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Why Hiring Usability Experts Can Save Your Bacon, And Bottom Line

Why Hiring Usability Experts Can Save Your Bacon, and Bottom Line

  • April 29, 2016

If you haven’t already incorporated usability into your product design process, you might wonder why it is necessary. After all, it’s certainly possible to release a working, bug-free product without performing any usability work at all. But incorporating user-centered design principles can lead to a much-improved product in several areas. 

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UX Without User Research Is Not UX

UX Without User Research Is Not UX

  • August 18, 2014

Summary: UX teams are responsible for creating desirable experiences for users. Yet many organizations fail to include users in the development process. Without customer input, organizations risk creating interfaces that fail.

A website’s (or product’s) success depends on how users perceive it. Users assess the usefulness and ease of use of websites as they interact with them, forming their conclusions in seconds—sometimes milliseconds. 

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20 Coolest Augmented Reality Experiments In Education So Far

20 Coolest Augmented Reality Experiments in Education So Far

  • October 1, 2012

Augmented reality is exactly what the name implies — a medium through which the known world fuses with current technology to create a uniquely blended interactive experience. While still more or less a nascent entity in the frequently Luddite education industry, more and more teachers, researchers, and developers contribute their ideas and inventions towards the cause of more interactive learning environments. Many of these result in some of the most creative, engaging experiences imaginable, and as adherence grows, so too will students of all ages.

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Finding Out What They Think: A Rough Primer To User Research, Part 2

Finding Out What They Think: A Rough Primer To User Research, Part 2

  • May 15, 2012
[The following is the second of two articles by college professor and researcher Ben Lewis-Evans on games user research methodology (see Part 1, which covered focus groups, heuristics, and questionnaires, as well as giving a grounding in the topic of user research in general. In this article, Lewis-Evans covers interviews, observational methods (including think out loud and contextual inquiry), game metrics, and biometrics.]

Interviews

Much like a questionnaire — a topic covered in the last installment — an interview is for collecting subjective data. However, the face-to-face nature of an interview means that you can be more interactive in your data collection, which if done correctly, can lead to very rich data. However, it is also obviously quite time-consuming, and it is harder to analyze and quantify the data you get at the end.

The quality of what you get out of an interview will also depend greatly on your own skill as an interviewer, so here are some tips.

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Finding Out What They Think: A Rough Primer To User Research, Part 1

Finding Out What They Think: A Rough Primer To User Research, Part 1

  • May 2, 2012
[In this first article in a new series, college professor and user research Ben Lewis-Evans takes a look at different methods of game user research, offering up a handy guide to different ways you can collect useful information about your game.]

This article, and its forthcoming followup, is intended to give a rough idea to developers of several different methods that can be used in games user research.

However, many, many books have been written on research methodology and I cannot cover everything. Therefore these two articles cannot be taken as completely comprehensive.

In the first of the articles I will be covering a few general points about Games User Research and then discussing three methods, focus groups, heuristic evaluation and questionnaires in some detail.

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Why You Only Need To Test With 5 Users

Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users

  • November 15, 2010

Some people think that usability is very costly and complex and that user tests should be reserved for the rare web design project with a huge budget and a lavish time schedule. Not true. Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.

In earlier research, Tom Landauer and I showed that the number of usability problems found in a usability test with n users is:

N(1-(1-L)n)

where N is the total number of usability problems in the design and L is the proportion of usability problems discovered while testing a single user. The typical value of L is 31%, averaged across a large number of projects we studied. Plotting the curve for L=31% gives the following result:

The most striking truth of the curve is that zero users give zero insights.

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Ford Ergonomics Lab: Optimized By Gaming Technology

Ford Ergonomics Lab: Optimized by Gaming Technology

  • May 27, 2010

When Glenn Harrington donned a motion capture suit complete with more than 40 reflective spheres he wasn’t being turned into the latest video game character, but helping to design car manufacturing jobs that are less physically stressful on workers.

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What’s Wrong With The RITE Method?

What’s Wrong With the RITE Method?

  • April 30, 2010

A critique of a common method used in video game usability research

Many video game usability practitioners employ a method to test usability within video games, called the ‘RITE’ method, short for Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation (RITE). Pioneered at Microsoft Games Studios and Microsoft Research, the RITE method has been adopted by many usability research organizations besides the teams at Microsoft.

While the RITE method has some advantages, such as the ‘rapid iterative’ ability to suggest changes to designers and test them in successive passes, it may fall short when looking for usability issues that lie beneath the surface.

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Using Serious Games To Boost Quality & Productivity At Microsoft

Using Serious Games to Boost Quality & Productivity at Microsoft

  • January 12, 2010

From: Score One for Quality! Using Games to Improve Product Quality by Joshua Williams and Ross Smith Abstract:

In this paper we describe how using a game can improve both the quality of a product, but the quality of life of the employees as well. We call this kind of game a “Productivity Game.”

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