Archive for the ‘News’ Category
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.
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.
On Wednesday 24th May 2017, it was great to see the digital community come together to learn and be inspired by this year’s Camp Digital event in Manchester. Many great talks were given on topics of usability, design and accessibility, but the one session that stood out for me was the workshop I took part in, given by Molly Watt and Chris Bush, about using and understanding assistive technologies.
Chris Bush kicked the workshop off by giving us an insight into the vast number of people that suffer from a long-term illness or disability, equating to around 15% of the UK’s population. With this striking figure in mind, the question ‘Why design for inclusion?’ was proposed. To help us understand why, Chris introduced Molly Watt, who began by sharing her story on why she is so passionate about this subject.
> Read more
In their recent article ‘How to design ‘Applied filters’ (42% get it wrong)’ the Baymard Institute proposed essential features to make filters user friendly on desktop.
1. Ensure the user can easily find any currently applied filters
2. Make it clear which criteria the currently displayed product list is filtered by
3. Allow the user to easily deselect applied filters
4. Provide the user with additional context when selecting new filtering values
5. Help the user infer how much of a filter type’s ‘range’ is currently selected
As more customers are turning to mobile to browse and shop online, we think it is important to look at filters on mobile. In this article, we have looked at how filters are implemented on mobile across the e-commerce sector, considering if Baymard’s recommendations should be adopted for mobile.
This article will look at the following fashion websites: Topshop, Asos, Missguided, New Look and River Island, and compare them to the following grocery websites, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
SimpleUsability hosted a panel debate as part of the 2017 Leeds Digital Festival. Facilitated by Dr Lucy Buykx, one of our Senior UX Practitioners, and with a panel drawn from a variety of sectors, each at different UX adoption stages, the event drew a sizeable crowd keen to discuss, “Is UX research still too slow for agile?”
Shan Beerstecher, Digital Transformation Manager, Skipton Building Society
Adrian Berry, Product Owner, myhermes.co.uk, Hermes
Sophie Dennis, Lead User Researcher, NHS Digital
Phil Stevenson, Senior Digital Proposition Manager, TD Direct Investing
Lucy Buykx kicked off the event by explaining that at last year’s Leeds Digital Festival the same subject had proven incredibly popular, with attendees likening it to a therapy session for those trying to reconcile agile and user research. As agile is becoming more embedded in organisations, the topic is even more relevant hence the re-visit 12 months on.
The panellists got started by introducing themselves and sharing their experience and thoughts on whether UX research is too slow for agile.
First up was Sophie Dennis who has worked with the NHS since January 2017 and has a range of experience from previous roles within the public and private sectors. She’s had a variety of design research and delivery roles doing variations of agile. She said the challenge is introducing design and research together and how do to reduce the cycle time of design sprints.
Adrian Berry from Hermes stated his team are fairly mature in agile and that although UX is a relatively recent concept, they are now finding that UX and agile come together to help them with rapid prototyping. When testing, be open-minded as to what might come out, dismissing preconceptions is really important to eliminate any bias.
Payment option overload? How card payments and a digital selection process affects the usability of vending machines.
Most of us use vending machines and like the simplicity of popping a bit of loose change into a machine to get that much needed bottle of Coke.
But, we have all experienced that level of frustration when you fall short of change or the machine doesn’t accept the only pound coin left in your purse. Contactless payments and Apple Pay are becoming more widely used, for example on car parking ticket machines.
More recently, vending machines are now also being redesigned complete with a card reader to bring them into the 21st century. So how could the inclusion of card payments and a digital selection process on vending machines improve the user experience?
> Read more
Six of the team at SimpleUsability attended #NUX5 on Friday 7th October at the Northern College of Music in Manchester, which featured seven inspirational speakers from around the world sharing a variety of different UX topics.
Instead of the usual note-taking, SimpleUsability decided to try a more creative approach to capture the key features of each talk: Sketchnoting. Sketchnoting involves taking notes in a visual form that helps bring the notes to life, and helps people to remember the talk afterwards. Sketchnotes are also fun to share. In this article we share our Sketchnotes that were taken at NUX5, with key summarised points to explain the take away message from each talk.
One press of a Wi-Fi connected button enables instant ordering of, for now, up to 40 brands through the launch of the ‘Dash’ service for Amazon Prime customers in the UK. Said to take the tedious out of shopping, following its success in the US, UK customers can now strategically place these push buttons in convenient locations just waiting for that product to run out.
You can imagine the customer stories that this would solve. The convenience of never running out of key products that are, quite frankly, not exciting to shop for. But what does that mean for the user experience of grocery shopping in general, and will it open up a shift in behaviour and customer expectations for the main grocery home shopping brands in the UK?
New brand struggle
Singular brand button for re-order may make us less susceptible to new product launches and new brands emerging on the market. How will new products to
> Read more
The official ‘Rio 2016’, Olympics app is only rated 1.5 stars in the Apple App Store, with 59/70 ratings giving 1 star. The majority of problems with the app are issues with bugs causing the app to crash and not provide updated results. However, there are also reviews about bad user experiences and these could be due to poor design. This article will discuss how the app could have improved the users’ experiences of the games helping fans to keep up with the events, time differences, and medals won with ease.
After downloading the app, there’s a friendly ‘Hello’ and instruction to ‘Choose your language’. With ‘English’ preselected, it’s quick to get started. Although it seems like it will be a quick process, there is no indication of how many steps there are, or how long it will take. ‘Next’, in the bottom right allows you to move forward through the process. The app continues to preselect options and clearly shows the time difference between the selected country and Rio. Preselecting responses based on a users’ location helps them quickly move through the process without making unnecessary choices.
> Read more
Caroline Jarrett, a form specialist and noted author, met the team at SimpleUsability on Thursday 11th August and gave a very insightful talk about how to design better forms for users.
Caroline got interested in form design, and the impact of poor form design, while troubleshooting optical character recognition (OCR) problems while scanning incoming forms. The problem was, people didn’t understand what the form was asking, or it didn’t fit their situation, so they didn’t fill in the form in the ‘right way’. Caroline realised that form design was behind the problem and that good form design was important whatever the media. She now focuses on how to design online forms and surveys, so that people can fill them in correctly; ensuring good language, content and interaction design.
Surprising people is never good.
states Caroline, as the discussion moved forward onto certain features of forms, in particular accordion forms. Lucy Buykx, a Senior UX practitioner from SimpleUsability, said that she has seen some accordions which take users through the form process nicely. However, Caroline discourages the use of accordion forms, stating;
> Read more