Developing effective websites often requires organisational change to a culture where people at all levels in the organisation adopt behaviours that make a 'good user experience' an important goal. A good user experience is one where a user achieves their goals and is highly satisfied with the process; it will encourage reuse and recommendation of the site. If the organisation is not focused on providing a good user experience, they will be unable to build an effective web site. Understanding the user experience, through research methods like usability testing, can be a powerful tool in driving the organisational change needed to develop effective websites.
We consider three elements to be key in any user experience research we undertake:
We are often asked 'how many testers do we need for usability testing?'. The answer is 'it depends'. Are you trying to:
Topics: Usability Testing
Having been approached by a large national charity to develop a new information architecture for their website, we were about to suggest a traditional user-centred approach - open card sorting followed by iterative testing of a prototype - when we learnt that the client had already experienced a card sorting exercise, along with usability testing, carried out by another agency.
I recently attended one of e-consultancy's roundtable meetings, where a dozen or so corporate members share knowledge: the topic of this one was 'User Experience'. It was an interesting couple of hours with some useful insights provided by the participants, who included benchmarking, analytics, survey and usability agencies like Web Usability. What struck me during the discussion was that most of the participants' activities focused on understanding the user experience rather than helping the clients do something useful with the insights gained from their work.
Glad to see that Jakob Nielsen has recently restated his position about how many users you need to test with in usability studies - the answer being 5.
We were testing a site the other day for a major retailer that didn't have many of the features that are now considered pretty standard for ecommerce sites. It was not clear what they sold, it had busy cluttered pages, you had to register, there was no persistent basket and much else.
Responsive design seems like a brilliant solution for coping with the rise in mobile users but what are its pros and cons, and what has to be considered to make it effective?
Web Usability has recently been working with digital agency Front Page doing early stage prototype testing on some designs Front Page is developing for one of their travel industry clients. We tested flat images linked together with simple hotspots to create a browsing experience. A number of issues - both strategic and tactical - emerged which will inform the continuing development of the site. By testing at this early stage the client saved money because no coding had been done and avoided the problem of 'invested effort' where designers and clients had become so attached to the designs that there was resistance to change. And the changes will improve the user experience and increase conversion. So win-win all round!