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Frameworks for Classifying UI Problems

Finding and fixing problems is a core activity of much of UX research (similar to identifying and preventing software bugs and product defects). The problems found while users attempt tasks are often broadly referred to as UI problems because the friction points tend to involve issues that blur the lines between bugs, functional deficits, and

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A New Statistical Approach for Predicting Usability Problems

In an earlier article, we described the most common methods for modeling the total number of unique usability problems uncovered in a usability test: the average problem occurrence (p), adjusted problem occurrence (adj-p), beta-binomial, and specific problem probabilities. While these methods provide reasonably accurate predictions of the total number of unique problems, there is still

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How to turn user videos into insights

How to Turn User Videos into Insights

Finding and fixing usability problems in an interface leads to a better user experience. Beyond fixing problems with current functionality, participant behavior can also reveal important insights into needed new features. These problems and insights are often best gleaned from observing participants interacting with a website, app, or hardware device during actual use or simulated use (during

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How to Assign the Severity of Usability Problems

Finding and fixing usability problems is fundamental to improving the user experience. How common problems are (the frequency) and how impactful they are (severity) should be treated independently in order to meet that goal. While it’s generally straightforward to count how many times you observe a problem in a usability test, assigning severity ratings to

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7 Methods for Discovering Usability Problems

Finding and fixing usability problems in an interface leads to a better user experience. We often think of usability testing as the only method for evaluating the usability of a website or application. There are, however, other methods that can help uncover usability problems. These methods can be broken down into empirical (usability testing, surveys,

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7 Reasons Usability Problems Don’t Get Fixed

Ever wonder why you keep encountering the same usability problems on the websites and apps you use? Sure, many organizations don’t conduct usability tests on their products, but many do, what explains the persistence of such problems? Finding and fixing usability problems is one of the most effective ways for improving the user experience on

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Is Observing One User Worse Than Observing None?

Seeing is believing. Observing just a handful of users interact with a product can be more influential than reading pages of a professionally done report or polished presentation. But what if a stakeholder only has time to watch two or just one of the users in a usability study? Are there circumstances where watching some

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Are Severe Problems Uncovered Earlier in Usability Tests?

After I conducted my first usability test in the 1990’s I was struck by two things: Just how many usability problems are uncovered and how some problems repeat after observing just a few users. In almost every usability test I’ve conducted since then I’ve continued to see this pattern. Even after running 5 to 10

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6 Steps to Identifying Usability Problems

While humans are error prone, many of the unintended actions, delays, frustrations and confusions come from interfaces: Pushing instead of pulling a door Not being able to set the time on a clock Unintentionally voting for the wrong candidate on a ballot Turning on the wrong burner on a stove Not understanding an error message

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Rating the Severity of Usability Problems

If only one out of 1000 users encounters a problem with a website, then it’s a minor problem. If that sentence bothered you, it should. It could be that that single problem resulted in one visitor’s financial information inadvertently being posted to the website for the world to see. Or it could be a slight

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