We explain it again and again, over and over. Until (…)
“Usability testing is a core component of User Centered Design and can be used at any stage in the process. It provides valuable insight into the mind of the user, giving us a better understanding of users’ mental models, and it helps to highlight issues that might negatively impact the experience, while also pointing to solutions. If you are new to Usability Testing and want to learn more or just interested in how someone else approaches it, this article gives an overview of how to set-up and run a usability test, and provides a checklist of things to do to complete a usability testing project.”
Gerry Duffy ~ Boxes and Arrows ★
The evolution of HCI has followed many roads.
“UX divergence into interaction and service design shows that creative design must be a good thing. However, it must also be a real thing, not a sanitized “safe for work” substitute from Design Thinking or Agile development. Creative design is mostly not scientific. Attempts to impose rational systematic processes and rigorous scientific practices have constantly failed and will fail more and more as more and more creative designers are recruited for their critical expertise for 21st century technological innovation. Creative designers are now at the heart of the technology industry. They won’t go away and they can’t be side- lined or marginalized. They need to be understood on their own terms and valued for the millennia of achievements that cram every museum and gallery.”
Gilbert Cockton ~ Journal of Usability Studies 15.2 ★
Modelling human behavior with ‘point’and-click’.
“Listboxes and dropdowns are compact UI controls that allow users to select options. Listboxes expose options right away and support multi-selection while dropdowns require a click to see options and support only single-selection.”
Anna Kaley a.k.a. /annalahey ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Where’s the human voice these days? In the machine?
“It’s an important time to be in voice design. Many of us are turning to voice assistants in these times, whether for comfort, recreation, or staying informed. As the interest in interfaces driven by voice continues to reach new heights around the world, so too will users’ expectations and the best practices that guide their design.”
Preston So a.k.a. @prestonso ~ A List Apart ★
Up to the next two decades of the field of ‘previously-known-as-UX’.
“The book started serendipitously in the mid-’90s era of dial-up when acclaimed magazine designer and typography sage Roger Black, who is credited with the design or redesign of Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine and Esquire, along with websites like Barnes & Noble’s, approached Krug about a possible book deal with Macmillan Publishers. At the time, the two had been consulting for @Home Network, one of the country’s first high-speed cable internet service providers. They were close colleagues who admired each other’s work — Black the graphic design sage and Krug the usability pro.”
Jeff Link ~ built in ★
Language as the gateway to the mind.
“Think-aloud protocols are one of the classic methods often taught in universities for training UX designers and researchers. Although previous research reported how these protocols were used in industry, the findings were typically based on the practices of a small number of professionals in specific geographic regions or on studies conducted years ago. As UX practices continuously evolve to address new challenges emerging in industry, it is important to understand the challenges faced by current UX practitioners around the world when using think-aloud protocols. Such an understanding is beneficial for UX professionals to reflect on and learn from the UX community’s practices. It is also invaluable for academic researchers and educators to understand the challenges faced by professionals when carrying out the protocols in a wide range of practical contexts and to better explore methods to address these challenges. We conducted an international survey study with UX professionals in various sized companies around the world. We found that think-aloud protocols are widely and almost equally used in controlled lab studies and remote usability testing; concurrent protocols are more popular than retrospective protocols. Most UX practitioners probe participants during test sessions, explicitly request them to verbalize particular types of content, and do not administer practice sessions. The findings also offer insights on practices and challenges in analyzing think-aloud sessions. In sum, UX practitioners often deal with the tension between validity and efficiency in their analysis and demand better fast-paced and reliable analysis methods than merely reviewing observation notes or session recordings.”
Mingming Fan, Serina Shi, and Khai N. Truong ~ UXPA Journal 15.2 ★
Paper against pixels, hence scrolling.
“This paper details a usability evaluation of scrolling techniques on Web sites. The scrolling methods evaluated were normal scrolling (with default pagination), infinite scrolling, infinite scrolling with a load more button and infinite scrolling with pagination. The four scrolling types were evaluated in the context of tasks that involved either serendipitous type tasks or goal-oriented type tasks. The evaluation was principally about the raw’ performance and participant perceptions. This is because it was felt that the greatest gap in knowledge concerned these aspects. The evaluation was done by means of an experiment and the data collected was statistically analysed. The results were mixed in nature, where no single scrolling method stood out as being the most usable.”
Sushil Sharma and Dr. Pietro Murano ~ First Monday 25.3
Scaling-up is not always easy.
“We already had a comprehensive UX process that included user research, product definition, and iterative usability testing. We had always felt that by following our UX process we would have discovered and fixed all important usability issues so a product should be ready to ship at the end of our process. We reported UX progress metrics that were based on the number of usability studies completed and their outcomes. Apparently, this wasn’t a very effective way to communicate. So what metric(s) would be better to describe the level of product readiness from a usability perspective? Initially, we thought about this “challenge” as a way to communicate a product’s usability growth. Eventually, we started using the term ‘usability maturity’.”
Angela Huenerfauth a.k.a. /angelahuenerfauth and David Teller a.k.a. /david-teller ~ UXPA Magazine ★
Page turning versus scrolling. Except for snippets.
