You are previewing User-Centered Design.

User-Centered Design

Cover of User-Centered Design by Travis Lowdermilk Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Dedication
  2. Special Upgrade Offer
  3. Preface
    1. Is This Book Right for Me?
    2. Conventions Used in This Book
    3. Using Code Examples
    4. Safari® Books Online
    5. How to Contact Us
    6. Acknowledgments
      1. People Who Helped Me Write This Book
      2. People Who Helped Me with Life
  4. 1. Our World Has Changed
  5. 2. What Is User-Centered Design?
    1. UCD Is Not Usability
    2. UCD Is Not Subjective
    3. UCD Is Not Just Design
    4. UCD Is Not a Waste of Time or Money
    5. UCD Is Not a Bug Report
    6. UCD Is Not a Distraction
  6. 3. Working with Users
    1. What If I Don’t Have Access to Users?
      1. Knowing When to Listen to Users and When to Not
    2. Dealing with Different Types of Users
      1. The Information Overloader
      2. The Control Freak
      3. The Devil’s Advocate
    3. Dealing with Negativity
  7. 4. Having a Plan
    1. How Do I Know Which Plan Is Right for Me?
    2. Creating a Team Mission Statement
    3. Defining Your Project
    4. Collecting User Requirements
    5. Creating Functional Requirements
    6. Documenting Data and Workflow Models
    7. Documenting Prototypes
    8. Reviewing Your Documentation
  8. 5. Creating a Personal Manifesto
    1. Exercising Restraint
    2. Building a Narrative
    3. Creating Personas
    4. Creating Scenarios
  9. 6. Creativity and User Experience
    1. Having User-Experience Goals
    2. Creativity Requires Courage and Hard Work
      1. Pick Up a Pencil
      2. Creative Freedom
      3. Understanding Your Goal
      4. Steal (I Mean Borrow) from Others
    3. Creativity Requires Questioning
  10. 7. Design Principles
    1. Principle of Proximity (Gestalt Principle)
    2. Visibility, Visual Feedback, and Visual Prominence
    3. Hierarchy
    4. Mental Models and Metaphors
      1. Progressive Disclosure
      2. Consistency
      3. Affordance and Constraints
      4. Confirmation
      5. Hick’s Law
      6. Fitt’s Law
  11. 8. Gathering Feedback
    1. How Many Users Will I Need?
    2. Surveys
    3. Conducting Interviews
    4. Task Analysis
    5. Heuristic Evaluation
    6. Storyboarding
    7. Using Prototypes
    8. A/B Testing
  12. 9. Usability Studies
    1. What Are Usability Studies?
    2. Creating a Testing Plan
      1. Introduction
      2. Reassurance
      3. Testing Guidelines
      4. Tasks
      5. Conclusion
      6. Thanks
    3. What You’ll Need
      1. Stopwatch
      2. Notepad
      3. Environment
      4. Spreadsheet or Database
      5. Cameras or Audio Recording
    4. Conducting the Study
    5. Don’t Hesitate to Practice
    6. Compiling Your Findings
  13. 10. You’re Never Finished
    1. It’s Impossible to Get It Right the First Time
    2. Be Prepared to Reboot
    3. Final Thoughts
  14. 11. Other Resources
    1. Twitter
    2. Tools for Prototyping
    3. Websites
  15. A. Sample Project Template
    1. Template
    2. Project Title
      1. Software Development Life Cycle Project Template
      2. Software Development Life Cycle Summary
      3. Project Details
      4. User Requirements
      5. Specifications Sheet (Functional Requirements)
      6. Data and Workflow Models
      7. Data Processes
      8. Prototypes
      9. Maintenance Notes
    3. Example Persona
      1. Dan Welks
    4. Sample Script for a Usability Study
      1. Introduction to Study
  16. B. References
  17. Index
  18. About the Author
  19. Colophon
  20. Special Upgrade Offer
  21. Copyright

Chapter 9. Usability Studies

“People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument.”

Will Rogers

Throughout this book I’ve made a case for the value of involving users in your design. In the previous chapter, we talked about different ways you can collect feedback and receive a broad understanding of the problem space. But what if you’ve already developed an application? How do you know if it’s effectively meeting your users’ needs?

Of course, you could always just ask them. We’ve talked a lot about having discussions with users and asking them questions; that process is still important. Users can tell us a lot about what’s working and what’s not. However, the most powerful way to gain insight into what a user needs is by directly observing them.

There are times when users’ perspectives are skewed and subjective. Try asking users how long it takes for your application to load and you may get a variety of answers. For some users, your application’s load time is just fine; for others it’s painfully slow and unusable. Usability studies could help you determine just how long your application takes to load and, more importantly, how much of an impact it presents for your users. Usability testing quantifies your observations.

In fact, usability studies are one of the key features of user-centered design. If you’re embarking on a website redesign, for instance, how do you know if your new design is better than the original? How do you know if you’ve actually achieved your ...

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