Welcome to the July edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.
- Message from the Editor
- Feature article: Creating usability test tasks that really motivate users
- What we're reading
- Upcoming training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
Over the last few years, the usability field has morphed and expanded into the field of "user experience". The focus is no longer on the product's interface, or even the product, but on the user's whole experience with the product. This got me thinking about people's experience of other activities we carry out, such as a usability test. How can we engage people in a usability test and prevent them from just play acting with the product we're testing? I think the solution is in creating really engaging usability test tasks, and that's the topic of this month's article. I hope you enjoy it.
The magic of usability tests is that you get to see what people actually do with a system (rather than what they say they do). This gives you great insights into how people behave and how to improve your design. But if your tasks lack realism you'll find that people just go through the motions and don't engage with the test — reducing the credibility of your results. Here are 6 ways to captivate participants with great test tasks. Read the article in full: Creating usability test tasks that really motivate users.
Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:
- A video showing the easiest-to-use documentation we've ever seen.
- Myths about user experience, including chestnuts like "Flash is evil" and "Search will solve a web site's navigation problems".
- And another myth exploded: User experience is not just about minimising clicks: Adding an extra page to a sign up process boosts conversions by 29%.
- We're enjoying a new flickr group called UX Errors - a user interface House of Horrors.
- What if that great wine you tasted had a removable wine label to remind you about your experience?
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Repositioning User Experience as a Strategic Process, July 8, London
For managers or advocates charged with championing user-centred design processes, "Repositioning User Experience as a Strategic Process" is a 1-day workshop that shows delegates how to think strategically about user centred design. More information about this training course: Repositioning User Experience as a Strategic Process.
Intranet Usability, July 14-15, London
For intranet developers who want to help employees find and use content quickly and easily, "Intranet Usability" is a 2-day immersion seminar that contains examples of award-winning intranets for delegates to compare their own intranet against. More information about this training course: Intranet Usability.
SPSS Essentials, Sept 6, London
For researchers involved in analysing data within their organisation, "SPSS Essentials" is a 1-day workshop that shows delegates how to use SPSS to input and analyse data and how to interpret and present the results. More information about this training course: SPSS Essentials.
Contextual inquiry: How to plan, execute and analyse a site visit, Sept 15, London
For people in design teams who need to base their designs on reality, not assumptions, "Contextual inquiry: how to plan, execute and analyse a site visit" is a 1-day workshop that teaches delegates how to get the most from a field visit to a customer location. More information about this training course: Contextual inquiry.
"Usability goals are business goals. Web sites that are hard to use frustrate customers, forfeit revenue, and erode brands." — Forrester Research.