Blogs

Every field has its set of hot-button issues and usability is no exception. Here are six topics that tend to generate some passionate discussions. 1.    Quantifying usability: Usability is all about the user (i.e. people). Talk of using numbers to describe human computer interaction gets some upset. Usability is typically considered a qualitative activity and not the place for cold-number crunching. Throw some probability and

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It depends (you saw that coming). Context matters in deciding what a good completion rate is for a task, however, knowing what other task completion rates are can be a good guide for setting goals. An analysis of almost 1200 usability tasks shows that the average task-completion rate is 78%. The Fundamental Usability Metric A binary task completion rate is one of the most fundamental

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Ask a user to complete a task and they can tell you how difficult it was to complete. But can a user tell you how difficult the task will be without even attempting it? It turns out the task description reveals much of the task's complexity, so users can predict actual task ease and difficulty reasonably well. The gap in expectations can be a powerful

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Many companies understand the importance of user centered design in theory. Few can track how money invested in improving the user experience translates into profitability. By quantifying design efforts and outcomes all organizations can benefit from understanding how improving the user experience can improve revenue. The Engine of Growth If you can imagine revenue being the final gear in a business machine designed to produce

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A lot of effort goes into simplifying interactions, reducing bugs and enhancing features. While these changes may be obvious to some, they can be taken for granted by others (especially those in charge of budgets). It is valuable to document both the effort that goes into improving the user experience and the result of all that effort. You'll want to measure the interface before and

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Just because customer information is qualitative doesn't mean you can't use some quantitative methods to help interpret and prioritize your findings. Quantifying the frequency of comments with a confidence interval helps you estimate a sentiment in the total user population. Analyzing and prioritizing comments is a common task for the user researcher. Open ended comments take all sorts of forms. Reasons why customers are promoters

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How usable is a website or software application? To know if design changes improved the usability of an application, you first need a baseline measure of usability from a benchmark test. Here are 10 tips to use when planning your next benchmark test. Recruit for representativeness over randomness: It will be difficult to select a random group of users for your tests. Worry less about

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Timing, luck and perseverance all play a role in making a successful product. But so does observing and understanding your customers' problems. The number of customers you need to observe will depend on how common customer behaviors are and how certain you need to be. Building a successful product means building something that customers want or need and are willing to pay for. It's not

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It is the 25th anniversary of the creation of the most used questionnaire for measuring perceptions of usability. The System Usability Scale (SUS) was released into this world by John Brooke in 1986. It was originally created as a "quick and dirty" scale for administering after usability tests on systems like VT100 Terminal ("Green-Screen") applications. SUS is technology independent and has since been tested on

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Responses to rating-scale data typically don't follow a normal distribution. However, this is unlikely to affect the accuracy of statistical calculations because the distribution of error in the measurement is normally distributed. Top-box scoring of rating-scale data can provide an easy way to summarize or segment your data in the absence of a benchmark or comparison test. Another reason top-box scores are used with rating-scale

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