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Designing Usability Tests to Solve Common Problems


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Slides for workshop session on "Designing Usability Tests to Solve Common Problems" facilitated by Melanie Read, University of London and Marie Kitney, Numiko and held on 11 July 2018 at the IWMW 2018 event.


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Designing Usability Tests to Solve Common Problems

  1. 1. Designing Usability Tests to Solve Common Problems Melanie Read, Head of Digital, University of London Marie Kitney, Head of Client Services, Numiko IWMW 2018 11 July 2018
  2. 2. Outline of the session In this session we will: • Share experiences about our redevelopment project • Share some usability best practice we’ve learnt along the way • Work together to think about common usability problems we all encounter • Start to develop ideas around usability testing
  3. 3. Welcomes and world’s worst… • Talk through in your pairs/groups about the worlds worse website experience • Identify why it was so bad? • What they could have done to make it better?
  4. 4. The brief More training/guidance on how to use the search on SharePoint would also be helpful for users. • Raise the profile of the University of London both in the UK and overseas • Attract students and build a lifelong relationship with the University • Promote the research outputs and to attract and retain excellent talent to the SAS research institutes • Focus on recruitment to address the ever increasingly competitive distance learning market • Reduce the 100+ websites the University currently has, which are a result of departments having their own sites, starting the journey of moving to one website.
  5. 5. “Deliver a world class user experience to 180 countries”
  6. 6. What we did • Analysis of existing web properties • Stakeholder engagement up to VC level • User research • Digital brand • IA development for a unified site • Content migration planning • Content governance and workflow • Drupal 8 development • ATLAS integration • Modular pattern library • Faceted Course Search using Solr
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  10. 10. The results • Courses are the second most visited page after the homepage • Up 75% visits compared to the previous year • Of the top 50 pages, visited 45 pages are about courses or courses related material
  11. 11. The results • A Drupal 8 based web publishing platform to bring in 100’s of microsites within • Federated content ownership with consistent technical governance.
  12. 12. …but it wasn’t all plain sailing! • The project presented a number of usability challenges • Combining content from 2 websites • Combining 3 modes of study into a single course search • Various edge cases e.g. study with distance learning but with LTI support • User journey of selecting course modules • Showcasing global reach with local support
  13. 13. Example persona(s) • User 1: I live in the UK and want to study at a University in London • User 2: I live in Singapore and I want to study with some local support • User 3: I live in the UK and I want to study independently • User 4: I live in China and I want to study independently • User 5: I live in Egypt and I want to study at a University in London • User 6: I don't yet know how or where I want to study • User 7: I live in China and want to move to Paris to study on campus • …and many more!
  14. 14. Task
  15. 15. Discuss usability problems that your institutions face • Share with group – are there commonalities? • Are there outliers? • Does anyone have any insights to share in how they’ve overcome similar?
  16. 16. Principles of good usability
  17. 17. What is usability? “Usability is the extent to which an interactive system can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.” • Effectiveness = goal completion • Efficiency = effort/ cognitive load/ time • Satisfaction = “free from discomfort
  18. 18. Example closures-during-the-tour-de-yorkshire-1-9143881 Difference between usability and user experience • Before use • During use (usability) • After use
  19. 19. Prototypes & Usability Tests Prototypes serve as basis for: • Internal design reviews • Primitive usability testing Usability tests can be: • Face-to-face: ideal for touch devices. Recruit and incentivise through social media • Remote: moderated sessions via Hotjar or good old phone + conferencing software. Context of use (natural habitat) is best • Unattended: avoid those who work in marketing as well as your peers/ colleagues
  20. 20. Some Useful Tools Prototypes Paper, PowerPoint, Axure, InDesign Usability Testing Treejack Hotjar Silverback Google Optimize Visual Web Optimizer (VWO) for A/B testing Conferencing/ screen-sharing tools such as Skype and
  21. 21. Things to consider • The master-apprentice model • Open vs closed questions • Avoid leading questions, aim to be neutral • Don’t be too rigid – follow the user • Make sure user requirements are well articulated first, as these are the yardstick by which to measure usability later
  22. 22. Jakob’s Law “Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.” - Jakob Nielson.
  23. 23. Design Patterns • We used these to solve common recurring problems and to reduce cognitive load
  24. 24. Task
  25. 25. Design a usability test • Select a few of the more common problems we discussed earlier • Draft some tests to assess usability • Assume it’s a face-to-face usability interview • Remember, usability = effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction • Open/ closed questions, leading/ neutral questions
  26. 26. Further reading
  27. 27. Heuristics Heuristics are generally recognised rules of thumb that help achieve usability. Some examples: • Visibility of system status – keep users informed through feedback • Match between system and the real world – speak users’ language • User control and freedom – e.g. undo/ redo • Consistency and standards – follow platform conventions • Error prevention – e.g. passwords must contain at least 8 characters Conduct an heuristic evaluation yourself if you can’t get in front of users. usability-heuristics/
  28. 28. Seven dialogue principles These are highly generalised goals for good usability: • Suitability for the task • Self-descriptiveness • Conformity with user expectations • Suitability for learning • Controllability • Error tolerance • Suitability for individualisation
  29. 29. System Usability Scale (to measure satisfaction) • I think that I would like to use this system frequently • I found the system unnecessarily complex • I thought the system was easy to use • I think that I would need the support of a technical person to be able to use this system • I found the various functions in this system were well integrated • I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system • I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly • I found the system very cumbersome to use • I felt very confident using the system • I needed to learn a lot of things before I could get going with this system Strongly agree – Strongly disagree.