Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What's after the usability report

What do you do once you've done your usability testing?...

The Usability Report is often the final product of a usability test. That makes sense. You were hired (or appointed, or even volunteered) to identify usability issues with a product or web site and document them. Getting that part right is a substantial, and difficult, task. But what comes next? Identifying usability issues doesn't make them go away--it just attracts the (often reluctant) attention of the people who are paid to make them go away. A true usability consultant (versus a usability test administrator) will commonly be asked to make recommendations about what should happen next to a product if its usability (and hence overall commercial success) is to improve.

But be in no doubt that the transition from test result to development recommendation is a major one. It's one thing to report that 63 percent of users were confused by the wording of the third sentence in the logon instructions; or that 58 percent of users clicked on the big red button even though it said 'Don't Click Here'. It's quite another to a) explain these results and b) suggest what should be done about them. Making the transition from data to action is arguably the best test of a usability consultant's skills. It gets to the heart of the conflict between the softer sciences of psychology, anthropology and sociology; and the harder disciplines of program design; and the sheer reality of commercial product development. A successful consultant is aware of all of these conflicting pressures and able to negotiate between them according to the client's priorities."   continued ...   (Via ZDNet Asia)


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