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Usability testing through the decades

A quick romp through our brief history to provide context for where we are today.

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Usability Testing through
the Decades
Where we were, Where we are, Where we’re going
Presented by
Carol Barnum
9/23/15
Michigan Tech
1970s
Designers’ prevailing belief systems
 Users are like designers
 Users don’t know what they need
 Designers don’t need to interact with users
 Reason will prevail—systems based on logical design will make sense to
users
 Design guidelines are sufficient
 Good design means getting it right the first time (goal of design is zero
defects)
 The power of technology will triumph—users will figure it out
First lab built – was it IBM?
1980s
Lab testing was expensive, time consuming,
scientific … and mostly summative
It’s RESEARCH
Required lots of test subjects
Produced statistical validity
Produced formal reports
Cost big $$$$$$$$

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Usability testing through the decades

  • 1. Usability Testing through the Decades Where we were, Where we are, Where we’re going Presented by Carol Barnum 9/23/15 Michigan Tech
  • 3. Designers’ prevailing belief systems  Users are like designers  Users don’t know what they need  Designers don’t need to interact with users  Reason will prevail—systems based on logical design will make sense to users  Design guidelines are sufficient  Good design means getting it right the first time (goal of design is zero defects)  The power of technology will triumph—users will figure it out
  • 4. First lab built – was it IBM?
  • 6. Lab testing was expensive, time consuming, scientific … and mostly summative It’s RESEARCH Required lots of test subjects Produced statistical validity Produced formal reports Cost big $$$$$$$$
  • 7. Gould and Lewis show the way to user-centered design 1985—Designing for Usability: key principles and what designers think 1. Early and continual focus on users and tasks 2. Empirical measurement from user involvement 3. Iterative design THE FOUNDING PRINCIPLES
  • 8. John Brooke develops System Usability Scale 1986 (published and made available to all in 1996)  “Quick and dirty”  10 Likert-scale questions  Results easily calculated to a score 1 – 100 MOST POPULAR EVALUATION QUESTIONNAIRE TO THIS DAY
  • 9. Late 80’s - Change is in the wind
  • 10. 1990s
  • 11. Jakob Nielsen and others break with the pack  1989—Nielsen CHI paper “Usability Engineering at a Discount”  1994—Nielsen “Guerilla HCI—Using Discount Usability Engineering to Penetrate the Intimidation Factor” in Cost-Justifying Usability  Others doing similar research  1990, 1992—Robert Virzi  1994—James Lewis 5 USERS IS ENOUGH
  • 12. Maximum cost benefit ratio—3 - 5 users give you 85% of the findings Nielsen and Landauer
  • 13. The most striking truth of the curve is that zero gives you zero insights. As soon as you collect data from a single test user, your insights shoot up and you have already learned almost a third of all there is to know about the usability of design. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ZERO AND EVEN A LITTLE BIT OF DATA IS ASTOUNDING.
  • 14. Why bother testing at all? (according to Nielsen in Usability Engineering)  Your best guess isn’t good enough  The user is not always right (don’t ask them what they want)  The user is always right (experience beats opinion every time)  Users are not designers  Designers are not users  Vice presidents are not users  Less is more  Details matter  Help doesn’t
  • 15. ISO 9241-11 (1998) This part deals with the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness (task completion), efficiency (task time) and satisfaction in a specified context of use
  • 16. Personas – Alan Cooper 1999 The Inmates are Running the Asylum “Personas are the single most powerful design tool that we use.”
  • 18. CUE studies 1998 – 2011 http://www.dialogdesign.dk/CUE.html  CUE 1—4 teams reviewed calendar software (1998)  CUE 2—9 teams reviewed Hotmail (1999)  CUE 3—11 teams reviewed Avis Rent a Car (2001)  CUE 4—17 teams reviewed Hotel Pen (2003)  CUE 5—13 teams reviewed Ikea wardrobe instructions (2005)  CUE 6—13 teams reviewed Enterprise car rental (2006)  CUE 7—9 teams produced recommendations from prior studies (2007)  CUE 8—15 teams reviewed Budget.com car rental (2008)  CUE 9—35 teams (Europe and US) reviewed Uhaul.com (2011)
  • 19. UPA member surveys 2005 – 2011 (2014 in progress)
  • 20. 2011 survey results - techniques
  • 21. 58% do formal lab testing
  • 22. 68% do informal testing
  • 23. 50% do remote, moderated usability testing
  • 25. Reasons for NOT testing Time Cost Ignorance Can’t get users Agile!!!!
  • 26. What can you do in a day?
  • 27. Welcome – 5 min Task-based scenarios– 40 min Assessment – 10 min Thanks! – 2 min Basics of 1-hour testing session
  • 28.  Usability Testing of Fruit Let’s watch a session
  • 30.  Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation  Developed by Microsoft’s Game Studios  Requires full team commitment  Observe  Analyze findings immediately  Change immediately  Retest  Repeat cycle RITE
  • 31.  http://fivesecondtest.com/  5-second usability tests—how much time is enough? Jeff Sauro 2010  Compared 5 seconds, 60 seconds, no time limit  Measured results with SUS: user response is the same for 5 secs & no limit  The UX Five-Second Rules—Paul Doncaster 2014 5-second test
  • 32. First click Bob Bailey reported on research on CDC and other govt. websites  Users who got the first click right were 87% successful  Users who got the first click wrong were only 47% successful  Fast way to get lots of feedback!  In one study each participant completed 136 scenarios in 1 hour
  • 33.  http://www.usertesting.com US and other countries—small  http://www.whatusersdo.com/ UK/Europe— small  http://www.userzoom.com/ US, UK, and other countries—big  http://www.loop11.com/ US and other countries—big and small, subscription only  http://www.trymyui.com/ mostly US—small 23% do web-based unmoderated testing
  • 34. Optimal Workshop  Treejack—information architecture  OptimalSort—card sorting  Chalkmark—first-click testing Here are some other unmoderated tools
  • 37. What’s ahead?? I don’t know, but I’m curious! Are you??