Thursday, April 13, 2006

Usability Testing Best Practices: An Interview with Rolf Molich

UIE's Christine Perfetti inteviews a usability pioneer...

"You may have never heard of Rolf Molich. Yet, if you’ve done any usability testing, design evaluations, or heuristic inspections, then you’ve been affected by his pioneering work.

Since entering the field in 1983, Rolf has produced some of the most impressive and forward-thinking research on effective discount usability techniques. Two of Rolf’s more renowned contributions include the co-invention of the Heuristic Inspection process with Jakob Nielsen and the more recent CUE (Comparative Usability Evaluation) studies.

The Heuristic Inspection approach turned the usability world on its head when Rolf and Jakob suggested that you could get value by having experts review interface designs. However, in recent years, Rolf has revisited his thinking on this method and now is questioning its effectiveness for all projects.

The CUE studies are the first of their kind. Usability practitioners from all over the world are asked to evaluate the same interface, using their standard practices. Rolf, along with Robin Jeffries and other collaborators (including the interface’s design teams), compared the different results, looking to see which practices were most effective at discovering and reporting usability practices.

The most famous study, CUE-2 had nine teams conduct usability tests of Microsoft’s Hotmail interface. More recently, CUE-4 had 18 evaluators (using both expert inspections and usability testing) looking at iHotelier’s Flash-based hotel reservation system."   continued ...   (Via UIE)

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