All posts for “Online Usability”

Online Usability

Practice with Personas

Posted by: leelefever on June 25, 2004- 5:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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Just yesterday, I got my first taste of creating personas based on workers we've been observing recently. So far, the creation of these personas has been the most fun and interesting part of the project. Suddenly, we see all the disparate data from Contextual Inquiry come together to create fictional characters that represent the various types of folks we've observed. The more we get to know these fictional characters and match them with our targets, the more likely our future products are... Continue Reading

Cognitive Ergonomics

Posted by: leelefever on June 23, 2004- 5:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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Ergonomics Today(TM) - What is Cognitive Ergonomics? As I've been learning and doing contextual inquiry (observing users at work), the whole idea of making products easier to use through observing the user experience has completely absorbed me. I had never see the term "cognitive ergonomics" before, but I think it captures something that online tool builders should strive for- designs that fit with the way people think. Ergonomics is sometimes described as "fitting the system to the human,"... Continue Reading

The Ethnographic Observations Have Begun

Posted by: leelefever on June 8, 2004- 5:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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As you may know, I’m working with a team to improve distributed learning at a big ‘ole company that shall remain nameless. For this phase of the project, we’re using contextual inquiry as a way to understand the future users, which should help us make usable online products for them. We are in full-on observe and debrief mode right now. We observe people for a day and then debrief the next. During the debrief, we build models that represent the person’s context- their attitudes,... Continue Reading

Contextual Inquiry and the Fine Art of Fly Tying

Posted by: leelefever on May 27, 2004- 5:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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As part of a project I’m working on, my team is learning contextual inquiry, which is a way to conceive and build usable products through watching people in their work environment. Prior to actually going out into the field, a team of us are relying on our resident expert (Ryan) to train us. He’s been doing contextual inquiry for a few years. Our training methods may not have been perfect, but we worked with what we had. We needed to be able to set up a situation where we could get some... Continue Reading

Ethnography, 2 Groups and One Website

Posted by: leelefever on April 3, 2004- 4:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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peterme.com: Points and Lines - User Research Analysis Goodness Peter Merholz has posted an interesting set of slides from a recent Information Architecture conference where Laura Gray presented her findings from a ethnographic study. Her research revealed two populations of users using a web site that fits with only one population's needs. The more I see results like this from ethnography, the more powerful I think it is in building web sites and Intranets that really work.

UseIt: Productivity in the Service Economy

Posted by: leelefever on March 28, 2004- 4:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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Productivity in the Service Economy (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox) Jakob Neilsen's new Alertbox is about how usable information technology can increase productivity. I don't agreee with Jakob on everything, but I do agree this final point: Through methods such as field studies, task analysis, and user testing, organizations can discover new ways of working and better ways of supporting work with information technology. In particular, immense gains are possible through better collaboration... Continue Reading

Debugging the User Code: 2 Part Paper by Steve August

Posted by: leelefever on March 8, 2004- 4:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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I've been connecting with Steve August of KDA Research and it's been an fruitful journey so far- and one that happened thanks to this weblog. He left a comment on this entry and we connected from there. After talking, we found that we have complimentary areas of expertise. He's an expert in ethnography and working on a project related to online communities and I'm an expert in online communities working on a project that's using ethnography. Had I not had a weblog, I don't think we could... Continue Reading

Profile in Unusability: Weatherbug

Posted by: leelefever on March 7, 2004- 4:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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I was watching the evening news and saw a story about Weatherbug, which is the organization that runs the school-based weather updates. Have you noticed your (US) weatherman reporting about weather from local schools? It’s Weatherbug. I thought that was interesting so I went to their site. Upon clicking the big graphic on the home page, you go to this page where you are asked to choose an option and click "Next". Upon clicking "Next" an error message asks for a 5 digit zip code, yet there... Continue Reading

Good Experience: The Page Paradigm

Posted by: leelefever on February 22, 2004- 4:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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Good Experience - The Page Paradigm More experience-based guidelines from Mark Hurst. He re-iterates a point he made in 1999 that he called "The Page Paradigm". It goes: On any given Web page, users will either... click something that appears to take them closer to the fulfillment of their goal, or click the Back button on their Web browser. I think this is a simple observation that is easy to forget in design for usability. This guideline was something that I hadn't considered:... Continue Reading

Article: Stalk Your User

Posted by: leelefever on February 14, 2004- 4:00pm

Categories: Online Usability

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New Architect: Stalk Your User I've been learning a little more about a user-centered method of design and development called Contextual Inquiry, first developed in the early 90's by Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt. This article provides a high level view of the basics. Contextual inquiry is an increasingly popular method for discovering this information. Also known as ethnographic research or field studies, the idea is deceptively simple: Build useful products and watch your users as they... Continue Reading

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