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Collaborative techniques for developing usability requirements


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Usability requirements are non-functional requirements that translate user research into meaningful guidance for design and into measures of success for testing. Learn about how to guide collaborative requirements definition and integrate user research and business analysis in defining usability requirements. Presented at UPA 2011.

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Collaborative techniques for developing usability requirements

  1. 1. Collaborative techniques for developing usability requirements : E ngaging users and stakeholders in understanding usability goals Karen Bachmann Lead UX Consultant, Perficient @KarenBachmann #UXreqs #UPA2011
  2. 2. Session goals <ul><li>Learn what usability requirements are and how they fit within the development life cycle, regardless of the development methodology used. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn how to guide collaborative requirement definition with users and business stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn how to select collaboration approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn how to translate all input into meaningful, measurable, traceable usability requirements. </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  3. 3. Requirements in general <ul><li>Provide a unifying context for a project that defines expectations for the end product </li></ul><ul><li>Are focused, measurable, and testable </li></ul><ul><li>Provide knowledge communicated to the entire project team throughout the project life cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Often address only functional specifications: Does the product work? </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  4. 4. Typical usability requirement in the wild <ul><li>The system shall be easy for users to understand and use. </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  5. 5. Usability requirements, specifically <ul><li>What they are : The expected and desired user reaction to a system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Define how well a product should work for the intended users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Define target user satisfaction goals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What they aren’t : Functional requirements, use cases (strictly speaking), marketing’s product “mission” statements, nebulous user wish lists </li></ul><ul><li>Address non-functional requirements and user satisfaction: Does the product work well for the intended users ? </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  6. 6. User goals vs. Usability requirements @KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011 Detailed design requirements High-level business requirements
  7. 7. Expanding the usual practices <ul><li>User Research </li></ul>Usability Requirements Functional Requirements Complete System Requirements User Goals & Tasks Functions & Workflow Business Drivers & Goals Business Analysis @KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  8. 8. Why develop usability requirements? <ul><li>Translate user research into non-functional requirements meaningful to development and QA teams </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a common, familiar language to focus on user needs </li></ul><ul><li>Include usability into a product foundation rather than add it as an afterthought or fix </li></ul><ul><li>Test design and development assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Support usability testing </li></ul><ul><li>Serve as a rallying cry for user satisfaction </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  9. 9. A concept revisited: FURPS+ <ul><li>Functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Usability </li></ul><ul><li>Reliability </li></ul><ul><li>Performance </li></ul><ul><li>Security </li></ul><ul><li>Supportability </li></ul><ul><li>+… </li></ul>Grady and Caswell, 1987 @KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  10. 10. F vs. U vs. RPS+ <ul><li>Functional </li></ul><ul><li>Core problem is often well-defined (What) </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholders often include subject matter and domain experts </li></ul><ul><li>Generally have agreement about the core problem to be solved </li></ul><ul><li>Usability </li></ul><ul><li>User success metrics are more varied and less understood (How well) </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholders often know less about users than they think they do (Who and Why) </li></ul><ul><li>Priorities are not agreed upon: Stakeholders need a common understanding of users </li></ul><ul><li>RPS+ </li></ul><ul><li>Success metrics are usually clear and the costs of failure obvious and measurable </li></ul><ul><li>Experts are technical specialists </li></ul><ul><li>Need is often driven by regulation or by SLA, eliminating much discussion </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  11. 11. Benefits of collaboration <ul><li>Engages and guides users and stakeholders in identifying non-functional usability requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Builds a shared understanding of who users are and how users define success </li></ul><ul><li>Guides prioritization of user goals requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Creates a partnership with requirements analysts to ensure that complete system requirements include the user perspective </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  12. 12. Example collaboration tools <ul><li>Requirements workshops, incorporating techniques such as affinity diagramming, storyboarding, gamestorming, prioritization exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Focus groups with users </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptual design workshops (with emphasis on conceptual) </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  13. 13. Selecting a collaboration approach <ul><li>Understand, when in the analysis phase, the effort is taking place. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the nature of the product being developed. </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate existing research and communicate ongoing research efforts. </li></ul><ul><li>Confer with BAs whose primary responsibilities are requirements specification </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  14. 14. Collaborative workshops <ul><li>Plan to balance the needs of the users and the business and the ultimate goals for the end product, including budget and time constraints. </li></ul><ul><li>Set clear goals for the workshop and each activity. Define success concretely. </li></ul><ul><li>Set reasonable time frames and other limits for the workshop. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish and communicate clear ground rules for participants, even as early as within the invitation to participate. </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  15. 15. Collaborative workshops (cont’d) <ul><li>Prepare research findings in an easily digestible way, generally distributing information before hand. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the participants do any required homework and are ready to work when the workshop starts. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the collaboration techniques used fit the organization culture and support the goals of the project. </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  16. 16. Collaborative workshops (cont’d) <ul><li>Ensure that each participant is able to participate freely without pressure from other participants (such as supervisors) or external stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate productive conflict, but be prepared to intervene if the tone becomes argumentative or defensive. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a parking lot and use it consistently as needed. </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  17. 