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User Experience Magazine: Volume 11, Issue 3, 2012

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Volume 11, Issue 3, 2012

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Featured Articles: Adding Peer Tutoring to the UX Research Toolbox

 

Testing by Teaching: Peer Tutoring, a Usability Evaluation Method for Children
By Svetlana Ognjanovic, Jason Ralls, and Pablo Gonzalez

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Peer Tutoring is a method the LEGO group has successfully used when usability testing with children. In Peer Tutoring, one child acts as a tutor and explains, in his or her own words, a digital product to his or her friend. As one child teaches the product to the other child, and as the other child uses the product while being tutored, the observers receive valuable information on how the product is perceived and used by children. The social context of the two friends makes the test situation more natural, resulting in richer and more externally valid findings.


Making the Case: Rounding Out Usability Testing with Web Analytics
By Michael Beasley

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Web analytics is a quantitative data source that can help you plan usability tests and analyze test results. During planning, you can prioritize tasks by reviewing page view data on where users currently go on your site. Time on Page, Bounce Rate, and Exit Rate are high-level measures of how users interact with pages, and outliers signal pages that could be included in tasks to understand why users interact with those pages differently.

Learning about what pages users land on when they reach your site can help you construct realistic tasks that reflect actual paths users take when navigating the site. You can find potential problem areas or behavior that you want to understand by looking at where users come from to reach a page and where they go afterwards. The business goals configured in your analytics tool provide insight into what user actions are valuable to the business, helping you align your tasks with business goals.

After testing, you can verify findings with analytics data by seeing how well participants’ behavior corresponds with other users' behavior, such as what pages they visit after leaving a particular page. Incorporating numbers from analytics into your report will help you make a stronger case for your findings.

 

Mobilize: Make Good Things Come in Small Packages
By Claudia Wey, Lissa Story, and Leslie McBrayer

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How do you squeeze a feature-rich desktop program into a lightweight mobile app that connects to the cloud? The MathWorks team chose a few key features from a software package designed for complex mathematical computations, and delivered an app that scientists and engineers can use anywhere they have Internet access. This case study article discusses some of our lessons learned, which could apply to any desktop program that has to be moved to a mobile app.

 

Which Path Is for Me? The Emerging Role of VP of UX
By Chelsey Glasson and Ian Swinson

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Ever wonder if you have what it takes to be a VP of UX? In exploring the possibility of hiring a VP of UX for Salesforce.com, Chelsey Glasson and Ian Swinson spoke with twelve UX VPs about their roles. This article discusses five key insights that emerged from the talks:

  1. The path to VP of UX is often more organic than premeditated.
  2. Taking time to explore and grow before committing to the UX leadership path is essential.
  3. Being an individual contributor and UX leader are similar, but different.
  4. Being a good designer or researcher at the individual contributor level doesn’t guarantee you will be a good UX leader (or that you would enjoy a leadership role).
  5. The advice and feedback of a good manager or mentor should be carefully considered in defining your career.

The authors also share several practical tips to use when assessing one’s own UX career path and whether or not a leadership position is the right fit.

 

Dear Diary: Using Diaries to Study User Experience
By Carine Lallemand

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Studying and evaluating UX is a challenging task even for experienced practitioners. Without being a superhero or having a crystal ball, how may we find a methodology able to capture the experience from the point of view of the user by taking into account all the factors related to UX?

The advantages of diary methods for the study of UX are numerous and this article describes why you should use diaries in your research and how to design a diary study. The author provides practical guidance regarding research questions best suited to these methods, design decisions that can be made based on the findings of a diary study, tools needed to conduct the research, and ways of analyzing diary reports.

 

Simplicity, Not So Simple: Embracing Deep Gradual Engagement
By Christian Manzella

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Simplification is not so simple. Fundamentally, simple is good when it comes to experience design, but there is typically a trade-off; as an example, something complex in the process or code is required to enable the user interface to be simple. Persona development has enabled UX to take a more human-centered approach to building a website and meet the largest percentage of users’ needs. While this works for simple sites, with little depth, a more complex site requires a more complex approach to identifying and facilitating user needs.

Users have different levels of commitment, training, trust and requirements, based on where they are in a given process. Requirements for systems should be able to match those needs. By modeling the levels at which users engage, and identifying how their needs change or expand as they become more engaged, one can take an approach to design that can gradually become more complex. Appropriately complex interfaces allow for richer functionality and expanded capabilities.

 

The “A” Word: Accessibility as Part of UX
By Léonie Watson

(Members only) Full text - members only Read article as PDF(PDF 512Kb)

 

Accessibility is often misunderstood, maligned, or misinterpreted. If the “A” word has ever made you feel a bit faint, made you want to grind your teeth, or left you feeling slightly bewildered, you’re not alone. Yet if we want to create extraordinary digital experiences, accessibility must come together with usability, creativity, and technology. Like usability, accessibility must be woven throughout the entire process and that means everyone should know a little about it.

This article looks at four accessibility concepts: meaningful reading order, consistent navigation and layout, form controls, and descriptive link labels. Far from being a swear word, accessibility may turn out to be much more familiar than you think!

 

Hold the Sprinkles! Design Mapping for Agile UX Design
By Carissa Demetris

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Are you a designer working in an agile environment? Ever feel like you’re missing the big picture, focusing instead on iterations of details? Agile design teams can often get swept up in a single product feature, iterating that one feature to its most perfect state. While this approach gives the user fully-fleshed functionality in one area, the larger workflow is often neglected. We know that a complete and meaningful user experience is important for product success, but prioritizing requirements across the entire user workflow can be challenging.

Using the concepts from story mapping, this article discusses how you can use a layered design approach to create the most valuable end-to-end user experience.  The mapping helps to identify the basic set of design requirements for the workflow, and illustrates options for layering enhancements and embellishments. This technique builds on personas, user goals, and workflows, and adds a visual map to assist in creating a complete user experience with the right level of complexity.

 

 

Departments

Editors' Notes:

What's In a Name?

By Susan Dray

(Members only) Full text - members only Read article as PDF(PDF 254Kb)

 

What’s News:

WUD 2012: The Usability of Financial Systems

By Elizabeth Rosenzweig

(Members only)Full text - members only Read article as PDF(PDF 308Kb)

 

On The Edge

Back to the Future: UX in the Past 100 Years of Science-Fiction

By Aaron Marcus

(Members only)Full text - members only Read article as PDF(PDF 628Kb)

 

Book Review:
Making Everything Fit: “Responsive Web Design” by Ethan Marcotte

Reviewed by Christine Danko

(Members only)Full text - members only Read article as PDF(PDF 166Kb)

 

 

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