User Research

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UX ( 74 )
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You often hear that research results are not "valid" or "reliable." Like many scientific terms that have made it into our vernacular, these terms are often used interchangeably. In fact, validity and reliability have different meanings with different implications for researchers. Validity refers to how well the results of a study measure what they are intended to measure. Contrast that with reliability, which means consistent

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In 1963 Yale Psychologist Stanley Milgram paid volunteers $4 to "teach" anotherĀ  volunteer, called the "learner" new vocabulary words. If the learner got the words wrong, he or she received an electric shock! Or, so the teacher/volunteer was led to believe. In fact, no shock was given, instead a person working with Milgram pretended, with great gusto, that they were being shocked. So while no

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Which design will improve the user experience? One of the primary goals of conducting user research is to establish some causal relationship between a design and a behavior. Typically, we want to see if a design element or changes to an interface lead to a more usable experience (experiment) or if more desirable outcomes are associated with some aspect in our designs (correlation). Even though

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For as long as user interfaces have had icons, there have been strong opinions about what makes an effective icon. From the business analyst to the CEO, we all like to tell the designer what's "intuitive" and what's "terrible." Instead of making decisions based on the pay grade of the people in a meeting, consider using some data driven approaches to make better decisions. While

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There are a lot of mistakes that can be made when conducting any type of research. But almost all research contains some mistakes in methodology, measurement or interpretation. Rarely do the mistakes render the research useless. To help make your next user research endeavor more useful, here are five common mistakes to avoid. 1. Usability tests that are actually feature reviews: If you ask users

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When we have a good experience with a service or product, we enjoy it, tell our friends, and will probably use that service or product again. But when we have a frustrating or poor experience, such as the occurrence of message boxes relentlessly popping up during sporting events, we hate the product, tell our friends about our bad experience, post it to Twitter, and we

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In 1906 Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, observed that wealth was unequally distributed in Italy. He noted that 80% of the land and wealth was owned by 20% of the people. A similar relationship can be observed in the wealth and income across most countries. A minority of the population tends to generate the majority of the income and controls most of the wealth. For

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You can't conduct user research without users. But rarely can we talk to all users in the population we're studying, whether they be consumers, lawyers, doctors or iPhone users. Instead, we need to select a subset of the population and use this sample of users to make general inferences about the unknown total user population. This can be used for estimating attitudes toward products, average

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Computers are supposed to make life easier. There are many reasons why users are forced to take extra steps, remember things or be inconvenienced just to accomplish tasks. Not all of them are good reasons. I've listed 14 of the more frequent/painful burdens I experience in the hope we can shift more of the burden from the human back to the computer. Asking for your

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