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Starting Where The User Starts

Matt Diaz
February 06, 2014

Starting Where The User Starts

Introduction to user experience, first delivered at Columbia School of Journalism on February 6, 2014.

Matt Diaz

February 06, 2014
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  1. STARTING WHERE THE USER STARTS
    Columbia School of Journalism
    February 6, 2014

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  2. 2
    Hello. My name is Matt.
    I’m a user researcher at

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  3. 3
    User Experience and Product Research Team

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  4. 4
    Product Design Development Newsroom Marketing

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  5. 6
    What is User Experience?

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  6. 7
    We do research to understand the users, we develop ideas to
    solve the users’ needs — and the needs of the business —
    and we build and measure those solutions in the real world to
    see if they work.

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  7. 8
    Why should I care?

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  8. 9
    We need to make journalism more user-centered.

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  9. 10
    “The news business, however, is just a subset of the
    informing-our-audience business  —  and that’s the
    business we aim to be in.”

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  10. 11
    Product Development Phases
    Strategize Optimize Assess
    Goal Inspire, explore and choose new
    directions and opportunities
    Inform and optimize designs in
    order to reduce risk and improve
    usability
    Measure product
    performance against itself
    or its competition
    Typical
    methods
    Field studies, user interviews,
    focus groups, longitudinal studies,
    surveys, analytics
    Prototyping, usability studies,
    user interviews, card sorting, A/B
    testing
    Usability benchmarking,
    online task-based studies,
    tree testing, surveys, A/B
    testing, customer feedback

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  11. 12
    Strategize Phase | Things research can help with
    •  Study users in their natural environment
    •  Document their goals and processes
    •  Examine demographics, product usage, and other consumer habits
    •  Explore attitudes and expectations toward specific topics or existing products
    •  Learn about relationships between information or tasks
    •  Decide how to organize a task or collection of information
    •  Create a portrait of users that captures what you have learned
    •  Identify which elements of a product concept are most attractive to users and why
    •  Explore different solutions

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  12. 13
    Optimize Phase | Things research can help with
    •  Explore attitudes and expectations toward particular design solutions
    •  Test a design against scenarios of use
    •  Probe on discoverability, usability, usefulness, and perceived value of particular
    functionality
    •  Collect informal input
    •  Identify what parts of the interface draw the user’s visual attention
    •  Check a design against guidelines
    •  Check a design for accessibility

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  13. 14
    Assess Phase | Things research can help with
    •  Determine whether a product is meeting its usability and engagement goals
    •  Learn how a product compares to its competitors
    •  Find out whether users value a product and identify areas for improvement
    •  Track product improvement over time

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  14. 15
    Quick Case Study: Redesign of NYTimes.com
    •  Personas | Strategize
    •  Usability Testing | Optimize
    •  Tree Testing | Asses

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  15. 16
    What are personas?
    •  Design tools for modeling and
    prioritizing user interactions
    •  A way to build empathy for our
    readers
    •  Archetypes (not stereotypes)
    Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0)
    Women and Man designed by Lil Squid from the Noun Project

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  16. 17
    Usability Testing
    •  One-on-one sessions conducted at The New
    York Times building or remotely via
    GoToMeeting
    •  Can include interview questions, discussion,
    directed tasks
    •  Usually between 6 and 12 users
    •  Goal to solicit feedback surrounding the
    usability and/or utility of a given product in
    an effort to inform design decisions
    Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0)
    Talking designed by Claire Jones from the Noun Project

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  17. 18
    Tree Testing
    •  Online test to evaluate the findability
    of content within a menu structure
    •  Users are asked to navigate through
    a menu to identify where they believe
    they would find a piece of information
    •  Provides metrics for assessing
    relative findability

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  18. 19
    Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use.
    Learnability | How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks
    the first time they encounter the design?
    Efficiency | Once users have learned the design, how quickly
    can they perform tasks?
    Memorability | When users return to the design after a period
    of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?
    Errors | How many errors do users make, how severe are these
    errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
    Satisfaction | How pleasant is it to use the design?
    What is usability?

