Tag Archives: usability testing

Why Is Usability Testing Important?

Why Is Usability Testing Important?

Usability Testing is an essential aspect of any user-centred approach that puts the user at the centre of the development process. Adopting this approach advocates that the user should be foremost in any design and development decision. So, can you afford not to test your product and services with end-users? Technical development takes up mostRead 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

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

What do Tamagotchis, Furbies, and Smoke Alarms All Have in Common?

What do Tamagotchis, Furbies, and Smoke Alarms All Have in Common?

The Tamagotchi As a young child in the 90’s with no dog, I desperately wanted a Tamagotchi. Desperately. The pocket-sized virtual pet promised all the love and companionship that I had been missing out on. Everyone in my class seemed to have one and they looked so fun. So, I put it at the topRead 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

Developers and UX Designers, a love that dare not speak its name…but it really should

Developers and UX Designers, a love that dare not speak its name…but it really should

Coming from a development background, from an old school development house, I have encountered a lot of varying responses to UX Design from previous colleagues. And there have been some stark contrasts, from total acceptance and buy in, to a complete disregard for the importance of upfront validated design. To me, I never could understandRead more

Violating User Expectations

Violating User Expectations

“Mom, I’m going to have to call you back. I need to call 911.” I announced suddenly in the middle of my phone call. In retrospect, this maybe wasn’t the best way to inform my mother that I had just seen a motorcycle accident, but after sorting out that I wasn’t about to die, IRead 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

Paper vs. High Fidelity Prototyping Tools When it Comes to Concept Testing

Paper vs. High Fidelity Prototyping Tools When it Comes to Concept Testing

I fondly remember the days of sketching concepts on paper with a pencil and going to users to solicit feedback.  There was a certain joy to working out design problems with pencil in hand… scribbling, sketching, and creating. More and more this type of activity seems to be a thing of the past.  Interaction designersRead 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

The Case for Usability Testing

The Case for Usability Testing

Every year we do lots of usability testing on products that are in various states of design and/or development. Many are already in market, and in each one we find, on average, at least 20 usability issues. Every time we do a test I’m reminded that usability testing is a wonderful thing a wonderfully misunderstoodRead more

Usability Testing for Medical Systems: It’s not that complicated

Usability Testing for Medical Systems: It’s not that complicated

My introduction to the world of human factors and usability testing was through a book entitled, “Set Phasers on Stun: and other true stories of design, technology, and human error” by Steven M. Casey. Set Phasers on Stun is a collection of short stories where the misalignment between the design of technology and user behaviourRead more

Bias in the UX Lab

Bias in the UX Lab

Bias is an inclination. Most Biases – like preferring the smell of perfume instead of garbage, or assuming someone who’s shivering is cold – are helpful. But in the realm of UX Research, bias is like an evil villain lurking in the background, threatening to compromise research findings by any means possible. Bias in researchRead more

Usability Testing is not Public Opinion Research

Usability Testing is not Public Opinion Research

This week it was brought to my attention that the Canadian Government was reviewing the standing offers that pertained to Public Opinion Research. The big news was that under Public Opinion Research there was now a new category for Usability Testing. When I heard that – my eye started to twitch. You might think thatRead more