Friday, December 19, 2014

Usability in the Movies

Usability is one of those characteristics of technology that has always been there. We need not look far for difficult tech, poor design, or confusion or over elaborate clock-work. This article is really just for fun. Let's find those funny tech moments in the movies and watch as we are blissfully reminded of what we must deal with on a day-to-day.



Sister Act
1992
Sorry that this isn't a movie clip. I'll keep looking until I can find it. Basically the usability point being made here is that even a service such as 'church' has room to improve in order to better meet the needs and expectations of their audience.



Batman Begins
2005
Great example of designing in a box Batman! How do you know the common criminal is going to be afraid of your personal childhood fear?


Zoolander
2001
I actually had this experience one time. These guys are trying to figure out how to turn on an Apple Computer. So embarrassing.


Men In Black
1997
Poor chair usability, poor test packet experience, poor Will Smith!


Spaceballs
1987
If a user can't figure out what the purpose is from a quick glance... Well... duh.


Galaxy Quest
1999
Even with the bests quantitative information, a design can miss the mark. It's important to always have the conversation with your users... Otherwise you may end up with a response similar to what is happening in this clip. Check out nngroup.com's article titled Risks of Quantitative Studies


The Incredibles
2004
You know it's a dark pattern in Iterative Design when the human/computer interaction perpetually gets worse.




Catch Me If You Can
2002
This is a great example of using the "Halo" affect to con people. Bad ethic, but great example.


The Little Mermaid
1989
Although this isn't a movie clip , it does elude to a usability topic. Sometimes we think we have a good grasp of the main problem of a design. In order to really know where the pulse of the issue is, it's important to do rigorous up-front usability testing.


Hope you enjoyed. ~e

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Handy Google Sheets Templates for UX Designers

One tool set we use at the company I work for is Google Sheets. Sometimes I find myself doing similar tasks repeatedly. Just like anything, when you have to do something repeatedly, you find yourself creating "molds" or "templates" to hopefully speed up the process. This is especially true when it's stuff that is in-and-of-itself monotonous. The purpose of this blog entry is to have a place where I can share out my Google Sheets templates to other UXers. Open the sheet and follow the simple instructions on the first tab of the sheet. Let's work together to make this world a better place! Happy Holidays!!!



 
 

Experience Blueprint Sheet



Open the Experience Blueprint Sheet Template
The purpose for this template is to help map out all the various touch-points in a service offering that a team or a company has.  It's an adaptation of the Service Blueprint described in the book "Service Design - From Insight to Implementation by Andy Polaine, Lavrans Lovlie, and Ben Reason forward by John Thackara. A Rosenfeld Media production.

 
 

Reference Sheet



Open the Reference Sheet Template
The purpose for this template is to help map out all the various touch-points in a service offering that a team or a company has.  This template is intended to provide you with place to track reference material for your research efforts. It's been robust enough for my needs. You may want to adapt it to your projects needs though. Enjoy!

 
 

Search Terms Sheet



Open the Search Terms Sheet Template
The purpose for this template is to help map out all the various touch-points in a service offering that a team or a company has.  Sometimes conducting 'online search research' can become tedious, or at the very least confusing. It may be helpful for you to track those terms that you've already used to search on. See the templates example for usage. Hope this one is just what you were looking for.

 
 

UX Assessment Planning Sheet



Open the UX Assessment Planning Sheet Template
The purpose for this template is to help map out all the various touch-points in a service offering that a team or a company has. 

If you are like me, you do a lot of UX Assessments for various teams. I also tend to find myself working collaboratively with members of my team.

If you have a Heuristic Evaluation you need to conduct, consider using this sheet to stay organized and to help identify all the screens that you need to remember to keep in scope. You may also consider looking into the article titled Creating a UX Assessment. When you are all done with your work and you need to present, well consider also reading Presenting a UX Assessment.

 
 

Questions-Answers Tracking Sheet



Open the Questions-Answers Tracking Sheet Template
The purpose of this sheet template is to track questions, answers, dates and sources for the project you are working on. Modify to your liking! :)

 
 

User Info Tracking Sheet



Open the User Info Tracking Sheet Template
Use this template to track User Types and User Type Attributes such as user goals, frustrations, job activities, competency levels and the like.

 
 
 


{_}

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The right way to present examples in a sentence

The purpose of this article is to draw your attention to the usability, or rather understand-ability of in-sentence examples.

Yeah, you heard me right. In this article my goal is to challenge you in how you write your sentences so that even at this micro level, your user's experience is streamlined. Specifically, what I'm talking about is when you have to provide an example.


The in-sentence example


Today I'm evaluating an interface that has a bunch of stuff that could be better based on some of the UX Industries best practices. I get to a point where I need to to present a few examples within the sentence to better describe what I'm referring to. Here's the sentence I was working on...

"Due to competing levels of visual intensity (i.e. picture of headphones, bright blue button, color gradient in header and footer) on various screens through this course, the user may find it difficult to determine the primary calls to action (i.e. the "Audio Check" button and the "Next" button).

But after looking it over, I realized that I don't even know what "i.e." means! 

i.e.

Right out of the gate, the fact that it is an acronym opens the user to the possibility of misinterpretation. Does "i.e." mean "Independent Engineer" or "Internet Explorer"? After a little further investigation, it turns out that it's an acronym for two Latin words ("id est") that mean 'that is'. 

 Due to the complex symbolism happening here, there are many MANY different ways people have presented this way of typing up in-sentence examples...
  • EI
  • E.I
  • E.I.
  • E. I.
  • E/I
  • E I
  • -ei
  • Ei.
  • ei
  • i. e.
  • i.e
  • i.e.
  • I.e.,
  • I e
  • -ie
  • .ie
  • .i'e
  • .i.e.
  • ie-
  • Ie.
In terms of usability, this way of communicating an in-sentence example is simply confusing. It's heavily reliant on the users existing understanding.

E.g.

Just like "i.e.", this alternative way of presenting in-sentence examples is simply requiring too much from the user. Why would the user have to decode my acronym before they can figure out that, "Oh, these are examples!".

My speculation on the usage of these acronym methods is simply because it makes writer seem more intelligent or sophisticated. But does is that the outcome? Maybe for those people who are using this means are impressed by other peoples choices to use such a method. But what about those folks who just don't get it. They are not impressed. They are confused.

Conclusion

When you have a sentence that requires that you provide a couple examples to help communicate what it is that you are trying to say, in encourage you to really think about how you are going to write that out. Here's how my sentence from early changed...
"Due to competing levels of visual intensity (Examples: picture of headphones, bright blue button, color gradient in header and footer) on various screens through this course, the user may find it difficult to determine the primary calls to action (Examples: the "Audio Check" button and the "Next" button).
I hope this helps you be a better communicator and a better advocate for the user.

Reference