Welcome to the June edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.
- Message from the Editor
- Feature article: Help! What The Beatles can teach us about writing support material
- What we're reading
- Resources for usability test moderators
- Upcoming training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
In his film 'Manhattan', Woody Allen lies on a couch and lists a number of things that make life worth living: Groucho Marx, Louis Armstrong's recording of 'Potato Head Blues' and the second movement of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony top his list.
Perhaps because we're just about to have the Queen's Jubilee and host the Olympics, I was thinking about Britain and what, if anything, makes it great these days. Bad weather, bad food and a general air of disappointment were the first things that entered my head, but then I quickly moved on to football and the Beatles. So with the European football championships about to start in June, I realised that all we needed to do to add to the patriotic atmosphere was to somehow shoehorn into this month's article a reference to the Fab Four.
Philip Hodgson rose to the challenge with a great article on what the Beatles can teach us about writing support material. Talk about patriotic!
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:
- The folly of using conversion rates as your only metric: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
- The history of usability: "a perverse journey from simplicity to complexity".
- What makes web content credible?
- Applying behavioural insights to reduce fraud, error and debt [PDF] — From the UK Government's Mindspace team.
- This video is worth 15mins of your time: how one UX-er convinced her company to ditch banner ads.
- New research shows usable UIs appear more attractive - but attractive UIs don't improve usability ratings.
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If you've been tasked with moderating a usability test, you might want to try one of these articles from our archives.
- Usability Test Moderation: The Comic
- Site visit interviews: from good to great
- What every usability test moderator ought to know about good listening
- Why you shouldn't ask “Why?” in a usability test
- 4 forgotten principles of usability testing
Like these? Want more? See all 87 of our previous articles on user experience.
Design Thinking: How to Sketch User Experiences, June 18, London. SOLD OUT.
Learn how to generate many different design solutions to a user experience problem — even if you're a klutz with a pencil. More information about this training course: Design Thinking: How to Sketch User Experiences.
How to carry out a usability expert review, July 16, London.
A fast-paced, 1-day seminar that teaches you cost-effective methods to evaluate designs. Unlike courses in usability testing, this seminar teaches you how to find and fix usability problems without involving end users. More information about this training course: How to carry out a usability expert review.
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.
“If you freeze an idea too quickly, you fall in love with it. If you refine it too quickly, you become attached to it and it becomes very hard to keep exploring, to keep looking for better. The crudeness of the early models in particular is very deliberate.” — Jim Glymph.