Archive for January 2018
For the last six months, I have walked into the centre of Leeds to work every day. It’s 1.8 miles each way and I’m secretly very smug about my average daily step count because of it. But sometimes, I don’t want to walk all that way. Sometimes, I would like to be able to take a comfy seat and travel in to the city centre a bit differently. As it happens, Leeds offers a form of public transport that runs down the exact same route that I walk, which would get me to work 10 minutes quicker, and it’s free. Leeds Dock Water Taxis have been offering a free service from Leeds Dock to Granary Wharf near Leeds Train Station for a few years now and I have often used it on weekends.
In June 2017 I walked out of my final exam as an undergraduate to an email offering me the job of a UX practitioner at SimpleUsability. A week and a half later, I began my journey at SimpleUsability, training as a practitioner and jumping feet first into the world of UX. So here’s a snapshot of my first six months and what I’ve learnt so far.
Why user research & why SimpleUsability?
Studying a research-driven degree in Human Geography meant that although my career path was never obvious, what I soon learnt was that research forms the basis of what we know and people are ultimately at the centre of everything we do. Although it’s an obvious observation, this was my first step towards where I am sat today.
Having had my first exposure to user research during a summer internship in my penultimate year at University, I quickly realised that this was the job for me. My final year as a student was accompanied by a search for a graduate role in the realm of UX, and this is when I stumbled across SimpleUsability. Instantly drawn in by the prospect of better understanding users, assisting the development of clients’ platforms, and of course working with state of the art technology, I knew that this was an opportunity I could not miss out on.
From day one, the small and close-knit team was something that stood out to me here. Teamwork is really at the core of what we do, as together we create a smooth service delivery; from the initial development of a proposal, then to the selection of users by our in-house recruitment team, right through to project delivery. Although we work on projects individually, we would not function without the constant communication and support.
On-the-job training at its finest.
Next, I realised that my training at SimpleUsability was not going to be weeks of shadowing and endless reading, I jumped straight into learning to moderate my own sessions with the company’s unique methodology, familiarising myself with the tech, and getting stuck in at multiple stages of the end to end project cycle. Straight away my voice was heard and I was on my way to becoming a valued UX practitioner within the team.
What makes us unique.
As my time here has continued, I have also learnt that what we do is very unique. Firstly in terms of the level of quality and care involved in every stage of a project lifecycle. Then secondly in terms of the range of different project types we deliver and the assortment of sectors we work within. One week could involve running usability testing on a grocery shop, and the next, validating personas in gaming. So with expertise spanning a vast range of sectors and project types, our breadth of knowledge enables us to tailor our core methodologies according to the needs of the business and importantly, the users.
User-centric in every way.
That brings me onto my next point, users really are at the core of everything we do. Our unique methodology begins with a natural user journey accompanied with eye tracking, and is followed by a post-task retrospective interview, including targeted but non-leading questions. This allows us to get the most natural response and feedback from users which is unaffected by any business expectations or hunches. The outputs can therefore be presented back to the clients based on evidence of what users actually do, rather than what we think users might do.
And my experience does not stop in the past and present, as we are constantly thinking into the future here at SimpleUsability. Developing ideas about how we can improve our services to be more flexible according to an increasingly agile industry, and really getting our noses stuck into new ventures as the digital world advances.
Don’t forget the yurt!
Lastly, I guess an important think to note is that we really know how to have a good time. From a team trip to York beer festival, to a Christmas party in a Yorkshire Yurt, there is a never a dull moment in the offices here.
So I guess to summarise, my first six months have been a blast! I’ve been faced with new challenges every day, learnt more about the world of UX than I could ever imagine, and I’m able to contribute towards improving digital platforms for everybody on a daily basis. So here’s a big thanks to the great team here and I’m looking forward to what the next six months holds.
5 important things to think of when conducting usability testing of voice interaction using voice controlled assistants.
Over the last year there has been a significant increase in the use of voice controlled assistants such as the Amazon Echo or the Google Home, with over 17 million devices estimated to have been purchased over the last three months alone.
As sales of these devices have boosted more companies are starting to develop systems to work with voice interaction and we are seeing an increase in different ways people can use their devices, some of these are new services such as making calls or sending message others are new channels for existing services such as asking the weather, ordering their online groceries or even ordering a taxi.
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We’re delighted and honoured to announce that SimpleUsability Founder & MD, Guy Redwood, has been asked to speak at the Playtech Academy during next month’s ICE event.
With over 30,000 attendees from more than 150 countries, ICE Totally Gaming is the B2B gaming event that brings together the international online and offline gaming sectors.
Guy will be presenting a demo of our research and explaining how we’ve helped Playtech develop even better gaming products through understanding the needs and experiences of real users.