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1

User-centred design cuts support calls 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)  Usability testing (26) 


 

2

The promised land of prototyping

While some might claim that prototyping isn't one of the wonders of the world, it's definitely a wonder of web and software development. The Q4 2005 issue of GUUUI takes a look at all the good that prototyping can do for us:

- The product is designed rather than left to chance
- We can externalize and develop ideas
- Legalizes experimentation and revisions
- Can make the intangible tangible
- We can satisfy clients' wish to see quick results
- We can take the client for a test drive
- We can reduce scope creep
- Makes early usability tests possible
- Improves team collaboration
- Improves cost-efficiency

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 13, 2005

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See also: GUUUI articles (7)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

3

Idea generation methods

Martin Leith has published a list of all the idea generation methods he's encountered during the past 15 years. Each method is described and some have full instructions on how to use them to generate ideas.

Links:

  • The site All Know Idea Generation Methods

Henrik Olsen - September 19, 2005 - via Column Two

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See also: Tools (49)  Requirement Analysis (11)  Websites (9) 


 

4

Tools for Information Architects

The Information Architecture Institute has a nice section full of tools for Information Architects and Interaction Designers. You will find document and wireframing templates, process maps posters, presentations, introduction brochures, and other tools to help you in your practice.

Links:

  • The tools section at IA Institute

Henrik Olsen - August 25, 2005

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See also: Tools (49)  Personas (12)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

5

Defence of paper prototyping

Despite advances in prototyping technology paper prototyping is still Jared Spool's favourite approach.

The downside of computer based prototyping tools such as Visio, Dreamweaver and Acrobat is that:
- They are clumsy, time consuming and too cumbersome for producing rough designs
- You get bogged down with lining things up neatly and other micro-design activities that take time and tell us nothing about the design's effectiveness
- They are restrictive, since only one person at a time can update the interface

In Jared Spool's opinion the programs are great once the basic design elements are established, but for the initial round of tests, they are overkill and distracting.

Links:

  • The article Looking Back on 16 Years of Paper Prototyping

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2005

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See also: Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

6

Balancing fidelity in prototyping

Many web development teams build prototypes that are too resource-demanding. The Q3 2005 issue of GUUUI takes a look at how to make the right trade-off between graphic detail, the level of interactivity and the breadth and depth of features covered by the prototype.

The conclusion:
- Don't get carried away in making the prototype look pretty
- Keep interactivity at a medium to high level
- Don't compromise on breadth
- Compromise as much as you can on depth

Links:

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2005

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See also: GUUUI articles (7)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

7

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: Usability testing (26)  Eye-tracking (6)  Web page design (22)  Research (83) 


 

8

Creating interactive prototypes with Adobe Acrobat

In a two-part article Dave Rogers from gotomedia explains how to build interactive prototypes in PDF by creating your pages in your favourite prototyping tool (e.g. Visio) and linking them together in Adobe Acrobat.

It sounds a bit cumbersome to me compared to exporting your pages to HTML directly from your prototyping tool (as explained in my article Visio - The interaction designer's nail gun). But the approach has the advantage that you can build working forms in Acrobat.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - May 26, 2005 - via Column Two

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See also: Tools (49)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


 

9

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)  Usability testing (26)  Research (83) 


 

10

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: Usability testing (26)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 


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Browse GUUUI postings

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