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Hand-crafting prototypes in Visio

The Q3 2006 issue of GUUUI looks at how to hand-draw prototypes in Visio using a tablet computer or a pen tablet. It's a fun, fast, dirty and dynamic technique, which is most useful early in the design process, when we are trying out lots of alternatives.


Henrik Olsen - July 02, 2006

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See also: Prototyping and wireframing (119)  Tools (106)  GUUUI articles (11) 



Is eyetracking worth the expense?

Jared Spool agrees that eyetracking is fun to watch and can demonstrate that users don't view content in a structured way. But he questions its diagnostic value and hence its ability to tell us how to improve our designs.

He points out a number of drawbacks:
- The equipment is expensive
- Some users can't work with the equipment (for example if they wear contact lenses or have long eye lashes)
- Calibrating the equipment takes time away from actual testing
- The results are hard to analyze, since you don't know if people gaze at something because they want to, because the design made them, or because they are just resting their eyes there.

Jared is not convinced that there is a useful place in the research process that "is worth all the hassle and expsese."


  • Eyetracking: Worth The Expense? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 27, 2006 - via Column Two

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See also: Eye-tracking (14) 



Review of the book Paper Prototyping

Pabini Gabriel-Petit has published a lengthy review of Carolyn Snyders book Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design.

Gabriel-Petit concludes:

"This is a valuable book on an important topic by an expert in usability. It demonstrates that paper prototyping is an effective technique that is useful in many contexts and provides a complete reference on how to use paper prototypes in usability studies."


Henrik Olsen - June 08, 2006 - via Putting People First

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See also: Books (47)  Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 



Video lecture about design thinking by Tim Brown from IDEO

Here's a one hour video starring Tim Brown from the design firm IDEO. He talks about how to fuel innovation by studying people and evolve and validate ideas through rapid prototyping and storytelling.


  • The video lecture Innovation Through Design Thinking Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 08, 2006 - via LukeW

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See also: Audio and video (48)  User research (23)  Prototyping and wireframing (119)  Talks and presentations (18) 



Squidoo eyetracked

Seth Godin has published a video of an eyetracking study where you can see how users explore

"The biggest lesson wasn't news to me, but it might be to your boss: your prospects are not rational and organized and linear. You can't count on them sitting still and hearing your story from beginning to end. They won't."

"The answer is not to try to change human nature. It's to embrace the hunting skills that people are bringing online (and to their daily offline media consumption) and to make your media match their needs."


  • The blog post What I learned from eye tracking Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 30, 2006

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See also: Cases and Examples (28)  Eye-tracking (14)  Audio and video (48) 



Usability Book of Knowledge

The Usability Book of Knowledge (BoK) is as site dedicated to creating a living reference that represents the collective knowledge of the usability profession. The of the project is to create a guide that contains core material supplemented by pointers to existing resources, and continues to evolve as the practice of usability evolves.


  • Usability Book of Knowledge (BoK) Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 19, 2006

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See also: Websites (11)  Glossaries (3)  Tools (106)  The design process (24) 



Five eyetracking cases

Etre has published five examples from an eyetracking study of five UK web-sites, including:


Each example is commented with analysis of how the users explored the sites' homepages and how the layout of homepages performed.


  • Five days / five heatmaps Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 17, 2006

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See also: Cases and Examples (28)  Eye-tracking (14) 



The book Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces

Being a strong advocate for prototyping, I'm a bit embarrassed that I haven't read Carolyn Snyder's book on paper prototyping until now. And I regret it. Her book has a lot to offer. If you are more into computer-based prototyping, you can still learn a lot from the renowned practitioner.

Carolyn assumes that if you want to build a prototype, it's because you want to test it with users. This has a strong influence on her workflow: Find test participants, create tasks, design the paper prototype, test it, refine it and test it again until you are confident that the design will work.

Something that fascinates me is that the book offers a ready-made step-by-step process for development teams to follow. Just add paper. The workflow seems to be a perfect companion for agile developments methods such as SCRUM.

On the negative side: Clients are almost absent in her book. And that's a pity, because prototypes are great for communicating with clients.


  • Companion web-site Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 14, 2006

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See also: Books (47)  Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 



How to run a usability test

Joshua Kaufman has written a short tutorial on how to conduct usability tests. He describes the entire process from screening and recruiting participants, writing test scripts and questionnaires, moderating the test and analyzing results.


  • Practical Usability Testing Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 07, 2006

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See also: Usability testing (68)  Primers (14) 



The eight stages of usability maturity

To truly become a user-centred organization, companies almost always progress through the same sequence of steps, gradually increasing their levels of commitment to usability.

Jakob Nielsen outlines this process in eight stages of maturity:

Stage 1: Hostility Toward Usability
Stage 2: Developer-Centered Usability
Stage 3: Skunkworks Usability
Stage 4: Dedicated Usability Budget
Stage 5: Managed Usability
Stage 6: Systematic Usability Process
Stage 7: Integrated User-Centered Design
Stage 8: User-Driven Corporation

According to Jakob Nielsen, it takes about twenty years to move from stage 2 to 7 and another twenty years to reach the last stage.


  • Corporate Usability Maturity: Stages 1-4 Open link in new window
  • Corporate Usability Maturity: Stages 5-8 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 01, 2006

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See also: Implementing user-centred design (9) 


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