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1

User-centred design cuts support call by 90%

Here's a great case on how prototyping and early involvement of users pays off. Because McAfee made user interface design of their ProtectionPilot a prime directive, they ended up with a great product and received approximately one-tenth of the support calls that the company would expect.

The article lists 23 tips gleaned from McAfee and their design team.

Links:

  • Clean, cutting-edge UI design cuts McAfee's support calls by 90%

Henrik Olsen - October 17, 2005 - via Dey Alexander

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See also: Cases and Examples (12)  Cost-justification and ROI (18)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

2

Eye-tracking as a supplement to traditional usability tests

SURL have studied how eye-tracking can be used to supplement traditional usability tests. They found that eye-tracking data can be used to better understand how users search the interface for a target and what areas of a page are eye-catching, informative, frequently ignored and distracting.

The study is based on a test of three toy e-commerce sites, which is described in detail in the article.

Links:

  • The article Hotspots and Hyperlinks: Using Eye-tracking to Supplement Usability Testing

Henrik Olsen - August 02, 2005

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See also: Eye-tracking (6)  Web page design (22)  Research (82) 


 

3

Fidelity and media is irrelevant in usability tests

An experiment by Group for User Interface Research has shown that low- and high-fidelity prototypes in both computer and paper media are equally good at uncovering usability issues.

The results support the idea of using low-fidelity prototyping techniques for design and testing. But development teams can choose whatever medium and level of fidelity they consider appropriate, since medium and fidelity has no effect on the quality of usability tests.

Links:

  • The article High or Low Fidelity, Paper or Computer?

Henrik Olsen - May 17, 2005

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See also: Wireframing and prototyping (29)  Research (82) 


 

4

Prototyping for user testing

There are several important factors to consider when you are planning to do prototyping for user testing. In this article from July 2002, Chris Farnum explains how to make the right choice about fidelity, level of interactivity and the medium for your test.

"In theory, low-fidelity sketches are also a time-saver, but this really depends on your point of view. Personally, I like to draw diagrams and wireframes in Visio where I can revise and move things around without erasing and redrawing."

"In the grand tradition of Goldilocks, I find myself drawn to the middle approach. A medium-fidelity approach tends to include some visual design and a level of detail somewhere between high and low fidelity."

"You can mix these three variables (fidelity, interactivity and medium) in many different combinations. The exact combination you choose should match the goals you determine for your testing."

Links:

  • The article What an IA Should Know About Prototypes for User-Testing

Henrik Olsen - May 08, 2005

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See also: Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

5

Formal vs. informal usability reports

Formal reports are the most common way of documenting usability studies, but according to Jakob Nielsen informal reports are faster to produce and are often a better choice.

"You can maximize user interface quality by conducting many rounds of testing as part of an iterative design process. To move rapidly and conduct the most tests within a given time frame and budget, informal reports are the best option."

Links:

  • The article Formal Usability Reports vs. Quick Findings

Henrik Olsen - April 25, 2005

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6

Test review of Morae

NetworkWorldFusion has tested Morae, a software tool for usability analysis from TechSmith that records video and audio of the users along with system data (e.g. mouse clicks, keystrokes, web page changes). Their overall rating is "very good".

Pros:
- Affordable
- Annotates collected data indicating web page changes, mouse clicks, keystrokes, text data appearing on screen, and window events such as opening and closing applications

Cons:
- Remote monitoring and management capabilities could be improved
- Captured data can get quite large (in the gigabyte range)
- Only supports Windows and prefers Internet Explorer

Links:

  • More about Morae at TechSmith.com
  • Review of Morae Recorder

Henrik Olsen - February 09, 2005

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See also: Tools (49) 


 

7

Tips on moderating open-ended usability tests

Listening labs is Mark Hurst open-ended version of the traditional think-aloud test. He has put together some tips on how to moderate a open-ended test.

Some highlights:
- Don't write out specific tasks before the test, since the test should be based on where, how, and why people will use the site
- Don't lead the user in any way
- Act only on the lead of the user
- Avoid opinion-based questions
- Avoid conditional or theoretical "if" questions since they won't spotlight users' real-world actions
- Keep the user in "use mode", and avoid "critique mode"

Links:

  • The article Four Words to Improve User Research

Henrik Olsen - January 25, 2005

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See also: Tips and guidelines (60) 


 

8

Usability Test Data Logger

The Usability Test Data Logger is an Excel spreadsheet developed by Todd Zazelenchuk, which can be used to collect, analyse, and present results of usability tests. It allows you to measure task completion rates, analyse questionnaire data, and summarise participant comments. It automatically generates charts and includes a timer to measure task completion times.

Links:

  • The Usability Test Data Logger

Henrik Olsen - August 17, 2004 - via Column Two

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tools (49) 


 

9

Conduct usability tests regularly and constantly

According to Janice Fracer, usability testing is most effective when it's a low-stress routine activity, rather than a special event that requires a lot of attention. Successful organizations conduct usability tests on a regular, fixed schedule, integrate results quickly into the product, and spend less money.

To develop a effective culture of usability you should:
- Test regularly and constantly (once a month or more)
- Train a couple of staff members to conduct the tests
- Test with five people at a time
- Perform the tests in-house
- Keep reports crisp and to the point
- Make changes immediately
- Leave recruiting to others

Links:

  • The article The Culture of Usability

Henrik Olsen - July 15, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (60) 


 

10

Calculating confidence intervals of usability test

Imagine a usability test where five out of five participants completed all tasks successfully. What are the chances that 50 or 1000 will have a 100% completion rate? By calculation confidence intervals, you will be able to tell that the chances lies somewhere between 95% and as low as 48%.

In his article, Jeff Sauro shows us how calculate confidence intervals of usability tests.

Links:

  • The article Restoring Confidence in Usability Results

Henrik Olsen - July 08, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (60) 


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