Posts Tagged ‘ Further reading ’

How to assign severity ratings to usability issues

One of the tasks you will do for the next usability report is identify usability issues and assign them severity ratings. This blog post from Measuring Usability (a blog I recommend you follow) helps you learn how to assign severity ratings. Please read it and learn from it.

Emotional and seductive design

Since many of you are interested in emotional impact, I’d like to make some recommendations for future reading. You could start with this blog post on designing for the gut (and please add UX Magazine to your RSS feed).

The classic book on this topic is Donald Norman’s Emotional Design.

There is also this book on Seductive IxD: (SE – maybe you can share your reading notes about this book on your blog?)

And, if you’re serious about this, you should really read Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things:

Oh, and also? Google Don Norman. Stalk him. Research him. Watch his talks.


Website Experience Analysis

This post explains an alternative research protocol, website experience analysis (WEA).

Website experience analysis is a research protocol (set of procedures) that can help researchers identify what specific interface elements users associate with particular interpretations.

WEA focuses on the messages that users take-away from their experience with the interface.

All interfaces try to communicate something, such as:

  • you should trust this application with your credit card data
  • you should come study for a MS degree in CGT at Purdue
  • etc.

WEA allows you to find out:

  1. whether the interface actually communicates this message – do people actually take away the message that you intended, and to what extent?
  2. what specific elements of the interface users associate with those particular messages (trust, CGT is a good program, etc.)

The WEA questionnaire is based on prominence-interpretation theory. It works with pairs of items that ask:

  1. Ratings of user perceptions (e.g. trust – on a scale of 1-10)
  2. Open-ended: what about the interface makes the user feel this way?

WEA is based on a much more complex theoretical framework of the website experience. The framework breaks the website experience down into two major dimensions: time and space. WEA then explains the phases of the experience as they unfold across time, and the elements of the website space (elements are categorized according to element functions). The theoretical framework is likely only valid for websites, because the experience with another type of interface, even though it may have the same three main temporal phases (first impression, engagement, exit) will likely differ in terms of the steps within those phases and the nature of the spatial elements and their functions.

WEA is different from a regular questionnaire because it connects perceptions with specific interface elements. Questionnaires will tell you whether the user trusts the product, but they won’t provide specific feedback as to what particular elements may account for that perception.

WEA is modular, which means that a different battery of items can be used, depending on the focus of the research. I used WEA in 2 contexts:

  1. To evaluate the experience of visiting organizational websites. Here, I used the 5 dimensions of good relationships between organizations and their publics: trust, commitment, investment, dialog, etc.
  2. To evaluate whether emergency preparedness websites persuade users to take emergency preparedness actions. Here I used a battery of items derived from a theory of fear appeals (EPPM) and assessed whether users perceived there is a threat, believe they can do something about it, believe the recommended actions would be effective, etc.

I think WEA would provide excellent feedback about how prospective students perceive the CGT department, based on their experience with the website. It would be very valuable to find out exactly what about the website makes them feel that:

  • they would benefit from a CGT MS
  • they would fit in
  • they would have a good educational experience
  • etc. – we have to determine the relevant set of items. Ideally, we would have a theory to guide item development.

WEA can be used with other research questions, such as: How do HR managers look at job candidates’ online information? (hello, Jack!)

WEA can be improved upon to better tap into emotional aspects of the user experience. It can be modified to be a more inductive approach, that elicits emotions and interpretations from users rather than asking about specific interpretations (such as trust, etc.)  – thank you, Emma, for these suggestions!

If you would like to read more about WEA, you can find the relevant citations in Google Scholar. I can provide copies of the papers if you don’t have access to them.

For CGT 512, you can consider adding a couple of WEA items to traditional usability testing in order to capture more information. Please let me know if you would like to do so and what questions you have about this.


Design for reflective processing

Interesting blog post on designing for reflective processing – relates to our class discussion.

Do note the definition of reflective processing as introduced by Norman. It does not refer to reflection as thinking, but to reflection as in a mirror – do you see your self-concept mirrored in the product? Does the product conform to your self-image? Think about how important this is when choosing a car, for example.

Reflective processing is when our desires for uniqueness and cultural or aesthetic sophistication influence our preferences. Simply put, it is about seeing ourselves positively reflected in the products we use.

But then, how do you design products that are aligned with your users’ self-image? Read the blog post!

The Future of Interaction Design

I came across this Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design on Twitter. Liked it enough that I decided to research the author a bit. Who does s/he this s/he is? Oh, no biggie, just the person who created the interaction design for the iPad… Bret Victor, check him out.

Usability heuristics: Debating the fundamentals

You read Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics and will learn many more design & usability principles in the next two weeks.

After you learn the rules, the next step is to learn how to break them. This UX Magazine post about debating the fundamentals is an example of how to think about breaking the rules. I highly recommend you read it.

What are your thoughts about breaking the rules? Should you? Should you not? When? Why?