Usability for all budgets


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This presentation looks at how to perform software usability tests on a budget. By ensuring that the software is easy to use, customer adoption increases. Not all companies are able to afford the time and monetary cost of formal usability tests, but there are ways to see the benefits of usability testing with a very small budget.

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Usability for all budgets

  2. 2. Usability is the ease with which a user interacts with software
  3. 3. Why Does Usability Matter? • By designing something that is intuitive to use, the user doesn’t need to contact support or read the manual Designing for the user • Changes to user interfaces late in the development cycle adds risk to schedule slippage and costs more money in engineering and QA time Preventing costly changes • Most users don’t like using software unless it is on an Apple product. Easy, fun software creates an emotional connection that is stronger than anything you can create with good marketing and a lot of features Making products fun to use
  4. 4. When To Test For Usability Sign off on Market Requirements Specify Functionality Create UI Prototypes Usability Testing Begin Coding Beta Test Release
  5. 5. Usability testing can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months in preparation, execution and review Performing usability tests early in the development cycle will ensure that the UI design is right the first time. Changes late in the product cycle require massive upheaval to the code, introducing bugs and risking inconsistency in the user interface layer “We Don’t Have Time For Usability Tests”
  6. 6. The way companies like Microsoft and Apple do it, yes. • Two-way mirror for observation by engineers, Product Managers and QA staff • Dedicated Test Lab • Mouse/keystroke recording • Video Camera But you can get great results from testing on a budget, too • Sit next to tester • Manually take down observations • Use standard digital camera for recording “Isn’t Usability Testing Expensive?” > £10,000 < £2,000
  7. 7. 1. Choose core functionality to test 2. Create list of simple tasks for user to follow and questionnaire Open a file, edit file, insert image, export, print, save 3. Schedule a week of developer’s time to mock-up interactive prototypes in HTML5 or UI Layer (might require bribery) Does not need to be functional, simply emulate specified functionality 4. Recruit typical users to participate Newsgroups, personal network, former colleagues 5. Set up computer, camera on tripod in corner, one printed version of tasks /questionnaire for each tester Getting Started
  8. 8. 1. Usability tester arrives, sits at computer 2. Sit down with them and explain what you wish them to do 3. The user should go through the tasks on their own, with no instruction 4. They should speak aloud as they progress and where they confused 5. After completing the tasks, have the user fill in a questionnaire about their experience with the software The Actual Tests
  9. 9. Usability testing is only as good as the analysis of the data Reviewing The Results HCI Designer Is the interface easy to use? Developers Do the menu items and buttons need to be moved or renamed? Product Manager Did the users understand the product? Are we on the right track? Quality Assurance How much user interface testing will be required? Support Where will we see a big support burden for ‘How-to’ questions?
  10. 10. Elan Tanzer Tanzer Consulting How Can I Help?