Home > Agile > The bliss of usability studies

The bliss of usability studies

Today, I and a colleague finished yet another round of usability studies. This time, we're not going for anything slightly scientific, but just another check-up among others.

The setup is easy, a semi-click able prototype, an open source screen capture program in the form of Cam Studio, a computer with two screens and we're ready to go. I select the users and my colleague has prepared a scenario. He explains for the user the scenario and watches him/her while I sit on the opposite of the table, taking notes and not interfering. As I mentioned, nothing fancy, but I really hope this will be an even more integrated part of our work from now on. Since we're using such light weight methods, we can test a little detail without it becoming expensive.

My colleague is a professional, while I'm not and that we have a professional on board is also so important. The small but important details in how he works makes a big difference on the result. Since I have a tester's and a computer trainer's experience, I can for myself see how I would approached this so differently and how much errors I would have done. I believe that my experience as a trainer and a tester helps me when discussing user experience and I probably stresses these questions more than other project managers, but differentiating between good and not so good solutions is better left to usability studies.

What does not cease to amaze me is how I can never in advance can see the greatest unclarities which the users identify. Of course there are always those areas in which you're struggling, but all those other spots where you haven't even thought there would be a problem, they pop up.

I just wish I started working like this many years ago… 

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Categories: Agile
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