Category Archives: Testing

The Misconception of Age & Tech Savviness

The Misconception of Age & Tech Savviness

  When we think of tech-savvy users, we probably imagine a younger person. This misconception is due to the incorrect belief that older users do not want or cannot use technology. But from my time conducting research at Akendi, and from academic papers, I find that this notion is incorrect.  So where did the misconceptionRead more

Not Choosing Sides: Customer Experiences vs. User Experiences

Not Choosing Sides: Customer Experiences vs. User Experiences

Ok, we’re all humans. It is a label that encompasses us all. But in experience research and design we rarely, if ever, create for or try to understand the human. It’s usually the different types of humans we’re interested in.  Because once we understand who they are, we can list and prioritise these groups ofRead more

The Art of Asking Questions

The Art of Asking Questions

Surveys, interviews, usability tests and other UX research methods are meant to elicit information to help us clearly understand a user/customer, their needs and their experience when using a service/product; to find the best design/redesign recommendations for a service/product; and in general, to help companies figure out the best possible way to serve their users/customers.Read more

Putting User Testing in Context

Putting User Testing in Context

The traditional role of user testing in the product lifecycle has changed dramatically over the last 2-3 years. User testing is one of the main tools of UX professionals to ensure that product design and development meets the users’ needs. A summative user test towards the end of the lifecycle is traditionally used as theRead more

The Power of Three

The Power of Three

Is three the magic number? Culturally, and historically, the number three is very significant. In Christianity there is the Holy Trinity, and in Hinduism, there is the Trimurti. In Chinese, the word for three is considered lucky because it sounds like “alive”, versus four, which sounds like “death”.  “Third time’s a charm”, and we countRead more

Doing a Press Check – it’s your Last Opportunity to Get it Right

Doing a Press Check – it’s your Last Opportunity to Get it Right

Even in this digital age, print collateral has its place. There are many conversations about the value of print happening right now. One website, created by Domtar paper, talks about how print and digital can effectively work together. Ensuring the quality of the print materials you decide to invest in is critical in presenting the rightRead more

‘I feel as though I’m cheating…’

‘I feel as though I’m cheating…’

A client once said this to me after watching his very first focus group session.  The concept of getting answers to questions from real potential users was foreign to him.  This comment didn’t come as a surprise to me as many other clients I’ve worked with have shared a similar sentiment; that they were ‘cheating’Read more

Making Things Un-Usable (For Some)

Making Things Un-Usable (For Some)

At the hospital where Dr. Henri J. Breault worked in Windsor, Canada, a parent rushing in with a poisoned child was a daily occurrence. Medical teams would hurry to pump the child’s stomach before it was too late, but they didn’t always have enough time. These poisonings were caused by children getting access to pillRead more

Poorly Planned Changes Create Conflict

Poorly Planned Changes Create Conflict

Commuting in Toronto can be a very frustrating experience, particularly if you are a cyclist. Despite the rapid growth in the number of cyclists that are commuting, the city lags behind in creating infrastructure. Almost half of Akendi’s employees in Toronto cycle into work, and can regularly recount tales of harrowing encounters with cars, pedestriansRead more

Seeing is not always believing.

Seeing is not always believing.

We have 5 senses (some people claim they have six) and you cannot trust any of them. Cognitive psychologists studying exteroception try to make sense of how we make sense of our senses. The results of some of the experiments conducted are quite remarkable. Give people a perfectly round coin to hold and distort theirRead more

Not All Errors Are the Same

Not All Errors Are the Same

While driving the other day I tried to switch the radio station using the controls on my steering wheel.  Instead, I accidentally redialed a friend.  Depending on the mode, the controls that are used to control the radio stations are the same controls that are used to control the phone.  It wasn’t a big deal,Read more

Making the natural ‘natural’?

Making the natural ‘natural’?

Should you test in-person or remotely? What to choose when there are so many options? If the question was simply about the quality of the test session, I would say in-person, hands down. Just think about the difference between a Skype call with friends or family overseas versus sitting down in the livingroom with them.Read more

Smart Watch Design Heuristics

Smart Watch Design Heuristics

Interaction design can be a delicate balancing act between meeting the needs of the user and wrestling with the limitations of the technology you’re designing for.  This contrast is never more evident than when designing and developing for wearables. In the course of performing many heuristic evaluations on various devices and applications and running various UXRead more

The Perils of Choice (and how to avoid them)

The Perils of Choice (and how to avoid them)

One Saturday in an upscale supermarket in California, shoppers were greeted with an extraordinary display of 24 types of jam to sample and buy. These exotic jams ranged from peach to kiwi and shoppers flocked to the display to sample some of these new and interesting flavours. What they didn’t know was that this wasRead more

Always Be Testing

Always Be Testing

I recently watched the movie Glengarry Glen Ross (I know, I’m about 20 years late) and although it’s an old movie, the famous message conveyed “Always Be Closing” still holds true. In the field of web design, there’s a similar mantra that we should all follow: Always Be Testing. Usability is defined as the effectiveness, efficiencyRead more

Understanding Defaults and Notifications (or, why I hate my dishwasher) – Part 2

Understanding Defaults and Notifications (or, why I hate my dishwasher) – Part 2

This is part two of a two part series. In part one we went over the guidelines around using defaults and talked about some pitfalls to avoid. You can go back and read it at Understanding Defaults and Notifications (or, why I hate my dishwasher). So, last time we finished talking about my dishwasher’s useRead more

How to Do a Paper Prototype Test in 7 Steps: The quick, easy, and dirt cheap way

How to Do a Paper Prototype Test in 7 Steps: The quick, easy, and dirt cheap way

Elsie had $100, very little time, and needed results. She and her team were developing a new grocery-shopping app that would substantially simplify everyday shopping for users. They’d vetted out their ideas and validated the need for their app. However, time was running short and they really needed to begin development. Elsie knew that ifRead more

Akendi Goes to the Movies – James Bond

Akendi Goes to the Movies – James Bond

  As we gear up for summer blockbusters, I thought it would be fun to take a look at how usability and user testing is represented in the fictional worlds created on the silver screen.  For this initial post of “Akendi Goes to the Movies” I thought I would start with something that is aRead more

How to not sabotage your own card sort: Tips for success

How to not sabotage your own card sort: Tips for success

Card sorting is a great method of exploring and understanding how users organize and label content.  In our post on Card Sorting, we provided the basics for running a card sort, types of card sorts and things to be cognisant of when facilitating a card sort. Applying what you have learned can be a challengeRead more

Prototyping for Usability Testing – How detailed should you get?

Prototyping for Usability Testing – How detailed should you get?

At Akendi, we’re always usability testing something or the other, be it a live, fully functioning App or a prototype of a product at some stage in the development life cycle.  When testing prototypes, more often than not we find that there is a mismatch between the prototype fidelity and the underlying goals of testing. Read more