Sunday, January 21, 2007

Usability Training I attended - Part 2

Well, the first day was all about learning the 5 layers of User Experience and then arriving at the UI design. The second day was filled with lots of group tasks which gave us an insight on the real time Usability analysis especially analyzing umpteen number of intranets used by Satyam employees.

Well, if it was the Heuristics analysis (a technique for finding usability problems with a user interface) that needs to be done then, we had to consider 10 major heuristics parameters namely;
  1. Is System status shown? (transfer status,loading status etc..)

  2. Is Error Prevention provided?

  3. Is Error Recovery provided?

  4. Is there Minimalist Design? (to minimize visual overload)

  5. Is User control & freedom provided? (especially in controlling a task or situation)

  6. Is Consistency maintained? (in terms of UI, IA, task flows etc)

  7. Is there Recognition rather than recall? (Is approriate & standard icons used)

  8. Match between real & virtual world? (Is metaphors used easy to understand)

  9. Is Help & documentation provided? (both situational & pro-active help features)
The key take being that UI plays a vital role in the adoption of a product. "Microsoft" being the leaders when it comes to adopting Heuristics techniques.

When it comes to methods of collecting User feedback there are several techniques namely;
  1. Direct Interviews

  2. Usability Lab testing - My team UXM is going to have one very soon :-)

  3. Questionnaire Method

  4. Contextual Enquiry

  5. Cognitive Modelling - In Market Research jargon it is "Simple Stratified Sampling - Stratified sampling techniques are generally used when the population is heterogeneous, or dissimilar, where certain homogeneous, or similar, sub-populations can be isolated (strata). "

We also discussed the various types of users basis their capability(efficiency & effectiveness) to use a product or website. They are;

  1. Novices - Level 1

  2. Advanced Beginners - Level 2

  3. Experienced Users - Level 3

  4. Expert Users - Level 4

The key take being that before developing any application we need to take into account the type of users who are going to access it. The startegy, scope, structure, skeleton & surface layers drastically change according to the end users.

What if we don't get to know the real users? How do we build a product for them? Simple, use common sense! Build "Brand personas" for the product or website.Each persona is a fictional character. The crucial thing being the brand personas must be as close as possible to the real users. 3 steps to be covered in this;

  1. Develop a list of personas - Profile of various individuals involved with and affected by the product

  2. Define the personas - Give Name & description

  3. Define the personas goals - This is very important. Design decisions will be based on a persona's goals

We also discussed navigation design. The key take being that navigation must be "Wide & Shallow" with 7+- 2 menus.

Well, at the end Atul concluded by showing us the diagram below;

A nice way to conclude :-)


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