In Part One of our series on usability testing, we discussed what testing is all about, why it’s important and the best times to do it. Now, let’s explore some of our UX agency’s favorite strategies and best practices for gathering the data needed to make smart, user-centered product decisions.
Science is all about formulating a hypothesis, gathering data to test it and validating if it’s true or not. Whether scientists want to develop something new or make an improvement to an existing formula, they would never release it to the public without testing it first. No matter how great the idea is, they know that testing is the only way to prove their theory and know with reasonable certainty that it will work.
If scientists have proven the value of a testing process, like usability testing, why don’t more designers and business professionals do it?
In this two-part story, we’ll explore what usability testing is all about, why it’s a crucial step in the product design process and how to conduct tests like a pro.
Your enterprise product is travelling toward an exciting destination in the distance. You’ve mapped the course, hired the best crew and prepped all the legs of the trip to your target port.
As you set off, the crew is optimistic about the voyage ahead, and everyone is moving in the same direction. But over time, things begin to change. A few crew members leave your ship to work on another one. The Captain and First Officer take a shortcut to get ahead of a competitor’s fleet, only to run into unexpected storms. Then, your ship needs repairs, so you make a detour for maintenance and improvements.
How do you keep everyone on track throughout the journey so you can accomplish your mission and deliver the products your customers need?
Before long, these minor changes snowball, and you discover your ship is quite far off course. Your ship will now arrive far away from it’s intended destination. The story of this ship relates to your product’s journey and destination. How do you keep everyone on track throughout the journey so you can accomplish your mission and deliver the products your customers need?
This is the question that many product owners and business leaders face every day.
Continue Reading “Aligning UX Decisions in the Enterprise”
It’s 7:55 a.m., and you’re standing at the door of your doctor’s office waiting for them to open. After feeling terrible for the past three days, it’s finally time to get help. At 8:01, the receptionist opens the door, brings you to the front desk to fill out paperwork and ushers you into the exam room. When the doctor walks in, she checks your vitals and asks what brought you in today.
You: “I’m miserable. I’ve had a fever, nausea and this weird rash on my arm for the past three days.”
Doctor: “Ok, I’ll write you a prescription. Feel better!”
Writing a prescription before even discussing the symptoms or analyzing the root cause? Unless your doctor has gone off the deep end, that will never happen. Aside from violating ethical standards, it’s unlikely that the prescription would solve the problem because she didn’t even diagnose your illness. Chances are, you’ll end up right back in that same office a few days later feeling frustrated and even worse.
Be a good design doctor: Get to the heart of the problem before developing a cure.
This scenario may seem ridiculous in a medical setting, but it happens every day in UI/UX design. Our team at Drawbackwards has “patients” constantly come into our office searching for a cure for their latest ailment.
“We just need to fix these three pages,” they say.
“I need an app,” they explain.
“We need to design this one thing, and it has to be really fast and easy.”
We can’t blame them for asking. Like you, they’re probably getting similar requests from internal stakeholders and trying to be the hero that solves the user experience problem. Instead of immediately writing a prescription, we recommend being a good design doctor who takes a different approach: Get to the heart of the problem before developing a cure. Here’s how…
During the 1900s, a few of the most visionary businessmen in history used design thinking to grow a new drink into one of the biggest brands in history — and then almost lost everything.
Coca-Cola started as an accidental invention that exploded during the Prohibition Era as an alternative to alcohol. With the invention of TV and radio, Coke rode the advertising wave and became a mainstream staple of American life. By the 1980s, the company was netting over $600 million each year in profits, had billions of fans around the world and could do no wrong…until they did.
In the 1950s, two boys were growing up in Northern California unaware that their collaborative designs would change the world. One was fascinated with electronics from an early age and built his first computer in the 1970s with a high school classmate, who introduced him to another guy who loved computers, too. They became fast friends and went on to work together at Hewlett-Packard and Atari. The two made a great team because, on top of having similar skill sets and passions for computers, one was more interested in technical problem solving, while the other was more of a visionary.
A few years later, they decided to put their partnership to the test and start a new company. Together, they created groundbreaking technology, completely changed the game and became infamous names known around the world: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
The beginning of the year marks the perfect time for all of us to reflect on where we’ve been, what we’re doing now and what lies ahead. As UX designers who are hungry to learn and grow, we’re constantly keeping a pulse on the design industry and looking for ways to help our clients and peers stay ahead of the game. Now that the New Year’s Eve countdown has ended and the Times Square ball has dropped, we’re looking into our own crystal ball and counting down the top three UX trends we predict you’ll see more of in 2016.
“We’re struggling with UX.”
It’s a statement our team hears constantly from businesses of all sizes and industries. What they usually mean is something like:
- “Our customers are having a hard time using our product.”
- “It takes our employees too much time and too many steps to use our internal system.”
- “We’ve added all these cool features, but the results aren’t what we thought they would be.”
These problems usually stem from a design process that’s engineering- or development-driven, instead of user-driven. Like a sports star that’s an individual winner but whose teammates feel left behind, products often have tons of features that functionally work, but their users still feel lost and aren’t able to accomplish their tasks.
Some of the world’s greatest achievements have come from dissatisfaction.
The desire to have things better than they are.
- Where are you dissatisfied?
- Why is it unsatisfactory?
- How will you resolve it?
When the passion and drive is built up enough, things change.
Where is your dissatisfaction and inner drive to change things the strongest? Wherever that it is, that’s your new obsession, new passion, new company and new product.
At Drawbackwards, our product development process for Forward Framework and WordPress Starter Theme came out of this dissatisfaction. We were starting our WordPress sites from a less-than-optimal place every time. Being a team that loves the details, we carefully crafted a custom starting point on each project that lines up our code and workflow for success.
Now, with our framework and theme, we can start from a better place. You can too. And we can all be a little less dissatisfied.
One of the best ways to improve and innovate a product or service experience is to observe time’s impact upon it. Crafting the presentation of time is one of the least discussed and most important UX design principles to leverage.
Create with Time in Mind
Designers and developers should craft products with reverence to the creative power of time. The best product designers understand how time affects the end experience. Use materials that weather time well. Architects use metal walls that rust over time to the desired color and texture. Packaging designers create boxes that allow for products to be slowly revealed and revered through the time it takes to open them (think Apple’s iPhone box).