Recently, Todd Zazelenchuk, David Travis and I met up at our favourite watering hole in Staffordshire. As is often the case we stumbled into a discussion about usability, this time mulling over the question of whether usability is or is not a science. It turned out to be a slightly more challenging question than we had expected. Cut to the pub—
Iterative design is a proven approach for optimising the usability of a product or service. Teams create prototypes, test them with users, find problems and fix them. But iterative design does not guarantee innovation. To develop innovative designs, we need to question the way we have framed the problem and instead focus on our usersí underlying needs.
We take a look at some subtle yet pervasive experimenter effects, at ways they can bias the outcome of a design experiment, and at what we can do to control their influence.
The Design Studio is a wonderful methodology to encourage multidisciplinary design, but in practice teams often create design concepts that arenít grounded in user research. We can bake user research findings into every design concept that emerges by using the context of use (users, goals and environments) as a constraint. As an added bonus, this approach helps teams create many more solutions to a design problem.
With the advent of Lean UX — a kind of science of design — the ability to design and conduct an experiment should now be an important part of every designer’s skill set. But what is a design experiment? How do you develop an experiment? And how can you trust the results?
Making user experience happen within an organisation requires development teams to start involving users. This can be a difficult prospect for teams who have not engaged with users in the past. Here are 10 suggestions to help you make that first all-important contact with users.
In ‘The Lean Startup’, Eric Ries describes a design process to help manage risk when developing new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This article describes three established user experience techniques we can use to support this design process: narrative storyboarding; paper prototyping; and the Wizard of Oz.
Paper prototyping is probably the best tool we have to design great user experiences. It allows you to involve users early in the design process, shows you how people will use your system before you've written any code, and supports iterative design. So why are some design teams still resistant to using it? Here are 7 objections I've heard to paper prototyping and why each one is mistaken.
Follow a young man's journey as he discovers the three secrets of user-centred design. After reading this 40-page fable, you'll understand the framework of user-centred design and know how to apply it to your own design project. It's a small book that has big results.
Being frugal during economic hard times is good business practice. So how can you squeeze your usability budget and still deliver great insights? These 10 suggestions for streamlining your usability efforts explode the myth that usability is expensive and time-consuming.
Rather than create yet another definition of usability, we decided to take a different approach and work through the alphabet, picking one word for each letter to capture the flavour of the field. So we proudly present the A-Z of usability or usability in 26 words.
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