Because if you get it wrong…your customer will be confused…and will simply go somewhere else…!
We provide extensive UX support at each stage of the user-centred design process so that you do NOT get it wrong…:
Knowing and understanding your users is fundamental to creating a successful interactive product or service, hence the importance of obtaining accurate data from well-designed research activities. We can help with the following:
- Desktop > Sector Reporting / Competitor Analysis
- Ethnographic: ‘In The Wild’ / User Diary studies
- Online Surveys
- Focus Groups / 1-2-1
For each of these activities we produce a written report but we offer more than that too: the rich qualitative data that we derive from focus groups and interviews enables us to produce personas – rich fictional representations of your target user group – around which the design team can develop solutions. We can also use the collaborative nature of focus groups to produce an information architecture model – an outline structure of the content and hierarchy of the system under development; we do this by using card sorting techniques which allows users to structure content in a way which supports them in their natural way of doing things.
Data from research needs to be turned into a set of stable requirements in order to ensure that development activity remains focussed, efficient and does not design interactions or functionality which users do not want. To make this happen we offer support in these areas:
- Scenarios / Persona development
- Prototyping: low-fidelity / Axure / Balsamiq etc
The deliverable of this stage is generally a set of wireframes either on paper or are screens created in software eg Axure which create the prototype
Testing and evaluation are vital to the user-centred design process; data from the evaluation provides vital feedback to inform and shape subsequent design iterations. At the start of the development process the evaluation can be informal, drawing on feedback from colleagues but as the process continues there is a need to be more systematic and objective. And it is always a good idea to outsource this testing to a third party in order to remove the risk of developer bias and of making wrong assumptions about users’ abilities; developers and designers often have a different mental model from that of users.
We can tailor our evaluation method to your situation, for example by focussing on a specific element of a user interaction or by testing mobile or tablet only; we are happy to discuss this with you,
Broadly, we offer two types of evaluation: usability testing which involves users directly, and expert evaluation which draws on the expertise of HCI experts to make judgements and predict usability problems.
- Usability testing: user metrics / specific user journey / qualitative / quantitative / demographic participant search and management
- Expert Evaluation: cognitive walkthrough / heuristic / web analytics / accessibility evaluation
- Summary and full reporting and presentation
There are three main reasons why companies invest in usability testing:
- To identify usability problems – for example, what problems do users have when they try to complete the online payment process?
- To take metrics: measures of “goodness” of usability and user experience – for example, how do users quantify their experience? How long does it take users to register for our newsletter? How long does it take them to learn the how the system works?
- To answer specific usability questions – for example, can users book a ticket in an acceptable time?
Usability testing is often considered to be the gold standard of evaluation since the usability problems it uncovers are real problems as opposed to the potential problems predicted by HCI experts but which may not be a problem in reality.
Successful usability testing requires the participation of users who are representative of the target audience. During the test they undertake realistic tasks on the system being evaluated in the presence of a moderator. The moderator directs the participant to visit the aspects of the system that are of interest to the client and encourages the participant to think aloud. Thinking aloud enables observers to understand the user’s expectations and reactions and relate them to what he or she is trying to do. Between 5 and 8 individual user testing sessions are usually needed to uncover most of the usability issues; they are recorded using screen capture software or webcams and the recordings are analysed afterwards.
User testing can be done in a usability lab, at the user’s home or in an environment specific to the application.
We advise UX / Usability testing at all key build and release phases (sprints).
What we offer
We can plan and conduct the entire process including: finding venues for tests, recruitment, moderation and report writing, or we can undertake a part of it (usually moderation and report writing).
We will agree with you the most appropriate type of data to be collected, for example qualitative or quantitative, and the precise metrics to be used.
The end product can be tailored to your needs but is usually one of or a combination of the following:
- Summary report – MS Word format containing the salient points of the study: objectives, methods, main usability issues identified
- Full report – containing executive summary as above; usability issues ranked by severity and frequency of issues. It will include a business case for change, i.e., the benefits of UX design which you will want to know before committing to investment in refresh / new build.
‘The Innovator’s Method': Nathan Furr / Jason Dyer