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Re: New To Usability - Trying To Learn & Define Standards

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  • alochka
    The answer is always it depends (on business goals, users, constraints), it kind of sounds to me like you are looking for a pattern library? I would
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 2, 2009
      The answer is always "it depends" (on business goals, users, constraints), it kind of sounds to me like you are looking for a pattern library?

      I would recommend the following resources:
      1) Yahoo Design Pattern Library: http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/
      2) A book called, Designing Interfaces: http://designinginterfaces.com/

      Regarding adherence, that really depends on the culture of your organization and how many people are behind this initiative. I would recommend first figuring out IF setting up guidelines is really the solution to your core problem, and if so how will you communicate the guidelines to others when they are completed? The best way to figure this out is to just talk to people about their thoughts, and also observe how they currently do their work.

      Hope this helps!
    • Adrian Howard
      ... [snip] I d second Michael s recommendation of Luke s book. A useful read - especially if you ve not got a usability/UX background. It s tricky one to sum
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 6, 2009
        On 5 Oct 2009, at 17:39, doug.gorman@... wrote:

        > I'm curious about the book. What were some of the strong takeaways
        > from it that you use consistently?
        [snip]

        I'd second Michael's recommendation of Luke's book. A useful read -
        especially if you've not got a usability/UX background. It's tricky
        one to sum up since it's really a collection of useful patterns /
        "best" practices for form design.

        You'll get some good rules of thumb on, for example, label alignment
        in forms - which will help with making those initial decisions before
        user testing.

        Taking a look at the book site

        http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/webforms/

        and the illustrations from the book

        http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/webforms/content/diagrams/

        might give you more of an idea.

        Cheers,

        Adrian
        --
        http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh
      • Adrian Howard
        Hi Doug, ... You have to be slightly careful here that this doesn t become an excuse for not making informed decisions about the products user experience in
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 6, 2009
          Hi Doug,

          On 5 Oct 2009, at 17:58, doug.gorman@... wrote:

          > I absolutely agree that end user feedback is almost always a better
          > driver than our own internal opinions.

          You have to be slightly careful here that this doesn't become an
          excuse for not making informed decisions about the products user
          experience in the first place.

          Good user testing isn't an excuse for bad design - with the user
          experience just as much as the code. User testing is a fantastic tool
          - and can help you discover and guide the development of the products
          user experience. But it doesn't drive good design - it informs it. You
          still need to figure out the best way to solve the problems that it
          highlights.

          Letting the user experience be driven by post-implementation user
          testing is a bit like having the code design be driven by post-
          implementation tests. The feedback loops are too long.

          Don't let this dissuade you from starting doing usability testing -
          but it's what you do with the results that's really important.

          > I'm curious about your thoughts on when and how to engage them.

          Like most things agile I think a little and often is the best
          approach. Doing many small usability informal tests throughout the
          development process is more effective in my experience than doing
          fewer, larger, formal ones.

          > The team here is considering "usability runahead" to get users -
          > particularly of existing products - to do some hands on with us. Are
          > there particular activities or kinds of usability testing that
          > you've found consistently identify usability issues?


          Depends what kinds of thing you're trying to do. If you're looking at
          new functionality I'd suggest looking at lo-fidelity methods like
          paper prototyping (see http://is.gd/40q4J for a few pointers) very
          early in the process to help you try out many ideas quickly. This has
          the advantage of also being enormous fun - who doesn't like to play
          with paper, scissors and glue for a few hours :-)

          If it's finding issues with existing products I'd try a couple of
          things:

          1) If possible go and work in the same place as the users for a bit
          and watch them do their work. You'll almost certainly spot some issues
          that are hard to see in a more formal user testing environment (e.g.
          do people get interrupted in the middle of tasks?)

          2) Once you've spotted a few areas that look like they can be improved
          do some informal "talk aloud" tests with the user (in the workplace
          where feasible) around those tasks. If you've not done tests like this
          before Rubin's "Handbook of Usability Testing" http://is.gd/40wGR is a
          nice starter (I've only ever read the first edition, but folk I trust
          have said the second edition is equally good.)

          > Also, are there kinds of usability testing you've done with users
          > that they've enjoyed and found to be a positive experience?

          User testing is mostly fun - but be warned. When you're poking at bits
          of a product that frustrates the user they're likely to get...
          frustrated :-) While this won't usually be aimed at you as the tester,
          especially if you frame the test appropriately, it does happen.

          Hope this helps.

          Cheers,

          Adrian
          --
          http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh
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