Userfocus Usability Newsletter, November 2017

Welcome to the November edition of the Userfocus usability and user experience newsletter!

Message from the Editor

Last week I spent a day working with a client in Edinburgh, Scotland. Just by the office was a burrito van where I discovered I could get a haggis-filled burrito.

I confess that I was conflicted. Was this an example of multi-cultural integration that I should welcome and encourage? Or was it an example of cultural appropriation, like impersonating an American Indian, that I should avoid? (I chose to buy one. It was delicious).

Similar issues arise every day when you work as part of a multi-disciplinary design team. It's not always clear where the border lies between your role and the responsibilities of your colleagues. No-one wants to be accused of treading on someone else's turf.

This is particularly the case with user researchers who sometimes feel that design is not their responsibility. As a consequence, these user researchers find problems but don't offer solutions.

Diagnosing a design problem without providing a design solution is like a doctor giving you a diagnosis but no remedy, or a car mechanic telling you your brakes don't work but not what's needed to fix them.

I've written more about this in my article this month. I hope you find it useful.

David Travis

Minting new design ideas from usability test data

A usability test provides us with a host of observations describing how people interact with a product or service. What it doesn't provide is design solutions. To generate useful design solutions we need to first generate insights to identify the underlying problems and then create testable hypotheses to fix their cause. Read the article in full: Minting new design ideas from usability test data.

From our archives: What user researchers ought to know about informed consent

Gaining informed consent is a cornerstone of the social sciences. But it is sometimes poorly practiced by user researchers. They fail to explain consent properly. They mix up the consent form with a non-disclosure agreement. And they mix up the consent form with the incentive. Improving the way you get consent will also improve the data you collect because participants can be more open and because it makes user researchers more empathic. Read the article in full: What user researchers ought to know about informed consent

What we’re reading

Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:

Like these? Want more? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Upcoming user experience training courses

Foundation Certificate in User Experience, Feb 20-22 2018, 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.

User Experience quotation of the month

"Without data, you're just another person with an opinion." W. Edwards Deming

Hungry for more?

Read previous newsletters.


Foundation Certificate in UX

Gain hands-on practice in all the key areas of UX while you prepare for the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience. More details

Download the best of Userfocus. For free.

100s of pages of practical advice on user experience, in handy portable form. 'Bright Ideas' eBooks.

UX newsletter

Every month, we share an in-depth article on user experience with over 10,000 newsletter readers. Want in? Sign up now and get free, exclusive access to our reports and eBooks.

Newsletter archive

Look back over previous newsletters in the newsletter archive.


Our services

Let us help you create great customer experiences.

Get free email updates

Join our community of UX professionals who get their monthly fix of user experience insights from Userfocus and get free, exclusive access to our reports and eBooks.