Userfocus Usability Newsletter, December 2017

Welcome to the December edition of the Userfocus usability and user experience newsletter!

Message from the Editor

This month I discovered that the abbreviation 'UX' has been in use for a lot longer than I thought. Long before it was co-opted to mean 'user experience', it was used as a shorthand during the London Blitz.

At that time, 'UX' stood for "unexploded bomb". The authorities would dig these out, tow them away and then detonate the bombs in a safe area where they could do no damage.

I was pleased to discover this factoid because I like to think of the UX researcher's role as continually searching for (and defusing) the 'unexploded bombs' in a product.

To stretch the metaphor even further, those unexploded bombs may not just be faults with a product, but faults with the user research. Bad user research can mislead the design team and result in poor decision making.

I've written more about this in this month's article on web surveys. I hope it helps you defuse a bomb in your own product.

And since I won't be bothering your inbox again until 2018, I'd like to wish you a relaxing Christmas and a peaceful new year.

David Travis

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If you're in the happy but slightly awkward position of having money you need to spend before the end of the year, then we can help! We can invoice you now for user experience consulting or training that you take in 2018. Spend your budget surplus on half-a-day's consultancy through to a customised training program for your team. Contact for more information.

Warning: Your web survey is a lot less reliable than you think

Because surveys usually involve hundreds of respondents, many design teams value the findings from a survey more highly than the results from small sample usability tests, user interviews and field visits. But the results of most web surveys are biassed by coverage error and non-response error. This means surveys, like most qualitative data in user research, should be triangulated with other sources of data. Read the article in full: Warning: Your web survey is a lot less reliable than you think.

From our archives: Two measures that will justify any design change

Two measures commonly taken in a usability test success rate and time on task are the critical numbers you need to prove the benefits of almost any potential design change. These values can be re-expressed in the language that managers understand: the expected financial benefit. Read the article in full: Two measures that will justify any design change

Review of the year

Here's a list of the articles we published in 2017 that you may have missed.

I hope you stay with us for another 12 months of wittering!

What we’re reading

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

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User Experience quotation of the month

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." George Bernard Shaw.

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