Notes on Chapters 8 and 9

Chapter 8

The concept of an "average user" is a myth. Every user is unique, so it is not advised to try to design your web site for a general user. The best method is to simply test and test and test the usability of your site to get the best experience for users visiting the site.

Also, don't argue over things that don't have answers. Find a solution through testing.

Chapter 9

Usability Testing How-tos

Focus Groups vs Usability Tests
Focus Groups are employed in the planning process to discuss ideas that should go into developing the site.
Usability tests are done throughout the development process. The user is observed to see what is working and what isn't on the site.

Testing Tips

More About Testing

Develop specific tasks for the participating users based on what your site is capable of doing at that stage. Make the instructions specific but not too narrow, allowing the user to use their own personal background knowledge. These tasks should not take more than 35 minutes to an hour.
Here's what should happen during the test -
  1. Welcome the participants (4 minutes) - explain how the test will work
  2. Ask them questions (2 minutes) - ice breaker and helps you learn more about them
  3. Home Page Tour (3 minutes) - ask the participant to describe the homepage
  4. The Tasks (35 minutes) - sit back and watch the participant attempt the tasks. Encourage them to muddle through and think outloud
  5. Probing (5 minutes) - ask the participant any questions
  6. Wrap Up (5 minutes) - thank them. Pay them.
  7. Meet with your team of observers directly after the test to debrief and identify the problems

Common Problems and Fixes

Problems: 1. Users miss the concept 2. Users can't find what they think they are looking for 3. The page is too cluttered
Determining What to Fix (first)

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