Userfocus Usability Newsletter, August 2013

Welcome to the August edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.

Message from the Editor

How embarrassing.

Just as I sent out last month's newsletter, our web server crashed and was pretty much out of action for a week. I'd like to say this was because the article was hugely popular, but the truth is a bit more prosaic: our web hosting company sucks. We've now moved our site to another company, and the process turned out to be less painful than I imagined. The only visible change to our web site is that we had to replace our aged and creaking commenting system with something newer and more shiny. In fact, transferring the comments on the articles took longer than anything else, so stop by this month and leave a comment to make all of our pain worthwhile!

While you're there, take a look at last month's article on "Cheap and free under-the-radar alternatives to field visits". Because of the problems with our site, it got hardly any love.

Well, from the ridiculous to the sublime. This month's article is by Philip Hodgson. I always turn to Philip when I need an article that raises the intellectual standard, and he hasn't dissapointed this month. It even has some Latin in it! His article makes a significant contribution to the idea of the science of design and provides the intellectual underpinnings to Lean UX. It should be read by anyone who aspires to design anything.

David Travis

Feature article: How Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit can help save your project (and maybe your company)

Most new products fail within the first few months after launch. This article describes 10 critical thinking tools that can be used to flag concerns about the project you are working on. These rules can be used by all team members to help save — or in some cases, kill off — struggling projects. Read the article in full: How Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit can help save your project (and maybe your company).

Announcing a new online training course on Usability Expert Reviews

I've just launched a new, online training course on usability expert reviews. Unlike my other online course on UX, this one does a deep dive into just one area of user experience. Udemy have priced it at $199, but I'm keen to get some students on board early so I've arranged a discount for newsletter subscribers. You can get the course for $149 using the coupon code SUBSCRIBER. So if you're interested in how to carry out usability expert reviews, get it at 25% off!

What we’re reading

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

Like these? Want more? Follow us on Twitter.

Upcoming conferences

Jan Jursa and his team in Berlin are running a one day conference on September 13 on mobile UX. We're proud to be a media partner for this event. The conference focuses on small screen Interaction Design and usable interfaces for smart devices. MobX is for all those who love small, mobile interfaces and smart experiences, good usability and consistent behaviour.

Use promotion code "userfocus" to save €100 on the Regular tickets category.

More information at the MobX 2013 web site.

Usability Training: Now Booking

Web Usability: An Introduction to User Experience, Sept 23-24, London.

This web usability training course will give you hands-on practice in all the key areas of usability, from identifying your customers through to usability testing your web site with them. 2 places remaining. More information about this training course: Web Usability: An Introduction to User Experience.

User Experience quotation of the month

“When we have clients who are thinking about Flash splash pages, we tell them to go to their local supermarket and bring a mime with them. Have the mime stand in front of the supermarket, and, as each customer tries to enter, do a little show that lasts two minutes, welcoming them to the supermarket and trying to explain the bread is on aisle six and milk is on sale today. Then stand back and count how many people watch the mime, how many people get past the mime as quickly as possible, and how many people punch the mime out. That should give you a good idea as to how well their splash page will be received.” — Jared Spool.

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