Some of the problems we work on as UX researchers are simple and are easily solved by getting users in front of our product. But other problems can be complex and it's hard to know how to start solving them. In situations like that, a simple 2x2 diagram can cut through the "what ifs", the "how abouts" and the edge cases and provide a simple way of looking at the problem. Here are 10 examples of 2x2 diagrams to simplify UX research discussions.
UX researchers are storytellers who have devised tools like personas and user journey maps to tell the story of their research. Focusing on the story, rather than the tool, is a powerful way to become more effective.
User experience professionals often complain that design teams fail to take action on the findings from user research. But researchers need to shoulder some of the blame: research reports are often too wordy, arrive too late and fail to engage teams with the data. Dressed-down personas, customer journey maps, photo-ethnographies, affinity diagramming, screenshot forensics and hallway evangelism provide 6 alternatives.
People new to user research often think of surveys and focus groups as the main ways to get insights into customer needs. Here are 60 alternative ideas you might want to try.
Imagine the scenario. You're all set to design your new app. You've done your research and identified the core set of features that you would like in your product. But your budget allows for developing 25% of these features at best. What do you do? How do you identify the features that your users really want? Enter the Kano Model.
"Design is easy," writes branding expert Marty Neumeier. "All you do is stare at the screen until drops of blood form on your forehead." One element that makes design difficult is a lack of constraints. Focusing on your product's red routes provides the key constraint you need to ship a high value product from version 1.
Lecturing to people is a poor way to help them learn new facts. People learn better when they are actively engaged in their learning. Here's a training game that we use on one of our training courses to help people learn about usability heuristics. Why not play this game with your user experience team during your next team meeting?
Many design teams launch into development without a shared vision of the user experience. Without this shared vision, the team lacks direction, challenge and focus. This article describes 3 ways to develop a user experience vision: telling a short story; drawing a cartoon showing the experience; and creating a video to illustrate the future.
When you're creating a paper prototype, it saves time to have controls and buttons that you can cut out and re-use, without needing to draw your own.
Observing a usability test seems simple but it's easy to lose focus during a session and record only the dramatic or obvious usability problems. As you watch the test, you should make minute-by-minute observations of the participant's behaviour as single letter codes. Datalogging ensures you note all behaviours, not just the ones that stand out, and provides all you need to quickly create a list of usability issues you can pass to the design team. This article includes a macro-free Excel spreadsheet you can use to timestamp your observations.
This article reviews 6 simple but powerful research techniques you can use to improve the information architecture of your product or web site. None of these activities requires a computer. You simply need a bunch of cards, a participant and a desk.
Although designing usable systems requires far more than simply applying guidelines, guidelines can still make a significant contribution to usability by promoting consistency and good practice. We use this list of guidelines in our consultancy work. For best results, remember to interpret the guideline in context — this requires a bit more thought but ensures you will get a lot more from your review. You can also download the guidelines as an Excel workbook.
Designed for use with Axure RP Pro 5 and the Pencil extension for Firefox, this resource will help you layout prototype web pages using the 960-grid system.
How should you go about collecting data in usability tests? This article examines the data collection process in usability studies and describes some popular data logging solutions. Since most of these tools are expensive, we show you how you can use Microsoft Excel with Visual Basic macros to collect the data.
Most usability tests culminate with a short questionnaire that asks the participant to rate, usually on a 5- or 7-point scale, various characteristics of the system. Experience shows that participants are reluctant to be critical of a system, no matter how difficult they found the tasks. This article describes a guided interview technique that overcomes this problem based on a word list of over 100 adjectives. We also include a spreadsheet to generate and randomise the word list.
Are you finding it difficult to keep up with the variety of web sites, blogs and articles devoted to usability? If so, help is at hand. We've put together a web page that aggregates the best of these web sites and made the page available through Netvibes.
This Excel spreadsheet allows you to measure task completion rates, time-on-task, analyse questionnaire data, and summarise participant comments. Latest version just released!
Usability practitioners are called on, not only to conduct many research studies during their careers, but also to read, review, and advise on usability studies that have been conducted and reported by others. The ability to critically review the research of others, and to help stakeholders weigh up the merits or shortcomings of research data and conclusions, is an extremely valuable skill. These checkpoints will help you ensure your review covers the key issues.
A concise list of the most useful accessibility tools on the Web. These tools and web sites are indispensable when carrying out accessibility reviews.
This eBook contains all you need to make sure that you're fully prepared for your next usability test. The document includes easy to customise usability test forms, such as screeners, a discussion guide, questionnaires and data logging sheets.
These crosswords feature words and concepts in usability. Use them in your training courses or to raise awareness of usability in your team.
These stencils will help you communicate user-centered design activities and proposals to clients and development teams.
This page reproduces an assessment form from the book "E-commerce Usability", written by one of our consultants. The test will help you measure where you are now and provide a framework to help you improve. Use this to work out the strengths and weaknesses in your current process.
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Our most recent articles
- Oct 7: Transitioning from academic research to UX research
- Sep 2: The minimalist field researcher: What's in my bag?
- Aug 5: The future of UX research is automated, and that's a problem
- Jul 1: Talking to computers (part 2): VUI as an error recovery system
- Jun 3: Talking to computers (part 1): Why is speech recognition so difficult?