17. Collaboration focus changes over time <ul><li>Early phase – Discovery and definition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct activities to support open discovery of requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review and analysis of raw user research findings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review and alignment of business drivers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritization of usability criteria and user types </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Later phases – Distillation and prioritization: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyzing benchmark test data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defining specific metrics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritization usability requirements </li></ul></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  18. 18. Writing usability requirements <ul><li>Convert qualitative wants and needs to quantifiable goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Absolute: A concrete measure of success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relative: Compared to another criteria such as a previous release </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Write them in terms of user tasks and goals </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritize needs of different user groups </li></ul><ul><li>Be realistic – success is rarely 100% of users </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  19. 19. Writing usability requirements (cont’d) <ul><li>Define any pre-conditions that must exist for the product to successfully fulfill the requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritize the usability requirements against priorities for the usability criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Test the requirements and report findings back to the group </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  20. 20. Format and “customers” <ul><li>Usability requirements can be captured in any type of requirements format: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptual prototyping with notations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Construct the requirements to support “customers” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usability testers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acceptance test coordinators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>System testers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing and sales </li></ul></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  21. 21. Wrapping Up <ul><li>Know what usability requirements are. </li></ul><ul><li>Know ways to guide collaborative requirement definition with users and business stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>Know how to select collaboration approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Know how to translate all input into meaningful, measurable, traceable usability requirements. </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  22. 22. References <ul><li>C. Courage, K. Baxter. Understanding Users: A Practical Guide to User Requirements - Methods, Tools, and Techniques . </li></ul><ul><li>E. Gottesdiener. Requirements by Collaboration: Workshops for Defining Needs . </li></ul><ul><li>R.B. Grady. Practical Software Metrics for Project Management and Process Improvement. </li></ul><ul><li>H. Istance. lecture8_2.ppt </li></ul><ul><li>J. Jubner. </li></ul><ul><li>NIST. Common Industry Specification for Usability - Requirements . </li></ul><ul><li>Nokia. “Design and User Experience Library v2.0.” </li></ul><ul><li>E. Smith, A. Siochi. </li></ul><ul><li>W. Quesenbery. “5Es of Usability.” </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia. “FURPS.” </li></ul><ul><li>Xerox Corporation. “How to Develop Usability Goals.” Usability SIG website: </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  23. 23. Image credits <ul><li>Clock front: </li></ul><ul><li>Clock back: </li></ul><ul><li>City model: </li></ul><ul><li>House and plans (licensed): </li></ul><ul><li>Tree swing comic: </li></ul><ul><li>Note card: </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  24. 24. Appendix: Quick overview of writing usability requirements While the focus of this main presentation was developing the collaboration, here are a few quick slides showing tips on writing usability requirements and some simple examples.
  25. 25. General usability criteria to consider <ul><li>Learnability : How quickly do users come up to speed on the product? </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency : How easy is the product to use and be productive? </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability : Do users remember how to use the product between uses? </li></ul><ul><li>Error tolerance : Do users make few errors? Are errors recoverable? </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance : Does the product meet users real needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude/satisfaction : Do users enjoy using the product? </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility : Does the product support the usage needs of all potential users including those with special physical requirements? </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  26. 26. Meaningful, measurable numbers <ul><li>Benchmark usability tests of existing versions and competitive products </li></ul><ul><li>UCD best practices </li></ul><ul><li>Industry standards </li></ul><ul><li>Customer feedback and support calls </li></ul><ul><li>Sales goals </li></ul><ul><li>Business performance goals </li></ul><ul><li>Your best professional guess </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  27. 27. Constructing usability requirements <ul><li>Determine what usability criteria to measure and the priority for each. </li></ul><ul><li>Determine how the criteria be measured. Create tangible measurements of intangible user satisfaction statements. </li></ul><ul><li>Set a realistic percentage of users that must achieve the goals. (100% of users will almost never accomplish 100% of all usability goals.) </li></ul><ul><li>Define the conditions that must exist for the product to successfully fulfill the requirements. </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  28. 28. Components of a usability requirement <ul><li>What task should the user accomplish : Clearly define the specific, finite task that a user should perform and the goal to be achieved </li></ul><ul><li>Who will accomplish the task : Define which user type (novice? expert?) the requirement addresses </li></ul><ul><li>What conditions will the task be performed under : Amount of training, work environment, computer experience, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>How well should the task be performed : A concrete measure of success as a percentage of the right users under the right conditions </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  29. 29. Examples in traditional format <ul><li>Relevant (solutions) and Efficient (fast) </li></ul><ul><li>The first CSR who interacts with a customer can complete identifying information within 3 actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient (fast) </li></ul><ul><li>90% of CSRs will find data on the main screen within 10 seconds. </li></ul><ul><li>75% of CSRs will find detailed data on secondary screen with <2 actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfying (no yelling) and Efficient (fast) </li></ul><ul><li>The caller will be asked for identification only by the first CSR spoken to. </li></ul><ul><li>The system will pass relevant caller data for the caller to each CSR the caller speaks to. </li></ul>Functional requirement: The CSR can locate caller information . Usability requirements against main usability criteria @KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  30. 30. Example in Agile user story The CSR can review the complete call history for a caller. Note: Amanda says include the names of CSRs and duration of each interaction. Note: Ty suggested access in one action. @KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011
  31. 31. About the Presenter <ul><li>Karen Bachmann, an user experience consultant with Perficient, Inc., designs usable user interfaces, bringing usability into the earliest stage of development to keep the project focused on the user. She also helps companies new to usability implement usability practices. Karen blogs at blogs . perficient .com/spark/ and can be reached at karen . [email_address] .com or @karenbachmann </li></ul>@KarenBachmann #UXReqs #UPA2011