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:
- Paper iPad - you don't have the money for a real iPad? Make one out of paper 😉
- Using a Pre-Launch Checklist for your Website (by Ben Gremillion) - building a website is fun and believe me, it's funnier to follow a protocol. This one is a great start.
- Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy (by Derek Sivers) - Value your first follower, embrace him/her as equal, the rest will follow...
- If 1 of 5 users has a problem in a usability test will it impact 1% or 20% of all users? (by Jeff Sauro) - take observed usability issues serious, there are more than likely critical issues.
- Google Maps Get Labs With 9 Cool New Features (by Stan Schroeder) - nothing fancy when you work in a mapping company like ESRI, but probably a heck-full of work for google.
What is World Usability Day?
"World Usability Day was founded in 2005 as an initiative of the Usability Professionals' Association to ensure that services and products important to human life are easier to access and simpler to use. Each year, on the second Thursday of November, over 200 events are organized in over 43 countries around the world to raise awareness for the general public, and train professionals in the tools and issues central to good usability research, development and practice."
"It's about making our world work better. It's about "Making Life Easy" and user friendly. Technology today is too hard to use."
A word about Usability
Usability is well-defined but often simply summarized in three key questions:
- Who are your users?
- What are their goals?
- How can you help them achieve those goals?
Another Key Question to Ask
Today and here I want add another key question that businesses need to ask themselves:
- What is the business reason for supporting this goal (=task)?
Without asking this question it's really hard to generate revenue and being successful in both, terms of business and metrics to evaluate success. As a side-note: It also gets more difficult to sell the benefits of Usability and it's methodologies to stakeholders.
We, the people, have been around for quite some years now. Computers, software, applications and the web not so much. Therefore it is clear that applications have to adjust to the people and not the other way round.
Many design principles have developed throughout the decades, but the main difference of user-centered design to others is that
UCD tries to optimize the user interface around how people can, want, or need to work, rather than forcing the users to change how they work to accommodate the system or function.
Purpose of UCD
UCD answers questions about users and their tasks and goals, then use the findings to make decisions about development and design.
UCD seeks to answer the following questions:
- Who are the users of the application?
- What are the users’ main tasks and goals?
- What are the users’ experience levels with the application?
- What functions do the users need from the application?
- What information might the users need, and in what form do they need it?
- How do users think the application should work?
Benefits & Return of Investment
- Increased usability
- Higher degree of customer satisfaction
- Continued business
- Higher revenues
- Project management optimization
- Focus on important functionality early
- Unforeseen user requirements
- Reduced costs
- Training costs
- Help-Desk calls and service costs
- Focus on users’ needs, tasks and goals
- Spend time on initial research and requirements
- Identify your target audience and observe them (accomplishing their tasks)
- Let users define product requirements
- Emphasis on iterative design process
- Evaluate system on real target users
Nobody could state it simpler than Susan Dray: "If the user can’t use it, it doesn’t work".