Many of us in the field people now generally refer to as user experience have long used levels of severity as a means of indicating the criticality of a product’s or service’s usability issues to clients.
Over the past several years, I’ve grown increasingly dissatisfied with the vague and somewhat solipsistic nature of the gradations UX professionals typically use to describe the severity of usability issues. High, medium, and low don’t begin to sufficiently explain the potential brand and business impacts usability issues can have.
After incrementally iterating on several existing classifications of severity, I finally decided in late 2008 to simply create some new ones, which I’ll present in this column. For lack of a better term, I call them business-aligned usability ratings. Read More
Imagine, if you will, that you’re working for a small Web-application startup. For the sake of argument, let’s say the company wants to build a Web-based application to help product marketers and brand managers—the primary user group—manage and maintain the digital assets for their company’s products and services.
Further assume the application would also allow users to publish updated digital collateral to the distribution channel—that is, resellers such as retail stores and ecommerce sites who sell a company’s products.
The startup has asked you to create a user interface for this Web application, and you’ve struggled for weeks to come up with an elegant, efficient way for users to quickly and efficiently upload, manage, and publish a wide variety of digital collateral, including product box shots, spec sheets, warranties, coupons, rebates, and so on. Read More
This column was spurred by a simple question I posted to Twitter in mid-August: Can designers effectively usability test their own designs?
This isn’t just an academic question. With the current state of the economy and many UX teams downsizing, it’s entirely probable that your company will call upon you to both create a UX design and do usability testing to validate it. In the future, as the field of user experience progresses, agile UX becomes more common, and functional disciplines become more blended, I think this will occur more and more.
People have often likened doing both design and usability testing on the same project to defendants serving as their own counsel in a court of law. How does that saying go? Something like this: A lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client. Is testing one’s own design a similarly bad idea? What are the pitfalls? Are there any advantages? And most important, if you must do it, what pitfalls should you beware of? Read More