Anybody Can Do Usability

This page displays take away information I have saved from articles read focused on Testing, Usability, Accessibility. I use this as a reference point for research in the Testing, Usability, Accessibility category.

Take Aways:

Small usability tests:

  • Day 1: Plan the study and write the test tasks.

  • Day 2: Test 5 users for about 1 hour each (cleaning up between sessions).

  • Day 3: Analyze the findings and write up the top recommended design improvements.

Usability's ROI is huge: if you've never done any testing, you can typically at least double your conversion rate or other key business metrics.

Usability is like cooking dinner:

  • Everybody needs the outcome: As with your need to eat, your company needs to meet its business goals, which it can do much better if the design has been improved through usability.

  • Anybody can perform the most basic activities: Most anyone can fry a chicken, cook potatoes, run a quick test with 5 customers, or score a design for compliance with a checklist of usability guidelines.

  • Anyone can learn these basics pretty quickly: They're not all that difficult.

  • There's a level of excellence beyond the basics: Going to a fancy restaurant and eating a meal cooked by a master chef is vastly different than eating something you throw together yourself in 20 minutes. Similarly, a usability expert will give you insights into your users' needs and your possible design directions that are much deeper than advice you'd get from someone whose main job is in a different field.

  • Skill levels form a continuum from beginner to expert; it's not a dichotomy. Every time you learn something, your performance improves. Usability and cooking are particularly suited for continuing education, because anything you learn will remain useful for many years to come. This is why I place so much emphasis on usability training: you get better results for every extra bit you learn.