Archive for Useability

Storyboarding RIA

Some time ago I blogged on wireframing or prototyping.

Bill Scott blogged on doing storyboards for his applications with Visio. Specifically he¬†talks about a new challenge: how do we document Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), where users interact directly within the page and feedback is immediat, as opposed to the “traditional” Paged Internet Applications (PIAs), where users enter information and link to another page.

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Users stuck in permanent beginner mode

¬†Kathy Sierra on users stuck in permanent beginner mode. And that’s more of a design problem than a users problem. Very interesting to read, read the comments (*a lot*) too!

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NO! – Bad User!!!

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Optimizing too much at FedEx?

James Shore runs a blog on Successful Software.

He describes  his experience with FedEx, a company that truly optimized at all levels, but fails when "things happen" … The lack of slack in the process does not give people an opportunity to stop, stretch, and look around, and correct the things that happened …

The story is titled Off-the-Rails.html 

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PCWorld.com – The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time

PC World published a list of the 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time.

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More Usability Publications and Guidelines

Microsoft has lots of Published Materials from Microsoft's usability community.

Among these also Hanna, Risden & Alexander's Guidelines for usability testing with children.
Even thought it is an older publication (1997), Tim Fidgeon (from my previous post) definitely read this part:

Gauge how much children like a program by observing signs of
engagement such as smiles and laughs or leaning forward to
try things, and signs of disengagement such as frowns, sighs,
yawns, or turning away from the computer.
These behavioral signs are much more reliable
than children’s responses to questions about whether or
not they like something

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Usability testing with Children

Usability testing with children is similar in many respects to usability testing with adults.
But in order to get the most out of the sessions, and ensure the child is comfortable and happy, there are a few differences that you need to be aware of.

(Read about in on Tim Fidgeon's Feature: Usability testing with Children)

Among the differences that drew my attention were the importance of non-verbal cues, because

  • Children might be too shy
  • Children might not want to say the wrong thing and displease an adult
  • Children might say things they don't believe just to please the adult

So its very important to be sensitive to children's non-verbal cues, such as:

  • Sighs
  • Smiles
  • Frowns
  • Yawns
  • Fidgeting
  • Laughing
  • Swaying
  • Body angle and posture

I personally think the whole article applies equally well to Usability testing with Older people.

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