Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Usability Studies

I am helping to design and test a device that causes a sensation the user can feel when they use this device.

For obvious reasons, our new design prototype won't actually zap or tingle the user during the study, but it leaves a big part of the device responsiveness missing during the usability testing experience.

The users often don't even look at the UI, because they say they are going by how it feels, not by what the numbers are doing on the screen.

So far, some people have really liked the UI, but few were successful with the device. How much of this is because a key success indicator to the user was what they were feeling?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Focus Group or Not?

So the marketing manager sets up our first contact with real users, which I stated would be actual users of the device. Unfortunately, she didn't hear the "in their work environments" part.

Like a good marketing manager she hosts a focus group, complete with dinner and drinks during a training event.

Now I work fast to turn a focus group into a contextual inquiry and design walkthrough session.

I will be bringing the devices, showing screens shots of newly designed GUI for new features, and allowing time for lots of questions and answers. So now a 2 hour focus group has turned into a fact gathering, design walkthrough I will facilitate for 1.5 hours and a focus group for 15 minutes that our Product Marketing Manager will facilitate.

BONUS - I will be attending the training program that covers things every introductory practicioner attends. The agenda includes selection, advanced device programming issues, user management, and case study presentations by attendees (whoo-hooo, now that's what I'm talking about!)