Topic: User Testing

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  • Involving Stakeholders in User Testing

    May 24, 2010

    Besides usability specialists, all design team members should observe usability. It's also good to invite executives. Although biased conclusions are possible, they're far outweighed by the benefits of increased buy-in and empathy.

    Testing Expert Users

    January 25, 2010

    It's more difficult to conduct usability studies with experienced users than with novices, and the improvements are usually smaller. Still, improving expert performance is often worth the effort.

    Anybody Can Do Usability

    December 21, 2009

    Usability is like cooking: everybody needs the results, anybody can do it reasonably well with a bit of training, and yet it takes a master to produce a gourmet outcome.

    Discount Usability: 20 Years

    September 14, 2009

    Simple user testing with 5 participants, paper prototyping, and heuristic evaluation offer a cheap, fast, and early focus on usability, as well as many rounds of iterative design.

    25 Years in Usability

    April 21, 2008

    Since I started in 1983, the usability field has grown by 5,000%. It's a wonderful job - and still a promising career choice for new people.

    Bridging the Designer-User Gap

    March 17, 2008

    Depending on how representative designers are of the target audience, a project might need more or less user testing. Still, usability concerns never go away completely.

    High-Cost Usability Sometimes Makes Sense

    November 5, 2007

    Computing the net present value (NPV) lets you estimate the most profitable level of usability investment. For big projects, expensive usability can pay off.

    Location is Irrelevant for Usability Studies

    April 30, 2007

    You get the same insights regardless of where you conduct user testing, so there's no reason to test in multiple cities. When a city is dominated by your own industry, however, you should definitely test elsewhere.

    User Testing is Not Entertainment

    September 11, 2006

    Don't run your studies for the benefit of the people in the observation room. Test to discover the truth about the design, even when user tasks are boring to watch.

    Outliers and Luck in User Performance

    March 6, 2006

    6% of task attempts are extremely slow and constitute outliers in measured user performance. These sad incidents are caused by bad luck that designers can - and should - eradicate.

    Time Budgets for Usability Sessions

    September 12, 2005

    Up to 40% of precious testing time is wasted while users engage in nonessential activities. Far better to focus on watching users perform tasks with the target interface design.

    Archiving Usability Reports

    June 13, 2005

    Most usability practitioners don't derive full value from their user tests because they don't systematically archive the reports. An intranet-based usability archive offers four substantial benefits.

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