Userfocus Usability Newsletter, August 2012

Welcome to the August edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.

Message from the Editor

Olympic fever has truly hit us here in London. After Her Majesty the Queen parachuted into the Olympic Stadium we believe we can achieve anything — so long as we're next to James Bond and we have Danny Boyle directing us.

Not being the beneficiary of a classical education, I found myself having to consult the internet to understand the meaning of the Olympic motto, "Citius, Altius, Fortius" ("Faster, Higher, Stronger"). But while on Wikipedia's page of useful Latin terms, I came across another phrase that will surely help you next time you need to justify user experience work.

The phrase comes from Virgil's'epic poem, 'The Aeneid'. (This is Virgil the ancient Roman, not Virgil Tracy from Thunderbirds). The phrase refers to situations where a single example or observation indicates a general or'universal truth.'The kind of thing you learn from a case study, or an insight you get from a single participant in a usability test.

So, here’s what to say next time someone in marketing gets on your back about the small samples we often use in user experience work:

"As Virgil said, 'ab uno'disce'omnes'."

That should keep them quiet.

We have an excellent article this month from Philip Hodgson on why you should spend more time thinking and planning user research. And we've also published a free eBook for user experience researchers. I hope you enjoy them both.

David Travis

Feature article: You have 19 days to define your research problem

Without a clear understanding of a research problem one cannot expect customer or user research to deliver useful findings. Here are five things you can do to help better define a research problem and sharpen your research question. Read the article in full: You have 19 days to define your research problem.

Free eBook: Bright Ideas for User Experience Researchers

A special gift for newsletter subscribers! This free eBook contains a selection of our most popular articles on user experience research, in handy portable form. Find out more: Bright Ideas for User Experience Researchers.

What we're reading

Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:

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Our most popular articles

If you believe in the wisdom of crowds, then you might like to read one of these popular articles. These are our top 5 most-read articles over the last 12 months, according to Google Analytics.

Like these? Want more? See all 94 of our user experience articles and resources.

Usability Training: Now Booking

Axure Essentials, Sept 10, London.

Learn how to use Axure to build wireframes and generate HTML prototypes. More information about this training course: Axure Essentials.

Advanced Prototyping with Axure, Sept 11, London.

Learn how to prototype rich internet applications (RIAs) and use the advanced features of Axure RP Pro. More information about this training course: Advanced Prototyping with Axure.

The Lean UX Starter Kit, Sept 17, London.

For people in development teams who want to create user-centred products and services, this brand new 1-day workshop shows you how to reduce design risks and and create products that users will love. More information about this training course: The Lean UX Starter Kit.

User Experience quotation of the month

“Ab uno'disce'omnes.” — Virgil.

Hungry for more?

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Foundation Certificate in UX

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100s of pages of practical advice on user experience, in handy portable form. 'Bright Ideas' eBooks.

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