Business Issues -> Compliance
By: Peter Abrahams, Practice Leader - Accessibility and Usability, Bloor Research
Published: 23rd May 2008
Copyright Bloor Research © 2008
I recently chaired a round table on the Future of Usability Testing. It was sponsored by Techsmith who supply the Usability Testing Tool Morae (see my earlier article).
The invited attendees included developers, usability experts, an internet psychologist, and journalists all with considerably understanding and strong opinions about usability. I came with a strong interest in accessibility, which to a great extent can be seen as a subset of the usability requirements.
The aim of the roundtable was to better understand how to make usability design and testing business as usual in IT systems. This big question was approached by looking at several more specific questions:
Usability is important because:
Usability design and testing is not imbedded into the development cycle because:
Usability is often only considered during the final user acceptance phase. Usability design needs to be imbedded throughout the development process. The following are thoughts on achieving this:
The inclusion of usability design and testing into the development cycle need not be difficult and will enhance the user experience and the overall benefit of the solution.
Posted: 23rd May 2008 | By Brian Sherwood Jones :
Good report BUT the message needs to be about human-centred or user-centred design, and user/human-centred management. Getting users involved in the design and development process is much more important than the details of usability testing or giving jobs to usability consultants (declare interest: like me).
Posted: 24th May 2008 | By anon :
Ok, so what is the future of usability testing? This looks like meeting minutes.
Posted: 26th May 2008 | By Todd Follansbee :
Would love to be a part of future panels. Am very interested in the role of usability in behavioral targeting and profiling based upon learning styles and personality profiling. Have developed some good tools to monitor that but feel like a lonely voice. Much can be done right now and more will be done in the future. Most dramatic and immediate potential is in Intranets.
Posted: 27th May 2008 | By Simon Griffiths :
Good post. I think you are right, upper management often doesn't understand the benefits of good usability.
My tack has been to use analytics software to test usability, and to try out new things which we closely monitor for improvement.
In my experience going back to management and saying that you can double the enquiry rate on a site just by improving usability is a great persuader (in our case the figure was actually not double but 2.5 times).
btw - I recommend using something like Google Analytics for a broad brush look at a site, Crazy Egg to look more closely at clicks on a page, and Clicktale to track mouse movement. You of course also need to be tracking the desired result.
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