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Posts Tagged ‘usability

Jakob Nielsen found that it takes only five users to detect more than half of previously uncovered user interface problems. By reiterating this process over a usability testing cycle, one might roll out a fairly polished user interface.

I have found a similar principle when figuring out the culture of an organisation. I need only interact with a few people from different parts of its hierarchy to get a good feel of the place.

While my observations and experiences are anecdotal, this does not make them less true. But here is a caveat should anyone else decide to try this method: The new people you meet should not all be from the PR or HR group. Duh.

A local library I frequent replaced its old seats with more modern chairs. While the old chairs were worn, they were not covered with material that squeaked with every little movement.

Call me old school, but I like a quiet library because I go there to work. Settling into the new seats or moving about creates squeals, groans, and farts. When other people do the same, you get an orchestra of odd and unwanted sounds.

History has a way of repeating itself because people do not listen and are not learners from the mistakes of others. If they listened and learnt, they would put usability over aesthetics.

In the library’s case, decision makers could have tested the seats in context and with actual users. Usability is not judged from a budget spreadsheet, vendor sales pitch, or site visit. Usability is about contextual use.

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