usability in practice - tips from the field

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This is a talk I gave to students of the Manukau Institute of Technology, focusing on key usability heuristics, and giving them tips on how to run their own user research or usability testing.


  • 1. Usability in PracticeUsability in Practice Tips from theField Justine Sanderson | 2 May 2007 2007 Justine Sanderson

2. Today1. User Centred Design 2. You are not the user 3. Interviewing people 4. Creating personas 5. Running heuristic evaluations 6. Doing a Navigation Stress Test 7. Making sense of the data 8. Book recommendations 3. User Centred Design 4. User Centred Design 5. User Research: Contextual Enquiry 6. Iterative Design: Prototyping 7. Development: Usability Evaluations 8. You are not the user 9. hang out with Hang out withwho dont people peopleuse a computer 8hours a day 10. Typical occupations architectcleaner waitress policeman teacher gardener farmer midwife receptionistmusician buildermarinebiologist nurse florist photographer sales assistant nanny plumber sharetraderbanana ripener accountant journalist coach politician student machine operator 11. People do strange things on their computers 12. You do not have their undivided attention 13. Interviewing People 14. Active Listening Asking open-ended, clarifying questions to gain further information and insight. Paraphrasing, or repeating back in our own words what the speaker has said, in order to clarify or confirm understanding. Probing - questioning in a supportive way that requests more information or that attempts to clear up confusions Providing nonverbal communication, like body language and facial expressions, to show we are paying attention. Learning when to be quiet. Giving the other to time to think as well as to talk. 15. Open-Ended vs. Closed Questions Open Questions Begin with how, what, or why Are used to clarify information and keep the conversation open by encouraging a person to share as much as they wish Closed Questions Result in a simple yes or no or in short, factual answers Tend to bring the conversation to a stop, requiring more questions to get the full story 16. Lead-Ins for Paraphrasing Did I hear you say So what youre saying is Youre telling me that Am I hearing you correctly that Am I hearing you clearly that So what I hear you saying is I believe that you are saying Okay, let me see if I got what you said So let me summarize what you just said I want to be on the same page as you, so let me go over what you just said 17. Creating Personas Archetypal representationof your target audience Based on user research(ideally) Aggregation of your usersgoals, attitudes, andbehaviours Presented as a vivid,narrative descriptionof a single person whorepresents a user segment 18. Personas 19. Sample Persona Jordan is a 22 year old college senior majoring in graphic design. He is pretty laid back and fairly social. He frequently goes clubbing with friends. Jordan also does some of his own DJing for parties. He enjoys music and the ability it has to entertain and to make other people happy. Jordan takes some pride in his extensive digital music collection. He gets music from his own CDs and from sharing with his friends. He is constantly looking for new music, often by browsing through Newbury Comics and other record stores that carry unusual things. 20. Goals Listen to a wide variety of music. Find out about new or unusual music. Entertain and/or help his friends. Easily identify and play music to suit his activities. Remain aware of all of his music. 21. Task: Share music with friends Determine what specific songs, artists, albums, etc. that he likes or has liked Make this information available to his friends Find out what particular music his friends like Determine what of this he likes 22. Task Analysis 23. Task Analysis 24. Task Analysis 25. Doing Heuristics Evaluations 26. Jacob Nielsens Heuristics 1.Visibility of system status 2.Match between system and the real world 3.User control and freedom 4.Consistency and standards 5.Error prevention 6.Recognition rather than recall 7.Flexibility and efficiency of use 8.Aesthetic and minimalist design 9.Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors 10. Help and documentation 27. Visibility of System Status 28. 1. Visibility of system status 29. Match between the system andthe real world 30. 2. Match the system and the real world 31. 2. Match the system and real world 32. 2. Match the system and the real world 33. 2. Match the system and the real world 34. User Control and Freedom 35. 3. User Control and Freedom 36. Consistency and Standards 37. 4. Consistency & Standards 38. 4. Consistency & Standards 39. 4. Consistency & Standards 40. 4. Consistency & Standards 41. Error Prevention 42. 5. Error Prevention 43. Recognition rather than recall 44. 6. Recognition rather than recall 45. Flexibility and Efficiency of Use 46. 7. Flexibility & Efficiency of Use 47. Aesthetics and Minimalist Design 48. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design 49. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design 50. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design 51. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design 52. 8. Aesthetics & Minimalist Design 53. Help Users Recognise and Recover from Errors 54. 9. Help Users Recognise Errors 55. Help and Documentation 56. 10. Help & Documentation 57. Other Guidelines Bruce Tognazzinis First Principles of Interaction Design A good introductory summary from a fellow student 58. Doing a Navigation Stress Test 59. Navigation Stress Test "Randomly" pick a low-level page, not a home page, from your site Print the page out in black and white, without the URL listed in the header/footer Pretend that you are entering this site for the first time at this page and try to answer to questions below Mark-up the piece of paper with what you think the answers are 60. Navigation Stress Test What is this page about?Draw a rectangle around the title of the page or write it on the paper yourself What site is this?Circle the site name, or write it on the paper yourself What are the major sections of this site? Label with X What major section is this page in? Draw a triangle around the X What is "up" 1 level from here? Label with U How do I get to the home page of this Label with H site? How do I get to the top of this section of Label with T the site? What does each group of links O: Off-site pages represent? How might you get to this page from the Write the set of selections as: Choice 1 site home page? > Choice 2 > .... Connect the visual elements on the page that tell you this. 61. Making sense of the results 62. Affinity Diagramming 63. Recommended Books 64. Donald Norman 65. Steve Krug 66. Alan Cooper 67. Jenifer Tidwell