Archive for usability methodology
On Wednesday 28th September, UX Sheffield was hosted at The Electric Works, and featured pioneer of usability Rolf Molich. Rolf, who has worked in the field since 1984, came to discuss ‘Myths about usability testing’.
‘5 users will find 85% of usability problems’
Rolf began the talk by discussing the myth, made famous by Jakob Nielson, that ‘5 users will find 85% of usability problems’. Rolf went on to explain how it is impossible to say you have found ALL usability problems, as some usability problems will be specific to certain types of users, and therefore are unlikely to be spotted with a small sample of users. Rolf suggested instead, rather, that ‘5 users are enough to drive a useful iterative cycle’, where the key usability findings will be discovered, as they will be applicable to the majority of your users.
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Similar to many children growing up, I always wanted to know why things were the way they were. This hasn’t rectified itself into adult life, therefore it’s ideal that I find myself working as a user experience consultant for SimpleUsability, where I can ask ‘Why?’ all day long.
But in the field of usability, constantly asking a research participant “why?” could become pretty annoying. Moderators of usability studies have to discover different methods to find out the reasons behind why somebody carries out a task in a certain way.
Maybe we should address another question first; “Why ask why?” Technology has provided us with many tools to find out what people are doing, particularly on websites. From analytics we can see what people are clicking on and even watch where attention is driven to. What this doesn’t tell us is why people clicked there, what else they looked at first but were confused about, and also what they missed.
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