Michael Gaigg: Über UI/UX Design

12Mar0

Highlights of Week 10/2010

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Another week of fantastic articles! A little digging (or reading my blog 😉 ) will save you time and buying books hehe.

13Feb0

Highlights of Week 06/2010

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Maestros, at this point a quick note that I will be back writing my own content shortly (have quiet some stuff in my queue). So long, the highlights of week 6/2010:

15Jan0

Highlights of Week 02/2010

Posted by Michael Gaigg

  • Does usability exist? How Usability is like Intelligence (by Jeff Sauro) - very interesting analogy to intelligence and a first approach to relating the three usability areas Effectiveness, Efficiency and Satisfaction and how (and how much) they contribute to Usability 'u'.
  • The Case Against Vertical Navigation (by Louis Lazaris) - While I think the argumentation in this blog article is mislead by current design trends and biased in some way, I find 'shaking our world' good from time to time so we can re-think the way we're used to doing things.
  • Bad Usability Calendar 2010 - What would be the New Year without another one of their great Usability Calendars - Enjoy!
  • Curating Comments Threads (by Chris Coyier) - interesting discussion and good points about how to make comments more meaningful.
  • Live, Free webcast: Confessions of a Public Speaker - Probably you've heard already, Scott Berkun has his book out, and he's offering a free, 90 min. webcast about it, don't miss, sign up now.
  • The future of UI will be boring (by Scott Berkun) - Scott seems to be on mushrooms lately judging by the level of activity. Here another really good read about the future of UI design, love the 'rookie trap'.
  • jQuery 1.4 has been released (by John Resig) - right in time for jQuery's birthday, big news for a great JavaScript library, better iframe support, flexible events. My tip: get it!!
Suggested reading:
14Oct0

5 Usability Newsletters to Follow

Posted by Michael Gaigg


Yes, you heard right, "Newsletter", this old-fashioned, 'traditional' thing that pollutes our mailboxes. Well, at least according to Jakob Nielsen email newsletters are more powerful than stream-based media (RSS or other social media feeds) in terms of maintaining a customer relationship, i.e. because newsletters need to be deleted manually versus 'dropping off' the users' main page.

5 Newsletters well worth following

Alertbox

Jakob's column on Web usability is probably the most prominent and longest running newsletter out there. Jakob has been publishing his research results and findings in his bi-weekly 'Alertbox' since 1995.

Subscribe to Alertbox

UIEtips

Jared M. Spool and his team publish their high-quality research, interviews with grands like Luke Wroblewski, Donna Spencer, Dana Chisnell et al and special offers on User Interface Engineering. Like Nielsen he's been around for ages and their conference is on sequel 14 this year.

Subscribe to UIEtips

SURL

The Software Usability Research Laboratory (SURL) was initiated in the Fall 1998 under the direction of Barbara S. Chaparro who has over 19 years of experience designing and evaluating user interfaces and conducting research in human-computer interaction (HCI). The goal of the lab is to provide usability services and research to the software development community and to train students on HCI with real-world projects.

Subscribe to SURL

Measuring Usability

Jeff Sauro maintains a very interesting site & newsletter at Measuring Usability. He has been pushing the limits of usability engineering for a few years now in the hopes of moving toward more objective implementations of user data. His articles are published irregularly but when they are, they deliver.

Subscribe to Measuring Usability

UI Design Newsletter

Every month Human Factors International (HFI) reviews the most useful developments in user interface research from major conferences and publications. Their UI Design Newsletter covers the full range of human-computer interaction, including development, HCI issues, I/O devices, multimedia, documentation, and training.

Subscribe to UI Design Newsletter

You know another Newsletter?

Have I missed something? Post it in the comments section.

9Nov0

User-Centered Design (UCD) Methods: Comparison and Overview

Posted by Michael Gaigg

This is the first in a series of blogs describing User-centered Design Methods. My goal is to summarize my experience, insights and findings across multiple literature and compile them into easy and quick to digest pieces for you to consume. I want to encourage you to comment your own experiences and give me feedback on why your company applies certain methods differently or not at all or something else altogether.

I personally don't like the term Usability too much, it's an empty buzz word. It means SOMETHING to everybody but isn't scientific enough to be taken serious. It's often interpreted wrongly and purely misunderstood by most. It's kinda like Psychology, we know it is important to understand fundamental human behavior, their problems and remedies, but I wouldn't pay a dime to go to a Psychologist. But who knows, just as Psychology got its scientific relevance and acknowledgment - partly maybe through the 'invention' of the IQ - hopefully Usability rises up to similar levels (Jeff Sauro offers interesting metrics via SUM (Single Usability Metric).

That's why I like the term User-centered Design. It works wonders with Project Managers and the-like, probably because Design is such an important term in their daily work. And when asked about Usability testing I can conveniently point out that this is only one tool of many in my UCD toolbox. But the really important sales trick is to know which UCD method is best used at what time in the project management cycle.

The following chart compares the most common user-centered design methods, outlines their cost and shows when to use them:

Overview of user-centered design methods

Comparison of User-centerd Design (UCD) Methods
Method Cost Output Sample Size When to Use
Competitive Studies Medium Stat. & Non-Stat. 5 Requirements
Focus Groups High Non-Statistical 6-9 Requirements
Field Studies High Non-Statistical 2-3 Requirements
Heuristic Evaluation Low Statistical 2-3 Design
Paper Prototyping Medium Stat. & Non-Stat. 5 Design
Card Sorting High Statistical 15-20 Design
Participatory Design Low Non-Statistical n/a Design
User Testing Medium Stat. & Non-Stat. 5 Design & Evaluation
Surveys Low Statistical 20+ Requirements & Evaluation
Interviews High Non-Statistical 3-5 Requirements & Evaluation
Server Traffic Log Analysis Low Statistical n/a Evaluation
Search Log Analysis Low Statistical n/a Evaluation

Not long ago, after having completed a full project management cycle (requirements, design, implementation and evaluation) the PM proudly announced to perform a Focus Group with his stakeholders. Showing the ready application, he thought, would surely impress them and lead to valuable feedback for the next milestone. This impulse isn't uncommon but has to be fought before it becomes reality. Does he really want to produce MORE and EXPENSIVE requirements? Because that's the output of Focus Groups. Wouldn't he be better off running 2 iterations of User Testing to reveal usability issues or a Survey to receive input from outside the development environment?

Recommendations

  • Requirements:
    • Competitive Studies
    • Interviews
    • Field Studies
  • Design:
    • Heuristic Evaluation
    • Paper Prototyping
    • User Testing
  • Evaluation:
    • Surveys
    • Server Traffic Log Analysis
    • Search Log Analysis
    • User Testing
  • The Usability effort is NOT proportional to the size of the project. Bigger projects spend less percentage on UCD with same effort. Regardless, as a rule of thumb assign 10% of the projects budget for UCD.
  • Faster iterations of prototype design require less testers

References