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1

Institutionalization of Usability: A Step-by-Step Guide

This book by Eric Schaffer (Founder & CEO of Human Factors International) answers the question: "How do I make usability routine in my business?" ... and provides the case for corporate commitment.

Usability must be institutionalized as a sustained, routine, and necessary part of the business process.

Executives, managers, and practitioners need a mature usability engineering capability with infrastructure, standards, training, and proper staffing.

Links:

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - June 10, 2004

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See also: Books (32) 


 

2

Winning stakeholder support in user-centred design

User-centred design professionals pay special attention to one type of stakeholders the users. But in real world projects we are often up against more powerful stakeholders, such as CEOs, product managers, and IT professionals, with different and often conflicting requirements.

In this article Johnathan Boutelle gives advice on how to use stakeholder analysis to explore such problem spaces and synthesize disparate worldviews.

Links:

  • The article Understanding Organizational Stakeholders for Design Success

Henrik Olsen - June 07, 2004

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3

Objections against user-centred design

Introducing a user-centred design approach in an organisation can sometimes be difficult. According to Jesse James Garrett, some of the most common objections are:

- We know our users - they're just like us.
- We know our users - we've done all this market research.
- All we have to do is follow this list of guidelines.
- The interface is trivial compared to the technical work we need to do.
- It takes experts to understand user behavior. We don't have that kind of money.
- It doesn't take experts to understand user behavior. We'll figure it out as we go.
- We'll fix it in QA.
- We can't make room for it in the schedule.

As a result, "Most Web sites are not designed. They are, at best, contrived - roughly patched together using a mix of half-understood guidelines, imitations of approaches taken by other sites, and personal preferences masquerading as "common sense""

Links:

  • The article All Those Opposed - Making the case for user experience in a budget-conscious climate

Henrik Olsen - July 28, 2003

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4

Most difficult part of user experience work

What's the most difficult part of UX work? Very simple: changing the organization. More in the column.

Links:

  • Read the full column

Mars Hurst - June 20, 2003

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5

User-centered design of company development frameworks

Introducting a user-centered design process in a company can be a challenge. Whitney Quesenbery recommends applying an iterative and user-centered approach when doing so.

Links:

  • The article Being User-Centered When Implementing a UCD Process

Henrik Olsen - September 29, 2002

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See also: Tips and guidelines (63) 


 

6

Results of promoting Information Architecture survey

Louis Rosenfeld has put out a brief survey to learn a little bit about whom Information Architects are trying to promote IA to, what gets in the way, and what might help Information Architects to do a better job.

Some highlights from the survey:
- Hardest part of promoting IA: 27% don't get a chance until their projects are too deep into the design/development process
- What would help: 82% plead for ROI cases, 72% for case studies of successful projects
- Hardest audience: Our clients' decision-makers

Links:

  • Louis Rosenfeld's comments to the results
  • The results in full detail

Henrik Olsen - May 14, 2002

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See also: Research (91) 


 

7

How Usability-Focused Companies Think

This article tells you what it really takes to design truly good user experiences. It's all about caring for and understanding your users.

Some of the differences between companies that are successful with usability and the ones that are not, are:
- They really put user fist, and relegate technology, implementation, office politics, and everything else to a lower priority
- They keep the users visible by keeping photos of their users posted in the offices
- They try to gather as much information about the users from as many sources as possible
- The require all new hires to go on a site visit within the first two weeks on the job

Links:

  • The article: How Usability-Focused Companies Think

Henrik Olsen - February 23, 2002

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