Welcome to the July edition of the Userfocus usability and user experience newsletter!
- Message from the Editor
- The two questions we answer with user research
- From our archives: Help! What The Beatles can teach us about writing support material
- What we're reading
- Upcoming user experience training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
Other than Brexit and the British political system in crisis, it's been a typically slow news month since our last newsletter. This month I've written about two questions we answer with user research. I still see design teams doing usability tests when they should be doing field visits, and vice versa, so I thought it would be worth establishing why you do each of these research techniques.
Fundamentally, all user research answers one of two questions: (a) Who are our users and what are they trying to do? (b) Can people use the thing we've designed to solve their problem? You answer the first question with a field visit and you answer the second question with a usability test. Read the article in full: The two questions we answer with user research.
Reading user instructions continues to rank high on people's lists of 'activities-to-be-avoided-at-all-possible-costs'. We've worked with a number of clients to improve their user support materials and we frequently encounter five common mistakes made by development teams. This work has given us some insight into how best to avoid these problems occurring in the first place. Read the article in full: Help! What The Beatles can teach us about writing support material.
Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:
- 46 Interview questions that Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook ask User Researchers
- One of the best articles on design research that doesn't even mention design research. Essential reading.
- Excellent summary: 10 reasons why placeholder text in form fields is problematic.
- 4 forgotten principles of usability testing.
- Why are drop-downs and select boxes bad for forms?
- "It takes 2000-10000 hours, innumerable usability tests, interviews and observations to become a UX professional"
- Should you reduce the number of questions on your form? A nuanced discussion with lots of data.
- Free, online course on Web Accessibility from Udacity.
Foundation Certificate in User Experience, Sep 13-15, London.
Gain the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience in this fun and hands-on training course. You'll practice in all the key areas of UX from interviewing your users through to prototyping and usability testing your designs while you prepare for and take the exam.
More information about this training course: Foundation Certificate in User Experience.
"Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose." Charles Eames.