Every designer we know has a scattered selection of images, Evernote clippings, or bookmarks of inspirational design elements. We think collecting and curating UI elements on webpages can be much better and easier. That’s why we are happy to announce Usabilla Discover.
Why is it people are so keen to embrace user testing but reject other user experience design techniques? I have asked myself this question on many occasions. Especially given that the full potential of user testing can only be exploited within a wider UX strategy.
My first thoughts were that it is because user testing can be performed without making any change to the project lifecycle. It can be completed independently without affecting the project plan. In his book The inmates are running the asylumAlan Cooper makes a similar statement. He says: “The main reason why empirical user testing has been widely accepted in the high-tech business is that it fits easily into the existing sequence”.
Does our life become easier with every new invention on the market? I don’t think so. New technology presents us with great possibilities and limitations at the same time. Let’s have a look at this quote:
The same technology that simplifies life by providing more functions in each device also complicates life by making the device harder to learn, harder to use. This is the paradox of technology.
— Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things (1988)
What Norman said about technology in 1988 is still valid today. Our economy, educational system and our social interactions have changed dramatically with available technologies. In order to stay competitive, products become more and more ingenious, their features adding up. The idea is to make our lives easier. But does it work?
NU.nl, the biggest news network in the Netherlands, redesigned it’s website this year. The main objective of the redesign was to improve the overall user experience and retaining the clear presentation of content, which the website is known for. One specific goal was to direct more visitors from the homepage to the content that the news network offers on different topics. Annemarie Boon, usability specialist at Sanoma Media, used Usabilla in the process to achieve this goal. Thank you Annemarie, for being so kind to share your findings with us.
Lets dish out some quick ways to test and improve your product. Long tests with a lot of tasks certainly can have their place (for example in the early stages of a design). However, many of our customers are improving their website by running multiple, recurring, and short tests.
Recurring tests are easy to setup and manage. They are of the ‘set and forget’ type. Participating only takes a couple of minutes and is fun to do. It’s also a good example of agile design: small improvements can be made to the existing product quickly. Can’t you just taste the low hanging fruit?
Automated remote usability testing is a very simple and efficient way to gather feedback on digital interfaces – if done correctly. When you do usability testing automated AND remotely, it’s good to keep in mind that the participant is missing some common communication channels. You ask participants for feedback, but you can’t see their faces, while your participants can’t ask any questions to express discomfort or uncertainty. When you’re aware of these limitations you’re able to compensate for it by carefully designing your test questions.
Usabilla offers quick visual feedback, but in some cases you might want to collect additional feedback from your participants or just some demographic data by conducting a traditional survey. There are plenty of wonderful survey tools out there that make your life easier (e.g SurveyGizmo, Wufoo, Polldady), and now we’ve released a new feature that allows you to seamlessly combine a Usabilla test with one of these tools.>
To introduce the feature we’ve created a demo case. Lets assume that a university wants to know what its students think of the faculty’s homepage (universities love surveys!). So, they create a Usabilla test to get specific feedback on the homepage and a SurveyGizmo survey to get more generic feedback including some demographics of the users.
Mashable made a fresh start of the new year by launching a redesign. The intention of this new design was to put more focus on the stories, removing clutter, and dividing the content into sections (Home, Social Media, Mobile, Web Video, Entertainment, Business, Tech, and Jobs). In the past week more than 150 people commented on the blog post about the new design. Most reactions on Mashable seem to be positive about the new look and feel: ‘Fresh & clean’, ‘I like the sections’, ‘More professional’, and ‘Clean and Simple’. What are the most important changes in this design iteration and what can we learn from feedback? We asked 60 social-media-savy participants for feedback.
The following table shows a selection of currently available webtools for remote usability testing and their features. Most of these services offer ways to analyze the behaviour of users. Usabilla provides valuable insights by collecting (visual) feedback.
We have been working on some usability improvements in our frontend. These changes have been released last week and should enhance the user experience for your participants. Users get a clear introduction before they start the test. The toolbar has been simplified, the dimming on the mockups has been removed and users no longer need to register before they can rate a page. These improvements should push up the conversion rates for your tests.