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Usability techniques

Usability techniques

A full day training workshop I gave to members of the Technical Communication Association of New Zealand.


Justine Sanderson

July 01, 2006


  1. Intro TCANZ Workshop Usability Techniques Justine Sanderson | Userfaction Ltd

    July 2006 © 2007 Userfaction Ltd
  2. The challenge

  3. The desired outcome

  4. Why usability? 63% of software projects exceed their budget estimates,

    with the top four reasons all relating to product usability: frequent requests for changes by users, overlooked tasks, users' lack of understanding of their own requirements, and insufficient user analysis communication and understanding (Lederer & Prassad, 1992).
  5. Why usability? Cost of changes throughout the development lifecycle

  6. User Centered Design

  7. User Centred Design To develop an experience based on the

    patterns inherent in your stuff that empowers users to accomplish their goals. jeffrey veen
  8. User Centred Design Process

  9. User Research

  10. Prototyping

  11. Usability Evaluations

  12. What we are going to do today Creating personas Identifying

    opportunities for design Producing a paper prototype Testing the prototype Presenting design ideas Group discussions DIS Seminar – Melbourne – August 2004
  13. Workshop Project

  14. Prelude: Active Listening

  15. Active Listening •  Asking open-ended, clarifying questions to gain further

    information and insight. •  Paraphrasing, or repeating back in our own words what the speaker has said, in order to clarify or confirm understanding. •  Probing - questioning in a supportive way that requests more information or that attempts to clear up confusions •  Providing nonverbal communication, like body language and facial expressions, to show we are paying attention. •  Learning when to be quiet. Giving the other to time to think as well as to talk.
  16. Open-Ended vs. Closed Questions Open Questions •  Begin with how,

    what, or why •  Are used to clarify information and keep the conversation open by encouraging a person to share as much as they wish Closed Questions •  Result in a simple “yes” or “no” or in short, factual answers •  Tend to bring the conversation to a stop, requiring more questions to get the full story
  17. Lead-Ins for Paraphrasing Did I hear you say… So, I

    think you said… Okay, so what I heard you say is… So what you’re saying is… You’re telling me that… Am I hearing you correctly that… Are you saying that… Am I hearing you clearly that… So what I hear you saying is… I believe that you are saying… So, you’re saying… Okay, let me see if I got what you said… So let me summarize what you just said… I want to be on the same page as you, so let me go over what you just said…
  18. User Research

  19. Contextual Enquiry

  20. Observing in context How do people actually use and experience

    websites? How often do they use them? How satisfied are they? What are their wants and needs? What are their suggestions for improvement?
  21. 'I don't know who discovered water, but it wasn't a

    fish.' Step out of your environment
  22. You are not the user you are not the user

  23. hang out with people who don’t use a computer 8

    hours a day
  24. architect cleaner waitress policeman teacher gardener farmer midwife receptionist musician

    builder marine biologist nurse florist photographer sales assistant nanny plumber sharetrader banana ripener accountant journalist coach politician student machine operator truck driver manager secretary
  25. Urban safaris

  26. People do strange things on their computers

  27. Passwords on post it notes

  28. You do not have their undivided attention

  29. Snapshot interviews

  30. Personas/User Profiles

  31. Affinity Diagramming

  32. Affinity Diagramming 2

  33. Personas

  34. What are they? Archetypal representation of your target audience • 

    based on user research (ideally) •  Aggregation of your users’ goals, attitudes, and behaviours •  presented as a vivid, narrative description •  of a single “person” who represents a customer segment
  35. Personas - Example

  36. Personas are NOT

  37. Why they’re useful •  Humanises and provides focus for the

    design, by talking about ‘Susan’ rather than ‘the user’ •  Helps avoid self-referential design •  Brings user-centered design into an organisation by providing a shared basis for communication in all stages of development cycle •  Enables involving a "user" long before true usability testing is possible
  38. Best Practices •  Based on actual user research •  Evoke

    empathy, e.g. by including a human face and a name •  Include contextual insights, e.g. capture personality with a quote •  Include details about goals, motivations and behaviours •  Include pet peeves/frustrations
  39. Best practices - examples

  40. Best practices – examples 2

  41. Mood board

  42. Write your own persona •  Name the persona, choose photos

    and quotes •  Mention some demographics •  Specify their computer/internet environment & savvy-ness •  Create 3 to 5 bullets specifying key goals •  Include some behaviours or attitudes •  Don’t forget pet peeves •  Add some scenarios for your persona –  Draw conclusions based strictly on observed facts
  43. Example persona

