Research involving the usability of digital products makes up a great deal of the work I do.
Face to face / remote usability testing
Usability testing is useful when your website, mobile website or app needs fine tuning.
I design tests to evaluate UI, UX and content. I’ll be testing for problems and suggesting improvements.
A standard sample is comprised of 6 users who are recruited to a specified user typology. The user is given tasks to complete whilst the researcher observes their actions and captures pain points the customer experiences.
Remote Unmoderated User Testing
This technique allows users to go through a series of tasks on their laptop, tablet or smartphone, without the researcher.
Tests should not be too complex; they may involve navigating to specific content, registering for a service or using an e-commerce system.
The resulting data is a series of statistics and/or video capture of the screen and user completing the tasks.
Intercepts involve capturing a random selection of users as they use products and services that are in the first stages of release.
These initial, spontaneous interactions that people have with products and services are gold dust. This can be done remotely via an online survey, or physically by researchers being in the same vicinity as the product when customers use it.
I use a mix of observation and questioning to uncover authentic customer behaviour as they interact with the product or service.
Usability Groups are a combination of group discussions and user testing.
Users are convened into qualitative groups, but each have a laptop, tablet or smartphone to test digital designs. Prototypes and live websites are normally used as field materials.
Designs are evaluated, and users discuss the expectations and realities, suggesting and discussing improvements.
This technique, when applied to the correct research scenario, will produce deeper insights than user testing alone.
Biometric methods are a way to capture system 1 (nonconscious and non-verbal) reactions to digital materials.
This is a specialised field of research that is especially suited to evaluating communications materials, new website or app designs, and new concept testing and development.
Because of the specialist skills involved, I have a web page devoted to biometrics where you can read more about the techniques I am familar with.
This technique is designed to analyse journeys in a systematic way. It doesn’t include speaking to users – instead I rely on deep experience of users to assess interfaces and systems.
This is done in a systematic way using a framework of four questions, developed by Jacob Nielsen:
- Will the user try to achieve the right outcome?
- Will the user notice that the correct action(s) are available?
- Will the user connect the correct action with the intended outcome?
- Does the user get feedback on progress they have made?
It can be used in place of research when budgets are squeezed, or when users are difficult to source or as a precursor to a design sprint to provide inspiration.