At the end of 2011, we took a week and looked back at 10 Key Usability Concepts. It had its own podcast and a two-part article wrap up.
Now, another four months removed from that review, it’s time for another review.
It’s just a good thing to do.
We get caught up in the weekly grind here – cranking out articles and podcasts. It’s good to be able to take time to reflect and to be sure that we’ve absorbed the right things from what we’ve been learning and sharing with you in the past several months.
On today’s podcast, we tackle 10 (more) key usability concepts.
10. Personal Analytics
A great way to get introduced to the world of analytics and measurement. Products like the FitBit and Sleep Cycle iPhone app record your personal habits. Using them, you will get the feel for how you are spending your time and energy and will come to see the power that data awareness has in allowing you to easily change your behavior.
9. Time Tracking
We spent a lot of time looking at various time tracking tools. It all comes down to what you need in your tool – what you’re trying to track and measure. It could be something as simple as tracking time in on a project or as complex as looking for good analysis tools to increase your productivity.
8. Choose Your UX Tools Wisely
UX tools are the Wild West at the moment. New ones are constantly coming out and current ones are routinely being upgraded. It’s important to choose your tools wisely and to know what you want to get out of them before you get into them.
7. You Have to Know Why You Want to Test
It sounds like an obvious thing to know but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget. It boils down to a simple concept: don’t ask a question if you don’t know how the answer will improve your site. It’s important to gather good data and you can only do that if you know why it is you’re testing, not just what it is you’re testing.
6. How meetings go bad – Roles vs. Expectations
Bad meetings are the result of personal feelings trumping the professional goals and/or mismanaged expectations. We also talk about point-versus-field with the idea that better meetings can be had when the discussion is focused on addressing the ideas in the field. This makes coming up with a satisfactory point less painful.
5. A UX key: Reduce the Bounce Rate
Looking for what to test on your website? 2 ideas: test the critical path and in particular, pay attention to the bounce rate. The bounce rate is the best indicator as to how confusing a particular page is for your users.
4. Iteration vs. Innovation
The process of iterating is like putting one step in front of the other. It’s a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race way of progressing. Innovation requires a leap in order to come into existence. It’s best summed up by the phrase “you can’t get there from here”. We talk about when you should iterate via user testing versus innovate by starting over.
3. Personas: Know When to Use Them
The problem with personas is that they exist. I kid. The problem with personas is that they are routinely mis-applied. Personas work best at the product development stage, not the website design stage. Misapplying personas results in a fractured message and reduced clarity.
2. Writing Good Questions is Hard
A special gift of the UX specialist is the inquisitive and experimental mind. They have to know the mind of the user and the business. Not so hard, really. But the crux is bridging those two things with good questions and instruments. And, by good, I mean producing valuable and actionable results that are implemented to improve a design or solve a problem.
1. Listening to Others in the Community is Key
Just like before, we are amazed and delighted at the community with have found surrounding UX professionals. Fun, engaging and on the cutting edge of business and design – we feel inspired and energized reading blogs and twitter stream. We are grateful for the opportunity to interview Clark and Ryan, Alfonzo, and ‘Big Tiger’ Remsik.