Validity

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Questioning the effectiveness of usability testing may sound like a relic from the past. In the early years of industrial usability engineering, there was a constant need to justify the activity of (and your job in) usability testing. The book Cost-Justifying Usability (Bias & Mayhew, 2005) speaks to this. Usability testing has since gained significant adoption in organizations. But that doesn’t mean some of the

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Who, as a person, doesn’t want to be desirable? And if you’re in the business of developing products or services, who doesn’t want those to be desirable? There is a deep satisfaction beyond the monetary rewards of providing something that people want (and of course, the money’s nice, too). While we’ve found wide interest in wanting to conduct “desirability testing,” there is much less agreement

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Smoking causes cancer. Warnings on cigarette labels and from health organizations all make the clear statement that smoking causes cancer. But how do we know? Smoking precedes cancer (mostly lung cancer). People who smoke cigarettes tend to get lung and other cancers more than those who don’t smoke. We say that smoking is correlated with cancer. Carefully rule out other causes and you have the ingredients

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Should you ask what people think? Are thoughts and feelings reliable indicators of future behavior? Asking about people’s attitudes—especially about their intentions (likelihood to use, recommend, or purchase)—gets a bad rap in UX research. There’s a sort of folk wisdom in User Experience research: People are poor predictors of their future behavior. And this distrust in what people think is rooted in some well-cited articles.

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You’ve probably heard of the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment by Philip Zimbardo (especially if you took an intro psych class). The shocking results had similar implications to the notorious Milgram experiment and suggested our roles may be a major cause for past atrocities and injustices. You might have also heard about research from Cornell University that found, across multiple studies, that simply having larger serving plates make

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The Net Promoter Score introduced a new language of loyalty. At center stage are the promoters and detractors. These designations are given to respondents who answer the How Likely Are You to Recommend (LTR) question as shown below. But what is the justification for the designations? Were they just arbitrarily created? Do they just sound good for executives? How much faith should we put in

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No one likes getting lost. In real life or digitally. One can get lost searching for a product to purchase, finding medical information, or clicking through a mobile app to post a social media status. Each link, button, and menu leads to decisions. And each decision can result in a mistake, leading to wasted time, frustration, and often the inability to accomplish tasks. But how

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Users' attitudes about an experience affect their future behavior. People who think a website is less usable or less attractive will probably visit less, purchase less, and recommend the website less. Understanding users’ attitudes now (easier to measure) can help predict users’ behavior in the future (harder to measure). At least that’s the idea behind using standardized questionnaires such as the SUPR-Q. But there’s actually not

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Our attitudes both reflect and affect our actions. What we think affects what we do and what we do affects what we think. It’s not a perfect relationship of course. What people say or think doesn’t always directly correspond to actions in easily predictable ways. Understanding and measuring user attitudes early and often can provide a good indication of likely future behaviors. Attitudes can be

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How satisfied are you with your life? How happy are you with your job or your marriage? Are you extroverted or introverted? It’s hard to capture the fickle nature of attitudes and constructs in any measure. It can be particularly hard to do that with just one question or item. Consequently, psychology, education, marketing, and user experience have a long history of recommending multiple items

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