Welcome to the August edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.
- Message from the Editor
- Feature article: You have 19 days to define your research problem
- Free eBook: Bright Ideas for User Experience Researchers
- What we're reading
- Our most popular articles
- Upcoming training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
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.
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.
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.
Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:
- How Facebook uses all that data it has about you.
- Essential design patterns for mobile banking.
- How the BBC planned the way people experience the 2012 Olympics across desktop, tablet, mobile and TV.
- Excellent introduction to Diary Studies
- Why do we need navigation at all? Fascinating perspective, I'm nearly convinced.
- Tips on giving and receiving design criticism.
- What does 'unticketed' mean? Consequences of a real-world usability problem.
Like these? Want more? Follow us on Twitter.
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.
- A CRAP way to improve usability
- 20 things you can do this year to improve your user’s experience
- Layout grids for Axure and Pencil
- 247 web usability guidelines
- Tips for writing user manuals
Like these? Want more? See all 94 of our user experience articles and resources.
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.
“Ab uno'disce'omnes.” — Virgil.