Column: Practical Usability

UXmatters has published 57 editions of the column Practical Usability.

Top 3 Trending Practical Usability Columns

  1. The Biggest Mistakes in User Research, Part 1

    Practical Usability

    Moving toward a more usable world

    A column by Jim Ross
    January 7, 2019

    If you break user research down to its essential steps—watching people perform their tasks and interviewing them—it sounds deceptively easy. However, as anyone who has conducted user research knows, it involves much more than that, and it’s a lot harder than it looks. In this two-part column, I’ll discuss some of the biggest mistakes people make when planning and conducting user research and how to avoid them.

    Conducting General User Research Without Any Focus

    If you have all the time and money in the world, embarking on a user-research study with the vague goal of learning about a product’s users is a fine idea. However, in the real world, you’ll rarely have the luxury to pursue such broad, undefined user-research goals. So, unless you have a lot of time, money, and a limitless number of participants, doing general, unfocused research produces general, unfocused findings. Such research rarely elicits enough information to draw useful conclusions. Read More

  2. Communicating User Research Findings

    Practical Usability

    Moving toward a more usable world

    A column by Jim Ross
    February 6, 2012

    “No one reads reports!”
    “PowerPoint must die!”

    We’ve all read monotonous reports and struggled to remain awake during boring presentations, but must all deliverables be interminably dull? Conveying user research findings so people can understand them, believe them, and know how to act on your recommendations can be challenging. And providing enough detail without boring your audience is a difficult balance. But there are some best practices in communicating user research findings that can make them more effective—and even entertaining. Read More

  3. The Biggest Mistakes in User Research, Part 2

    Practical Usability

    Moving toward a more usable world

    A column by Jim Ross
    February 4, 2019

    User research is challenging, and it’s all too easy to make mistakes. In Part 1 of this two-part series of columns, I discussed some of the biggest user-research mistakes that teams make, including the following:

    • conducting general user research without any focus
    • dismissing client and stakeholder knowledge about users
    • relying too much or too little on what participants say
    • separating research from design
    • leaving others out of the research
    • bringing too many people along on field studies
    • being too inflexible
    • not providing enough time for user research
    • scheduling sessions that are too short

    Now, in Part 2, I’ll describe eight additional mistakes and provide advice about how to avoid them. Read More

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