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11

Demographics is not critical when recruiting study participants

When recruiting participants for usability testing, field research and the like, candidates experience and behaviour is more important than demographics.

According to Jared Spool, studies of user experience professionals have shown that successful teams have learnt that candidates' previous experience and how they will behave in the study is more important than where they live, how old they are, and how much they earn. You don't need to have someone who is in your target audience. You only need someone who behaves like people in your audience group and is comfortable with the study situation.

Links:

  • Putting Perfect Participants in Every Session

Henrik Olsen - November 13, 2005

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See also: Research (93)  Requirement Analysis (12)  Usability testing (30) 


 

12

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 (19)  Prototyping and wireframing (32)  Usability testing (30) 


 

13

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 (8)  Prototyping and wireframing (32) 


 

14

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 (51)  Requirement Analysis (12)  Websites (9) 


 

15

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 (51)  Personas (13)  Prototyping and wireframing (32) 


 

16

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: Prototyping and wireframing (32) 


 

17

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 (8)  Prototyping and wireframing (32) 


 

18

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 (30)  Eye-tracking (7)  Web page design (23)  Research (93) 


 

19

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 (51)  Prototyping and wireframing (32) 


 

20

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: Prototyping and wireframing (32)  Usability testing (30)  Research (93) 


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