by July 6th, 2011
At UPA 2011, Michael Rawlins, Lori Hawkins, and Jeff Sauro presented about Keystroke Level Modeling (KLM), a tool for estimating the actual movements and the time to perform each step that a particular UI design requires for users to complete a given task. KLM offers a way to analyze the time on task required by a design rather than attempting to empirically test time on task, which is difficult to do meaningfully with tight project time frames, limited numbers of participants, and the constrained interactions of many usability test situations. Furthermore, evaluating time on task during a typical usability test (without extra considerations) can usually only return meaningful data when the goals of the product focus on the first experience a user has, such as with a website or kiosks user interfaces. Time on task data from usability testing becomes less meaningful when evaluating applications where use over time must be considered, even when efficiency is a key usability goal. Since KLM can analyze the optimal possible time on task rather than the initial experience, it can provide a more accurate measure the success of a design where efficiency is key to success in a tool that will be used repeatedly over time.
The presenters also noted that, because it offers early indicators of the potential success of a design, KLM is useful for evaluating design direction with stakeholders. The consistent measurements provide reliable metrics to help stakeholders evaluate a design against established business and usability goals. Read the rest of this post »
by June 29th, 2011
The last session I attended at UPA 2011 Chauncey Wilson’s “Brainstorming and Beyond: Ideation, Innovation, and Insight.” The slides from his presentation aren’t yet available online (I’ll update this post with the link when available), but I’m including an earlier version that he presented with Amy Cueva. In the session he shares a number of alternatives to the traditional brainstorming techniques, including variations to ensure that all participants feel comfortable contributing.
One alternative technique that I particularly liked was braindrawing (see slide 26). Chauncey noted that this is a useful way to develop conceptual designs, ideas for icons, screen layouts, new feature designs, and even requirements. As I presented on the topic of usability requirements, this last benefit caught my attention. Early in my usability career, I led JAD sessions with SMEs, capturing their input in the form of white board drawings that they added to. The meetings were very successful and generated good design concepts and requirements. Still, What we might have created if we had used an approach like braindrawing to gather individual ideas and then combine the best rather than working on a single concept as a group.
I’ve also used conceptual drawings to test requirements as they were being developed. With a braindrawing session, instead of my presenting conceptual design sketches (usually in the form of incomplete user interfaces that I refer to as “sketchlets”), participants could sketch their interpretations of gathered requirements to test the soundness and completeness of requirements.
Another great application that Chauncey shared is to extract ideas from collected user research. I spoke about using user research in collaborative requirements workshops. Braindrawing would be a great technique to add to to the toolbox with analysis techniques such as affinity diagramming and relationship diagrams. Read the rest of this post »
by June 28th, 2011
Last week, I attended UPA 2011. The theme this year was Designing for Social Change. The opening keynote speaker Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager at Facebook, shared his research (an earlier version of his presentation available on Slideshare) into social networks. Among the many insights of the presentation, his research showed that the change agents today are not the thought leaders or the “influentials,” but regular people connected in clusters of individuals who themselves are linked to other clusters (see slides 93 and 9). A single, regular person had the potential to reach millions people at the Friends of Friends of Friends level.
But the real challenge is not to connect individuals to the world, but connect individuals more richly to their own networks and in turn connect those networks in a way that influences social change. The potential of social isn’t that I can read 1000 reviews by strangers, but that I can read reviews by people I trust already in my network, strengthening my trust in the product or service and prompting me to spread that trust to other members of my networks. It comes down to relationships.
This points to a growing need to rethink the way that we design. The term “user experience design” (UXD) has gained currency, but is still being defined. Work is still needed for UXD to reach its full potential to deliver richer experiences to increasingly sophisticated and demanding users. Read the rest of this post »