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Beyond the Fat Wire

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday's workshop

Toolbox of Specialized Usability Techniques
Chauncey E. Wilson
WilDesign Consulting

Thursday, October 27, 2005
User Experience 2005
Boston



He'll set up a bog and/or wiki on this topic. Will send us details by email later.
12 people in this workshop. (Monday's had about 25-30)
Interesting that many people are involved with establishing formal usability programs and usability labs

UTest usability mailing list

email him for: UTest subscription info; tips for setting up a usability lab

at least 3 Canadians in this room

apparently, Jakob asked him to do this workshop

This guy (Chauncey Wilson) is a psych/HCI guy, but more on the Steve Krug end of the spectrum regarding how to view usability. The other person sitting at my table was also in the same Monday workshop as me (Advanced User Testing) and she doesn't have a high opinion of that workshop either.

There is going to be a "World Usability Day" on November 3rd. See the UPA web site for details. They've reserved (? I'll check later when I have an internet connection) the Boston Museum of Science.

I've been curious about Verizon's broadband wireless service ... basically, you get a voice plan and then for like $60/month you get unlimited broadband wifi anywhere within Verizon's broadband service areas, which are pretty much the major metropolitan areas in the US. For example, if I had Verizon broadband, I'd be online right now, even though the hotel doesn't have wireless in the meeting rooms. Assuming, of course, that the Verizon broadband is good service.




Fishbone Diagrams


  • to review factors that might have an effect on or contribute to a problem, process, or goal
  • the diagram has a main line (spine) that is the effect you want to examine
  • "main bones" are cause categories that act on the effect
  • each main bone is a major potential cause
  • there is also a root cause that would explain a problem, symptom or effect
  • Major cause categories
    • The 4 Ms: methods, machines, materials, manpower
    • The 4 Ps: place, procedure, people, policies
    • The 4 Ss: surroundings, suppliers, systems, skills
  • Common categories for usability
    • readability (effect)
      • font size (cause)
      • contrast (cause)
      • language/internationalization (cause)
      • line length (cause)
    • navigation
    • performance
    • accessibility
    • organization
    • perception/credibility/trust

Question from the audience regarding sorting out cause and effect that is valid, versus apparent but not real cause and effect, and/or cause and effect with intervening variables

Even if you have effects where you have no control over the cause(s), it's useful to understand the effect and its causes

Affinity diagram vs. card sort -- an affinity diagram is a group, social activity, where the group comes to consensus about the grouping/categorization/affinity of a set of concepts (e.g., by moving sticky notes around on a wall). a card sort does the same thing, but it is an individual activity. A group card sort is not recommended -- if you want a group activity, organize it as an affinity diagram activity instead

5-Why Analysis for getting from the proximate cause to the root cause (aka "the deep nagging approach")

  • technique for moving from symptoms to root causes
  • move from major categories on a fishbone diagram to root causes

Rapid Analyses for Fishbone Diagrams

  • vote on the most likely cause
  • rank main causes on importance, fixability, etc
  • rank the sub-causes within each main cause
  • do before and after fishbone diagrams

Tools

  • SmartDraw
  • RFFlow http://www.rff.com/
  • RCA-XPress http://www.rcaxpress.com/

Q-Sorting/Repeated Sorts

(see tutorial booklet)

Tool: WebQ

Cardsorting - Tom Tulles at Fidelity says 25 people. Others say around 40. This speaker says 20-100

Forcing choices (that is, through a Q-Sort, or saying "Spend $1000 in this store" gets more differentiation than if you have people rate on a 1-5 scale such as in a survey.

See WebSort for online versions of cardsorting/Qsorting




P Sorting

Closed vs. Open card sorting

Q sorting (along a dimension)

Repeated sorting

Q-Sort, Repeated Sort:

  • individual card sort
  • the person sorts based on self-chosen criteria
  • after, facilitator asks what that criteria was, etc, records responses, etc
  • facilitator shuffles the cards/papers
  • repeat

Another tool: EZSort and EZCalc (from IBM)

you want to see what cards appear with which other cards ... that is where you will find your correlations




Freelisting (a variation on brainwriting, which is a variation on brainstorming) -- to see what comes to people's minds first, for a given topic. this is an individual activity

Brainwriting -- write thoughts on sticky notes, or they write stuff and you collect the papers.

Brainstorming is a social event, and all ideas are supposed to be criticism free. with brainwriting, it's similar, but you write instead of speak out loud. People can write individually, and then the paper gets passed along and others add to it.

"Brainstorming is fraught with peril"

Brainwriting generates a larger quantity of ideas (and, the measurement of brainstorming success is quantity)

Braindrawing is similar, but with drawing instead of writing words

"The Icon Book" - about 10 years old, but has good ideas about iconic images

2-5 minute breaks every 15 minutes makes brainstorming more productive

if you give the brainstorming group a goal of X number of ideas (which will be 10-20% more ideas than you think they can generate) the brainstorming session will be more productive




KLM (Keystroke Level Model)

Like, having read the book by Card, Moran and Newell (1980) is the sign that you're a serious HCI person

GOMS - goals, operators, methods (combinations of operators), selection tools

KLM allows quick estimates of task time with a minimum of theoretical or conceptual background

Fitz Law (Tognazzini) -- you have a screen, a pointer, and a target. Fitz Law says, the bigger the target, the faster you get to it. Tognazzini talks about how big the target has to be to most effiiciently get the user to it.

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