7 Ways to Improve the Success of Your Research

The best-laid plans of researchers often go awry. No matter how carefully a research project is planned, things may still go wrong. There are many threats to the success of a customer research project. At both big and small companies, at agencies and on the client side, research projects can fail to live up to

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Reflecting on the One-Way Mirror

They’re the stuff of movies, TV shows, and usability labs. One-way mirrors (or two-way mirrors depending on who you ask) are an enduring symbol of interrogation, psychology experiments, focus groups, and usability tests. This special piece of glass is brightly lit from one side to allow people to inconspicuously observe people on the other side.

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The Facilitation Spectrum: From Babysitter to Therapist

Facilitation is a valuable skill for collecting data from participants. It’s used extensively with several methods including usability tests, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. A good facilitator can ensure sessions run smoothly, make participants feel comfortable, and extract the right data in even the most challenging situations or with less-than-cooperative participants. Not all studies involving

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The Origins and Evolution of Thinking Aloud

“I’d like you to think aloud as you use the software.” Having participants think aloud as they use an interface is a cornerstone technique of usability testing. It’s been around for much of the history of user research to help uncover problems in an interface. Despite its popularity, there is surprisingly little consistency on how

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How to Handle Multiple Comparisons

You go to your doctor for a checkup. You’re feeling fine but as a matter of procedure, your doctor orders a battery of tests and scans to be sure all is well. She runs 30 tests in total. A few days later she calls and tells you one of the tests came back positive–an indication

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Top 10 UX Metrics, Methods & Measurement Articles from 2015

It was another busy year on MeasuringU.com with 49 new articles, a new book and UX Bootcamp. In 2015, our articles were served up 2.3 million times to 900,000 visitors. Thank You! We covered topics including the essentials of usability testing, finding the right sample size, and better ways of measuring the customer experience. Here,

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5 Types of Usability Tests

While we often talk about usability tests as if there is one type of usability test, the truth is there are several varieties of usability tests. Each type addresses different research goals. Don’t confuse the five usability testing types with the interface type or the testing modes. Interface types are mobile (website or apps), desktop

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How Speeders Affect Online Research

Speeders are survey participants who finish too quickly, even impossibly quickly. How much do they affect the quality of online research? This question has increasing relevance as online research proliferates, including unmoderated usability studies, since an increasing amount of data comes from paid panel participants. With in-person studies, we see each participant’s engagement level. With

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A 6-Hour Usability Test in an Agile Environment

In the fast-paced world of Agile development, where it’s difficult to find time to get data from users, unmoderated remote testing gives us a way to quickly collect feedback on interface design. For example, I recently worked with a web-app product team to determine whether users find their new file manager easier to use than

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The New Face of Usability Testing

How are you reading this page? Are you at work? At home? Are you checking your phone or email as you read? Are you eating? Are pets or family members nearby? Although we rarely interact with websites or software in isolation, without distractions, for decades when we spoke of usability testing, we pictured a quiet

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