the set of selections as: Choice 1 site home page? > Choice 2 > .... Connect the visual elements on the page that tell you this.
  61. 61. Making sense of the results
  62. 62. Affinity Diagramming
  63. 63. Recommended Books
  64. 64. Donald Norman
  65. 65. Steve Krug
  66. 66. Alan Cooper
  67. 67. Jenifer Tidwell