Reading Reflection: Week 4 How to Evaluate Usability Efficiently

22 Sep

From this week’s reading, I get much knowledge about mental models and UX evaluation methods. While I was reading the UX book Chapter 13, I felt very happy because I found that there are so many differences between Chinese and U.S. researchers applying UX evaluation methods. The UX book Chapter 13 introduces six rapid evaluation methods, that is, walkthroughs, UX inspection (especially heuristic evaluation), Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation (RITE), quasi-empirical evaluation and questionnaires. So many different and practical methods! Depending on the type of application one attribute might be more critical than another. Firstly, we should see some meaningful differences there. The table is so wide that I can just add an image copy of it. I’m sorry about that. If you can’t discern It, please see the original table here.

Sounds reasonable? No, the process is totally wrong! It makes ourselves fall into the “trap”. Why not do UX evaluation in an early stage? Why not develop a prototype and evaluate it? UX evaluation is so important that we can not ignore it until our product is finished. After learning UX book Chapter 13, I think a more reasonable method should be as follows:While I was in graduate school in China, I have conducted several projects and one of them is designing an interactive game. Instead of applying UX evaluation methods in an early stage, we often used them after the product was done. In our views, UX evaluation methods are just tools which can help us get users’ feedback. So after accomplishing the product, we recruit some participants, let them explore the game and answer some questions. With analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, we evaluate our product and make an improvement.

1. Start by defining the goals for your Interactive Game. Ask ourselves several questions: What is my game about? What is my game great at? What features should I include? The first impression is very important. Goals can help you assess your game’s success. Brainstorming and mind mapping can help with the first step too.


2. Conduct UX evaluation as early as possible and know what your users want. Evaluating aspects of user experience and especially understanding what kind of game play will evoke what type of user experience. With a storyboard and prototype, we can easily review the whole flow of the user interface and interactions. We should conduct UX evaluation as early as possible, well before all the parts affecting the holistic experience are available. Common methods and approaches used in interactive games are: Questionnaires and Heuristic Evaluation. One is user-oriented evaluation methods and the other is expert oriented evaluation.


3. Design iterative series of prototypes, construct and test. Once we know what our users want, design iterations should be evaluated from a user perspective. Meanwhile, be sure to follow ten general principles for user interface design ( This should be done early and continuously during the whole design process until requirements are met.


4. Later stage of evaluation. When we get to later stages of refining our design, typical users’ valuable feedback is the most important thing. Usability requirements for user performance and satisfaction can be tested. Therefore, a different kind of evaluation approach is needed. Combination of questionnaires and retrospective think aloud is a good choice.

All in all, these are my personal thoughts on UX evaluation method. I believe that after completing this smart course, I can have more insightful ideas to share. lol

1 Comment

Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Reading Reflections



One response to “Reading Reflection: Week 4 How to Evaluate Usability Efficiently

  1. Mihaela

    September 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    yes, you got it. We will add in the importance of starting with user research – that’s the first topic after October break.


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