Welcome to the October edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.
- Message from the Editor
- Feature article: What user researchers can learn from Sherlock Holmes
- What we're reading
- Resources for selling usability
- Upcoming training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
If I asked you to name a few famous people in the field of user experience, I doubt that Sherlock Holmes would be on your list. He wouldn't have been on mine either until I read this month's article by Philip Hodgson. Philip's article helped me realise that there are a lot of similarities between sleuthing and user research. In fact, it's made me want to rewrite all of our case studies in the style of hard-boiled detective fiction "She sauntered into my office with a big folder of screenshots. 'I need you to run a usability test. Fast.' Even then, I knew this needed more than a usability test. I felt for my Sharpie."
On second thoughts, maybe not.
Talking of Sharpies, after you've read Philip's article, take a look at our course on 'Design Thinking'. It's a brand new course that focuses on generating design ideas to user experience problems.
I hope you enjoy the article.
The parallels between good research and good detective work are striking. In this article we take a close look at what user experience researchers can learn from the investigative methods used by detectives. And, in the spirit of all the best detective stories, we draw an important conclusion: if you want to become a better researcher you should learn to think like a detective. Read the article in full: What user researchers can learn from Sherlock Holmes.
Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:
- What you write on a submit button matters. Results from a fascinating A/B Test.
- A usability test report on just one page.
- Fast Company on why interaction design matters.
- The Ultimate Usability Resource Roundup: 60 Great Posts.
- 15 steps to schedule a wake-up call on a hotel phone.
- The marvels and the flaws of intuitive thinking by Noble laureate Daniel Kahneman. So much of this is relevant to user experience.
- Google research shows 90% of people don't know they can use CTRL-F to find a word in a web page.
Like these? Want more? Follow us on Twitter.
If you need to convince stakeholders or managers to invest in usability and user experience, you might want to try one of these articles from our archives.
- Selling usability to your manager
- Institutionalising Usability: 5 ways to embed usability in your company
- A Business Case for Usability
- Two measures that will justify any design change
- Communicating User Experience Design
- The Fable of the User-Centered Designer
Like these? Want more? See all 9 of our articles on selling usability.
Web Usability: Designing the user experience, October 24-25, London.
A fast-paced, 2-day immersion seminar that shows delegates how to boost sales and conversion rates, increase usage and improve customer satisfaction. More information about this training course: Web Usability: Designing the user experience.
A Practical Guide to Usability Testing, November 21, London.
Learn how to obtain customer feedback on prototypes and finished products. More information about this training course: A Practical Guide to Usability Testing.
Design Thinking, December 19, London.
In this new course, you'll learn ways of generating many different design solutions to user experience problems. More information about this training course: Design Thinking.
“The logical approach is the wrong way to go about understanding the needs of customers. You have to talk to them, watch them; this is the only way to understand their interests, their motives, their needs.” — Donald Norman.
Hungry for more?
Contextual inquiry: how to plan, execute and analyse a site visit
Oct 20, London: Learn how to get the most from a field visit to a customer location. More details
Every month, we share an in-depth article on user experience with over 10,000 newsletter readers. Want in? Sign up now and download a free guide to usability test moderation.