“While modern webpages tend to be long and include negative space, and users may be more inclined to scroll than in the past, people still spend most of their viewing time in the top part of a page. Content prioritization is a key step in your content-planning process. Strong visual signifiers can sometimes entice users to scroll and discover content below the fold. To determine the ideal page length, test with real users, and keep in mind that very long pages increase the risk of losing the attention of your customers.”
Therese Fessenden a.k.a. /tbfessenden | @TBFessenden ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Tada! design or not.
“Radical redesigns are best tested using an A/B experiment, while multivariate tests indicate how various UI elements interact with each other and support incremental improvements to a design.”
Aurora Harley a.k.a. @aurorararara ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
You need both types of testing to get (some) insights.
“Both these complementary types of user research play important roles in an iterative design cycle. Qualitative research informs the design process; quantitative research provides a basis for benchmarking programs and ROI calculations.”
Raluca Budiu a.k.a. /ralucabudiu | @rbudiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Good old usability testing for brand new technologies.
“The philosophy behind usability testing for speech-enabled systems is shared with general usability practices, but many usability practitioners have little or no experience testing speech interfaces, and the specific techniques required for collecting valid and reliable data are not widely understood. Spoken language and conversation have a number of properties that should influence the methods used to test speech user interfaces.”
Susan L. Hura a.k.a. /susan-hura | @SpeechUsability ~ Journal of Usability Studies 12.4 ★
Some real research provides sound results.
“In this paper, we report on a use case study involving 70 participants. They first took part in user/laboratory tests and then were asked to evaluate their experience with the two systems (perceived UX) by filling out an AttrakDiff scale and a UX needs fulfillment questionnaire. We conducted post-test interviews to better understand participants’ experiences. We analyzed how the participants’ perceived UX depends on quantitative (e.g., task completion time, task sequence, level of familiarity with the system) and qualitative aspects (think aloud, debriefing interviews) within the laboratory context.”
Carine Lallemand a.k.a. /carinelallemand | @Carilall and Vincent Koenig a.k.a. /vincent-koenig ~ Journal of Usability Studies 12.3 ★
How team work is determined by its context.
“Sometimes people create conflicts during a project that only serve to get in the way of making meaningful things together. Or in other words, unnecessary and petty battles make work not fun and not productive. But why would people create such conflict? Perhaps a project was plagued by one, all, or some of the following factors: requirements were not collected or understood clearly, the core of the offering was not defined properly, there was too much distance between the customer and the project goals, too much money had been spent already for the project to fail, or it could be as simple as people just not knowing how to get along. All of these factors can make an environment of fear and uncertainty that prevents people from working together to create wonderful products and services. What elements of a project should we all be thinking about to help bring people together to make meaningful things together?”
Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong ~ Journal for usability studies ★
Just lure them into new content territories.
“Users can think they see the entire web page, although additional content exists off-screen. Designers must help users discover all relevant information.”
Kim Flaherty a.k.a. /kimflahertyux ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Have we left N=5?
“UX researchers and other project stakeholders often fervently debate the number of participants that are necessary for usability studies. At the core of this debate is often the tension between the usability professional’s desire for the best possible study and the business team’s desire to reduce time and expense.”
Janet M. Six a.k.a. /janetmsix | @JanetMSix and Ritch Macefield a.k.a. /dr-ritch-macefield | @Ax_Stream ~ UXmatters ★
Your self image is never the same as the worlds perception of you. Even if it’s your professional image.
“This research investigates the ways usability/user experience professionals describe themselves for different audiences and across multiple digital platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, portfolio websites, and business websites. By analyzing the digital identities of over 40 usability/user experience professionals, this article presents quantitative and qualitative pictures of how usability and user experience is being described in digital spaces. This article highlights broad patterns and specific tactics being implemented by four types of usability/user experience professionals and gives recommendations for how these tactics can be modified and applied for other usability/user experience professionals attempting to create professional identities in digital spaces.”
(Rebecca Zantjer and Laura Gonzales ~ Journal of Usability Studies August 2015) ★
There comes a time that web design will be part of art history. As a design movement in the early 21st century.
“Many of today’s most popular design trends are influenced by minimalism. This web design movement began in the early 2000s, but borrows its philosophy from earlier movements in the fields of fine art and human–computer interaction.”
(Kate Meyer ~ Nielsen Norman Group) ★
Look-and-feel designers: “Look at how great our usability lab is. All our products and services have great usability.”
“In this editorial, I focus on the inherent conflict of interest that design agencies have when they are responsible for evaluating their own design work, what can be done to mitigate this problem, and the implications for the UX community. I define a design agency as a consulting firm that is hired to design (from a visual and interactive perspective) digital products.”
(Bill Albert ~ Journal of Usability Studies) ★
It’s still task-oriented. So, usability therefore. Quite something else than omni-channel or multi-device. Word, words, words. A rose is a rose is a rose.
“Multitasking involves being able to rapidly switch between different apps and to combine multiple sources of information. Small mobile screens limit users’ ability to see content from different apps at the same time, so current operating-system support for multitasking focuses mostly on switching between different apps. This increases users’ memory load, so mobile designers must help users compare and rapidly retrieve recent items.”
(Raluca Budiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group) ★