Re: evaluating ease of use
- There is a now ISO standard method for "summative", aka late stage
evaluative, usability testing.
The standard originated from an effort by NIST called the common
industry format (CIF).
This provides a highly rigorous way of designing, conducting, and even
presenting the results of a test.
Doing not just one but two tests may be beyond your available scope,
in which case, I second the suggestion of using Nielsen's heuristics
as objective criteria starting points.
--- In email@example.com, "roosriders" <roosriders@...>
> I am currently involved in a project to evaluate two similar
> to determine which one should be end-of-lifed and which we should...
> continue to sell. The products are web hosting platforms that
> customers access and managed via a gui interface.
> What other ways could i evaluate the products? Hasand
> anyone ever done this type of evaluation before?
> I don't want to get bogged down in how the information should be
> presented (because I out of my league on that type of evaluation)
- Hello Andrea,I'd like to comment on this issue because we're going through a similarset of events. My employer has bought up several competing productsand has sent a new manager around looking for products that can beend of lifed to save money.The products share nothing in common other than some of the tasksthey perform. Some similarities include the ability to initiate pages,send emails, and manage alarm systems. All the product lines havean existing customer base, each of which may be offended by end-of-lifing a product that they are used to.I brought this issue up with management because they didn't realizethat they were doing useless work. You see each of the product linesthat have overlapping functionality are stable code bases. There areenhancements elsewhere but no real ongoing maintenance.Combining the products by eliminating "paging" from one productin order to use the "paging" system of another was actually morework at this point.Worse management bought up these competing lines, alloweddevelopment of all products to continue for a year and suddenlywant to axe something. They didn't notice that while the variousproducts did compete against one another, there were clearpreferences given by customers as to which products theywanted to have. The actual overlap didn't amount to much.The customers have also rejected the notion that one productmeets all potential customer needs. Each product was createdwith a specific usability and functionality to address. In the end,management has backed off the focus of actally axing productsjust to save costs.We've entered a period where each of the groups have tried tocooperate more and management has started to see where eachdevelopment group has something to offer the company as awhole. Some groups are better at Agile Development, oneis better at producing features at a low cost, and another hassome moderate success at providing a better user experience.At this point managment has finally taken the approach thatthey want to look at what works and then make decisions.Blindly cutting off projects doesn't make sense in this case.David
Feb 3, 2009 03:09:13 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I am currently involved in a project to evaluate two similar products
to determine which one should be end-of-lifed and which we should
continue to sell. The products are web hosting platforms that
customers access and managed via a gui interface.
Of course this will be an extremely politically charged issue, thus I
would like to use some recognized usability criteria for evaluation and
ultimately move forward with the product that is easiest for our
customers to use.
I was thinking of creating some task based criteria. For example, how
many steps does it take a user to create a simple website or add email
user accounts. What other ways could i evaluate the products? Has
anyone ever done this type of evaluation before?
I don't want to get bogged down in how the information should be
presented (because I out of my league on that type of evaluation) and
will recommend that an expert take on that job.
I look forward to any advice and guidance.