Archive for the ‘Usability’ Category
Help features are typically only used as a last resort. Whether it be an electronic appliance or a web application, most users will not read instructions until they feel stuck, and even then they might not. There are two key reasons for this:
- Firstly, due to prior experience users often regard help as unhelpful. Masses of text and pages of irrelevant FAQs have led them to simply ignore it.
- Secondly, as usability continues to improve, users are learning to rely on their own intuition. They expect to be able to self-serve and navigate through a website themselves, so requesting help seems to have become associated with ego depletion.
You might wonder if that makes help features redundant, but we know that users still need help. So the challenge is finding a better way, or ways, of providing it. In this article, we will discuss the helpfulness of some familiar help features from the perspective of how the user gets the help – is it pushed towards them or do they need to seek it out and pull it for themselves? We call this Push and Pull help:
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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.
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How do you describe what you do for a living?
Digital marketing executive? Ecommerce manager? UX/UI Designer? User researcher? Customer insight manager? User experience lead?
Does this change depending on who you’re talking to? Chances are, you have a different answer to this question whether you’re networking at a conference, catching up with old friends, or making small talk with your great aunt at a cousin’s wedding.
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UX Mentors, is an annual Manchester-based event for students who want to get started in a career in UX. It is organised in conjunction between Sigma and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). Last week I was delighted to join the team of mentors that included User Experience experts from Sigma, Mando, Autotrader and Shop Direct for the 2017 event.
This year the theme was the Google Sprint, and sprint we did, as we aimed to move through the 5-day process in around 6 hours! The process, as described in the book by Joel Knapp, is an end-to-end process from defining a key problem to solve, through rapid ideation and design to validation with users. Although we were not able to do every step, the Sprint model provided a great format for getting hands-on experience of a number of key UX techniques.
We kicked off the day with a brief, including objectives, scope and target audience, and drew up a user journey map. The brief was to design a mobile app to help low-income people with budgeting. My team drew on their experiences as students to develop a quick persona and draw up the journey of how such user would get started on the app, and then identified pain points and opportunities to design a solution.
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Onboarding screens are designed to introduce users to how the application works and what main functions it has, to help them understand how to use it. As a user experience practitioner, I have experience testing onboarding screens with users and often get asked by clients what is the best way to implement a good onboarding experience to introduce users to an app. Onboarding can be a challenge to get right, especially when trying to meet both business requirements and user needs. The business wants to show users the key features and unique aspects of an app but often in user testing we observe users simply moving through onboarding screens without paying attention to them.
So what to do? In this article, I’ll share learning from our experience testing onboarding screens with a review of the different ways which apps implement onboarding to engage and educate users on their app.
So, let’s start with the don’ts
- Don’t use too many words. We’ve seen in user testing that users find wordy onboarding screens unengaging and this often results in users not reading the information or forgetting this information when they arrive on to the app. Consider the amount of information you are presenting your users with and try not to overload them to avoid them looking for a way to exit or skip.
- Don’t include too many screens… or too few! Think about the length of your onboarding process, too many screens result in users swiping through without paying any attention to the content. On the contrary, although users want a short, snappy, engaging welcome to an app they still need enough information to understand how to use the app and what the benefits of using it are.
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.
In our role as User Experience Practitioners we know a lot about the advantages of using eye-tracking in usability research, but we are always learning.
This article covers a few of the things we have observed during our usability research using eye-tracking, and shows just a few of the benefits that eye-tracking can bring to your user research.
1. Making things bigger and bolder doesn’t always work
You may have been to usability sessions and heard users say things like “Oh, I didn’t see that. If it was bigger I’d probably have noticed it.”, or you may have heard “It just needs to be bigger and bolder, make it flashy!” While feedback is useful, it’s important to remember that ultimately what people say they do, or what they say will influence them may not be true when they actually sit in front of a website. Feedback like this is opinion based, and shouldn’t be taken literally.
Instead, listen to the users’ feedback and consider it in context to what the observed behaviour shows. While users may say that making something bigger and bolder would grab their attention, our specialist eye-tracking has revealed, that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it takes re-thinking the position or content of a call to action to get your users to engage with it, it doesn’t have to be a flashing neon sign.
The eye-tracking shows how the user missed the large banner at the top of the page, and instead was drawn to the content underneath.
2. Consider how buttons display visual hierarchy
While you may wish to try and incorporate company colours as much as possible on a website, it is important to consider the consequences of these actions.
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We’re delighted to announce that SimpleUsability has been appointed to the Government’s Digital Marketplace to offer services under both the Digital Outcomes and Specialists and G-Cloud 7 frameworks.
Under G-Cloud 7, our services offered span mobile and agile usability research and user-centred design services including card sorting and persona development.
The recently launched Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework includes user research, user experience and design, user researchers, the hire of three research studios and research participant recruitment.
Our Founder & MD, Guy, comments, “As more services become digital by default, we’ve been contacted by a number of government departments keen to find out more about our unique behavioural and usability research.
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All you need to know about wearable technology and the impact on user experience…..
Join SimpleUsability on Tuesday 30th June for a breakfast briefing on wearable technology. Two months after the launch of the Apple Watch, we’ll review its impact.
Is it a game changer in device ownership?
How does it stack up against other smart wearable technology?
Our team will share their usage diaries and reviews and we’ll consider the implications for user experience.
When: Tuesday 30th June 2015. Croissants and juice will be served from 8:00am. The seminar will start at 8:30am.
Where: SimpleUsability, 1st Floor, Marshall Mills, Leeds, LS11 9YJ
Places are limited.
To register your interest, please email email@example.com