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  19. 20
    Usability
    Utility
    Usefulness

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  20. 21
    To make something more useful…
    1.  Get hold of some representative users
    2.  Ask the users to perform representative tasks with the design
    3.  Observe what the users do, where they succeed, and where they have
    difficulties with the user interface
    4.  Shut up and let the users do the talking

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  21. 22
    Step One: Goals
    What are the most important things that every user must be able to accomplish
    on the site?

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  22. 23
    Step Two: Scenarios
    You're planning a vacation to New York City, March 3 − March 14.
    You need to buy both airfare and hotel.
    Go to the American Airlines site and jetBlue sites and see who has the best deals.

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  23. 24
    Make the task realistic
    User goal
    Browse product offerings
    and purchase an item.
    Poor task
    Purchase a pair of orange
    Nike running shoes.
    Better task
    Buy a pair of shoes for
    under $40.

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  24. 25
    Make the task actionable
    User goal
    Find movie and show
    times.
    Poor task
    You want to see a movie
    Sunday afternoon. Go to
    fandango.com and tell me
    where you’d click next.
    Better task
    Use fandago.com to find
    a movie you’d be
    interested in seeing on
    Sunday afternoon.

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  25. 26
    Avoid clues and describing the steps
    User Goal
    Look up grades.
    Poor task
    You want to see the results
    of your midterm exams. Go
    to the website, sign in, and
    tell me where you would click
    to get your transcript.
    Better task
    Look up the results of
    your midterm exams.

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  26. 27
    Moderation techniques | Think-aloud
    In a thinking aloud test, you ask test participants to use the system
    while continuously thinking out loud — that is, simply verbalizing their
    thoughts as they move through the user interface.
    •  Cheap
    •  Robust
    •  Flexible
    •  Easy to learn

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  27. 28
    Moderation techniques | Echo
    This table is weird, well, hmmm, not sure what, uh…
    Not sure what..?
    Table is weird…?
    Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0)
    Wonder Woman and Wolverine designed by Nefi Florián from the Noun Project

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  28. 29
    Moderation techniques | Columbo
    If I close here will I lose my work?
    Uhm, you are wondering if…?
    I am just not really sure if I should pick "close" or
    "cancel" or "ok." I guess I don't know the difference
    between these buttons.
    Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0)
    Wonder Woman and Wolverine designed by Nefi Florián from the Noun Project

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  29. 30
    Moderation techniques | Boomerang
    Do I have to register to buy this?
    What do you think?
    What would you do if you were at home now?
    What would you do if you were really doing this on your own?
    Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0)
    Wonder Woman and Wolverine designed by Nefi Florián from the Noun Project

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  30. 31
    Tips on recruiting participants
    •  Don’t wait
    •  Define your criteria
    •  Write a screener
    •  Get people to fill out your screener
    •  Be selective

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  31. 32
    Thanks!
    bitly.com/CJUXslides
    [email protected]
    twtr/mattdiazorg
    fb/mattdiazorg
    lnkd/mattdiazorg
    flickr/mattdiazorg
    4sq/mattdiazorg
    Sources and additional background
    When to Use Which User Experience Methods | Nielsen Norman
    Group
    High level overview of user research, lays out several dimensions:
    attitudinal/behavioral, qualitative/quantitative, context of product use, as
    well as how research approaches vary based on your stage in the product
    cycle.
    What do Prototypes Prototype? | Houde + Hill, Apple Computer
    Really great piece, although a bit academic, laying out a framework for
    thinking about different kinds of prototypes and how you can use them to
    communicate and answer questions.
    Introduction to Usability | Nielsen Norman Group
    Basic introduction to usability concepts.
    Turn User Goals into Task Scenarios for Usability Testing | Nielsen
    Norman Group
    Tips on designing a usability test.
    Thinking Aloud: The #1 Usability Tool | Nielsen Norman Group
    Explanation of the "think aloud protocol" which is an extremely simple and
    effective technique for conducting moderated research.
    Talking with Participants During a Usability Test | Nielsen Norman
    Group
    Simple techniques for interrupting or asking users questions during a
    session.
    How to find great participants for your user study | Michael Margolis,
    Google Ventures
    Bunch of solid recruiting tips.
    Remote Usability and UX Research Tools | Nate Bolt, Facebook
    Handy roundup of remote research tools.

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