Archive for August, 2005

Usability: Band-aids or Vitamins?

Posted by in user experience, user testing on August 8, 2005

The project is about to go into launch.  Weeks, months, if not years, of planning, designing, development and testing has gone into it.  Project managers, business analysts, developers, designers, testers and contractors have all been putting blood sweat and tears to make sure things go smoothly.  Of course, it’s seldom that everything is perfect – there is some smoke and mirrors (but only a few!).  But it’s version 1.0.  Version 1.0 always has problems we know about – we’ll fix them in version 2.0.

Then it happens.  Someone finds a problem because she had her friend use it when she was showing off her work – and he couldn’t for the life of him figure out how to work it.  He didn’t even notice the fancy new functions that took the team spent a lot of time arguing over.  Worse still, he is using one of the basic functions for something completely different to what the project team had intended.  There is a slight moment of panic.  Perhaps he’s an exception.  How could he not know how to work it?  It seems blindingly obvious.  A few more ‘corridor tests’ reveal the same worrying problem – no one seems to know to use it properly! Read more »

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