Surrogate User Testing: Validating Someone Else’s Design

Jan 7
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Being a user experience design and research shop means that sometimes we do one without the other. Sometimes we’re just designing; sometimes we’re just researching. Why, you may wonder, do we do this? Well, it’s usually a case of time, budget, resources, or any combination of those. Sometimes a client has already done the research or doesn’t have the budget for the research, so we take what they’ve got and roll out a design, with the caveat that the design is not a genuine user-centered masterpiece without the input of the...

UXclamations: Volume 1

Mar 14
0

Armed with only their charm and six years of combined experience, Valle Hansen and Christine Holcombe undertook the unthinkable in the summer of 2013: 8 back-to-back usability tests in 14 weeks. Ninety users, 2 catfights, and 23 gallons of Diet Dr Pepper later, they’re ready to share what worked, what didn’t, and what's next.     Join Christine & Valle on the second Tuesday of every month for a new UXclamations podcast full of UX antics and analysis. Follow us on Twitter at @holcombe5000 and @valletown....

Off the Beaten Path: The Compassionate Moderator

Jun 24
0

We've heard - and experienced - a lot of discussion about the technology hurdles of remote testing: picking the best testing tool, getting participants to download screensharing tools, dealing with proprietary software that participants don't have access to...Tech issues run the gamut. But we hear considerably less about the interpersonal challenges of running a remote usability session. It’s not just about finding the right tool or getting your participant to download Webex; it’s about maintaining your participant’s motivation and engagement by showing (gasp!) empathy and compassion during a remote session....

The Doctor Is In: Best Practices for User Testing Medical Professionals

Jan 7
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Even on its best day, user testing can present a whole host of obstacles and hurdles. Moderators and observers have to be prepared for anything—from a faulty Internet connection to a participant who doesn’t know how to scroll. And that’s just when we have as much control as possible over the test—the participants, the lab setting, the protocol structure, and all the other components that go into a successful user test. Now imagine testing harried doctors and nurses in a frantic, fast-paced hospital. The hurdles skyrocket. Here are some tips we’ve gathered from...

Incentives: Ensuring the Kindness of Strangers

Jan 7
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A lot of things can go wrong during a usability test. You might forget to bring that Ethernet cable, lose your Internet connection, or even leave behind the testing protocol and be forced to fly blind. Potential problems abound. Preparation is vital. But…none of that matters if your participant just doesn’t show up at all.   No-Show Time One of the most frustrating—not to mention time-consuming and financially burdensome—components of usability testing is the no-show. People forget; people have other priorities; people have emergencies. It’s to be expected, even accepted. Most usability professionals make...

The Remote Possibilities Are Endless: Part Two

Jan 7
1

Summary: After research into moderated and automated remote testing, Design For Use is ready to move forward with remote synchronous evaluations. We'd love to hear about your experiences and best practices with respect to moderated remote testing. Methods Now that we've looked at remote testing versus lab testing, we can delve deeper into remote testing for a more comprehensive analysis. There are two methods of remote usability testing—synchronous (moderated) and asynchronous (automated)—each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The major difference between the two methods lies in whether there is temporal division...

The Remote Possibilities Are Endless: Part One

Mar 14
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Summary: In preparation for upcoming remote usability tests, Design For Use has researched and evaluated the perks and drawbacks of remote testing versus traditional lab testing. Intro Remote usability testing is gaining popularity and prevalence as more companies and Web developers recognize the benefits of user research and look for more cost-effective ways of reaching out to users. Although test moderators are separated geographically and sometimes temporally from the users, the potential advantages of remote usability testing may outweigh those of lab-based testing. Specifically, the decreased cost and ability to recruit a...

The Gospel According to Krug

Jan 7
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Old Habits Die Hard One of the most insightful panels at South by South West was a presentation by design guru Steve Krug. Specifically, Krug touched on the importance of performing usability tests quickly and often during the design process. Some of his ideas seemed contrary to standard usability testing practices: recruiting loosely around the core user group, testing only 3-4 users at a time, conducting tests weekly, bypassing a comprehensive usability report for fewer more directed findings, and conducting tests in-house, rather than reserving a space at a neutral...

Mapping Mental Models with Treejack

Jun 24
0

Labels are so integral to information architecture (IA) that its sometimes hard to tell if a usability issue is due to a poor naming convention or a problematic site structure. Therefore, testing users’ mental models to differentiate between the two has been very challenging, considering many tools test for either labeling or IA, but rarely for both. With a little creativity, Design For Use team used Treejack, an IA tool developed by OptimalWorkshop, that solves this challenge brilliantly. (more…)...