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Involving users - Why is it so hard to do the right thing?

Donna Spencer
November 08, 2008

Involving users - Why is it so hard to do the right thing?

Why is user involvement in projects the exception rather than the rule, despite the fact we know it is the ‘right’ thing to do? Taking a practical standpoint and without the boring and irrelevant theory, this presentation discusses the role of user involvement in web projects covering:

What types of projects need (and do not need) to involve users
Determine the value of involving users or the risks of not involving them
Methods and techniques appropriate for different situations
Low-contact, quick methods you can use to learn about users with little effort
Tips to help other people understand the value of user involvement

Donna Spencer

November 08, 2008

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  1. Involving Users - Why Is It So Hard To Do

    The Right Thing? Donna Spencer Maadmob
  2. About me • Freelance information architect/interaction designer  8 yrs

     Complex websites, intranets, business applications  Design, strategy, mentoring, training • Conducted loads of user research • Writing a book about card sorting - due soon
  3. Key points • Images – veggies, exercise, alcohol

  4. But first, what is user research

  5. What is user research

  6. Why would we do it? • Your users may have

    different:  experience with computers  understanding of the domain  working patterns and working arrangements  ways of describing their tasks  contexts in which they will use the product  goals for using the product • You will learn interesting things!
  7. How we do it

  8. Why don’t we do it? No money We are the

    users Too hard The outcome really doesn’t matter The client actually doesn’t care We already know what users need Someone already ‘gathered requirements’ Don’t know who our users are No time
  9. What helps us do it Included it in proposal budget

    Team have the skills to Client cared about doing well Acknowledged that we don’t know the users Explained that requirements weren’t enough Have easy access to users Made it fast
  10. How to decide...

  11. How to decide • How important is it to the

    organisation • Risk if we get it wrong  Impact on the users  Money spent  Profile • Need to convince others • Existing knowledge of users • Ability to iterate • Ability to collect feedback
  12. How to decide

  13. Personal blog

  14. Conference website

  15. E-commerce system

  16. Big internal business app

  17. Making it easier…

  18. Making it easier • Start with existing materials  Staff

    who have contact with users  Website analytics  Search terms • Small research, not huge • Focus your research – don’t try to learn everything
  19. Share it! • Personas/scenarios

  20. Personas

  21. Share it! • Personas/scenarios • Analytics reports • Analysis of

  22. Questions & thanks • http://maadmob.com.au/ • 0409-778-693 • donna@maadmob.net •

    Twitter etc: maadonna