  44. Card Sorting

  45. Card Sorting Workshops “great exercise, I’d use this in my

    own work!” “chance to get involved at basic level” “good to interact & hear how others in team were thinking”
  46. leave form leave policy travel stuff peopleSoft Financials webmail computer

    access form wireless access connection acceptable use policy (computer) copyright policy rules next week events library hours cpd course campus map disability services nDeva health & safety guidelines web page guidelines exam timetables account codes calendar room bookings booking a room staff guide recruitment info plagiarism & cheating superannuation Auckland university press scholarships IT procurement leave balance ITSS Service Desk helpdesk staff directory property services building maintenance annual reports planning office Card sorting: preparing the data
  47. Card sorting: analysing the data

  48. IA Validation

  49. IA Validation – Paper Prototype

  50. Scenarios/Use Cases

  51. Task Analysis: Frequency of use

  52. Goal/Task Analysis

  53. Use Cases 1.  The user sees a welcome message on

    the ATM's screen. 2.  The user takes a valid Huntington bank card from their wallet. 3.  The user slides the bank card fully into the marked slot. 4.  The user waits five seconds for the ATM to respond. Feedback: The ATM displays "Please enter your four-digit personal identification number" on the screen. 5.  Using the physical keypad attached to the ATM, the user correctly enters their four-digit PIN. 6.  The user presses the Enter key. […] 7.  The user removes their bank card and returns it to their wallet. 8.  The user watches the screen for 15 seconds. Feedback: The ATM redisplays the welcome message. 9.  The customer leaves.
  54. Use Cases

  55. From Users to Goals to Structure http://thinkingandmaking.com/entries/49

  56. From Users to Goals to Structure http://thinkingandmaking.com/entries/49

  57. From Users to Goals to Structure http://thinkingandmaking.com/entries/49

  58. Prototyping

  59. Prototyping 2

  60. What prototyping will uncover Usability issues. All the things you

    typically find in usability testing - confusing concepts, poor terminology, layout problems, lack of feedback, etc. Missing (or misspecificed) functional requirements. Users often have needs that the development team isn't aware of, or the team may have a mistaken assumption about what functionality will satisfy a user requirement. Preference for one design alternative. Sometimes there are multiple ways to provide a function and they're equally easy to implement. But users may have a clear preference for one way over another.
  61. What you’ll need •  Write things that stay the same

    on the browser screenshot sheet •  Draw everything else on card, cut it up, and position with restickable glue •  Use index cards or post-it notes for pop-up windows/error messages/fly-out menus/and the ‘waiting’ hour-glass •  Put repositionable tape over each text field to allow for editing, etc •  Use pencil instead of pen to indicate ‘greyed-out’ items •  Use squiggles to indicate copy text •  Make things bigger rather than smaller – otherwise it’s harder to manipulate all the little objects •  For little objects, make little ‘tabs’ so that you can place them and remove them more easily •  Don’t worry about straight lines, details – it’s meant to be rough
  62. Roles •  Facilitator – explains the session, provides the tasks,

    and makes notes •  ‘Computer’ – manipulates the prototype based on user input •  ‘User’ – uses the system, provides advice/criticism
  63. Your turn: mockup sign-up form

  64. Prototyping with Powerpoint Footer e-asTTle Welcome, username Log Out Sign-In

    Password: Forgot Password? Username: ex.myname@myschool.co.nz Remember me on this computer Please sign in to your e-asTTle account: e-asTTle logo 8-Feb- 2006: e-asTTle will be unavailable on Saturday 8th February due to maintenance. 6-Feb-2006: New resources have been added to What’s Next News Sign-In Login
  65. Prototyping with Visio

  66. Usability Evaluations

  67. Usability Evaluations •  establish focus & purpose •  develop the

    tasks •  write the script •  recruit participants •  set up the room and coordinate times •  test the test and work out kinks •  give the test •  analyse the data •  make revisions to the Web site •  retest
  68. Usability Evaluation

  69. UCD artefacts start a conversation with your team

  70. Make the data real Walls – beyond whiteboards by Mark

    Rettig (www.marcrettig.com/writings/rettig.walls.72dpi.pdf )
  71. Make things together

  72. Collaboration

  73. It’s easy and it’s fun

  74. You are not the user

  75. Thank you Thank You! Questions? justine@userfaction.com © 2006 Userfaction Ltd

  76. Parallel track to ongoing development work Activities prior to development

    Ongoing user familiarisation (‘urban safaris’) User Research ‘Generic’ personas Personas for target audience Study of patterns Usability tests to uncover specific usability issues Conversation tool Artefacts
  77. Patterns …designing from the bottom up…

  78. Patterns

  79. Avis

  80. Study Patterns

  81. www.welie.com

  82. Yahoo pattern library

  83. Study Patterns

  84. Designing interfaces

  85. Don’t make me think

  86. Observing the user experience

  87. Making the web work

  88. l The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary

    so that the necessary may speak.z Hans Hofmann http://dev.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000015.php
  89. Should you stop or go?

  90. What is the right code?

  91. How does this door open anyway?

  92. How dumb are those users already?

  93. Which way to room 1503?

  94. How do I sign in?

  95. Flickr new Even web 2.0 apps use blue underlined links