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I compiled a list of papers that have had a large and lasting influence on the field of Usability and User Experience. I then asked Jim Lewis and Joe Dumas, two pioneers in this field for their top five.  There was considerable overlap in both the papers and topics suggesting that while there may be some disagreement with the conclusions of the papers there is

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When babies are born in the hospital nurses measure every feeding and diaper change. When you want to lose weight with Weight Watchers you log everything you eat using a point system. When you want to improve usability beyond obvious problems you need to record: symptoms:  lower completion rates, lower satisfaction ratings, longer task times or more errors. causes:  what design elements are leading to

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Whether you're conducting an early stage test of a prototype or late validation, these five tips can make any usability test more credible. The tips both temper skepticism about small samples and help you avoid overstating your findings. Count the number of users that experience each problem. Early testing is all about finding and fixing usability problems. But make those problem lists even more helpful

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With usability testing it used to be that we had to make our best guess as how users actually interacted with software outside a contrived lab-setting. We didn't have all the information we needed. Knowing what users did was in a sense a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces. Web-analytics provides us with a wealth of data about actual usage we just never had

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Is manufacturing a science? Is marketing a science? Is engineering a science? None of these are sciences. But they all can be informed by science or ignore science. To be "scientific" is to rely on observation and measurement instead of intuition and superstition.  Controlled experiments, surveys, observational studies, testing and validation can be used in all stages of these industries to make better decisions. These

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It's been ten years since the dot-com flame-out began. In those ten years we've seen the rise of User Experience. User Experience seems to have a lot of buzz and gets attached to all sorts of activities that have little to do with the user or the experience. It has all but replaced the terms usability and human factors in many companies (it is also

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Who would toil away for pennies, completing trivial tasks and answering surveys? A quarter-million users registered with Amazon's Mechanical Turk service.  Just who exactly are the people behind the Mechanical Turk and can we rely on the data we get from the nameless faceless masses ?  In this blog posted on Oracle.com I review two recent studies published and presented at CHI 2010. In one

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If you have an iPhone, you probably love it like I do. You probably also use it a lot like I do. The features and apps and, of course, the user interface make using the iPhone a rich and rewarding experience.  Where I once had to wait till I got to my computer to send an email, Google something or get directions from my location,

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Usability tests are conducted on samples of users taken from a larger user population. In usability testing it is hard enough to recruit and test users let alone select them randomly from the larger user population. Samples in usability studies are almost always convenience samples. That is, we rely on volunteers to participate in our test (a convenience to us). Volunteers, even paid volunteers, are

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