Category Archives: Thoughts & Ideas

Class Reflection of The Usability Report Presentation

The final usability report is a huge project and we spent a lot of time and effort on this report. We made a specific plan for the test- define each task, design questionnaires, install instruments, recruit participants and so on. We did pilot study twice and modified our test procedure again and again. During the formal test, we observed users’ behaviors carefully, did some short interviews and recorded all the metrics. After that, we analyzed our data and then identified 13 usability problems. Three are very critical problems, five have medium severity and five are minor problems.  Because we have a lot of things to be included in the final report, it has more than 100 slides. Hopefully, Dr. V , this will not push you over the

Our presentation went smoothly. I found all our presentation skills have been greatly improved. We know how to present our idea effectively. Use one slide for one idea. Pick the most critical things. Keep it simple and clear. Time is limited and we can not waste even one second for unnecessary information.

Moreover, I learned a lot of things from other groups.

  1. The first group did a perfect job and it is very interesting to ask users some website experience analysis questions. Do you feel belonging on this website and what makes you feel that? Do you feel inspired on the website and what makes you feel that? I’d like to think more about WEA in the future research.
  2. The presentation of the second group impressed me a lot because of their slides. Beautiful design and layout! A clear and effective interface! It was a user-centered presentation and made me comforting. A good looking slide that rocks! Pay more attention to the creation of each slide.
  3. There are many questions overlapped between the third group and our group. However, the results from the data are totally different.  We use different methodology, different subjects and different metrics. That’s why we got different answers. The demographic of participants is critical for a scientific research. We should recruited a criterion sample of participants who are mostly appropriate representatives of potential user.
  4. The fourth group recruited nine participants. Great job! Their findings are different from ours too. But we identified some common issues. For example, the PDF file of CGT MS handbook is too hard to read. The separate menus on the right and middle areas confuse users. A drop down menu will be more helpful. Using screenshots to present issues and recommendations is clear and effective. Love that so much!
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Thoughts & Ideas



Reflection On Guerilla User Research

Last week we conducted a Guerilla UX research in our CGT512 class. The purpose of our interview is to examine the usability of CGT graduate studies website and provide recommendations for COT web team. Our primary user group is potential international graduate students. After brainstorming, we developed a list of questions and interviewed five current Purdue graduate students. There are some worthy questions to explore during the whole process.

1. How to structure our questions

The first thing that we should consider is what kind of question to choose, open-ended or closed-ended? In order to get a great deal of specific information, open ended questions should be given priority. While the interviewees are not influenced by the list of responses, they may be influenced by the order of questions. In my opinion, we should group questions in topics and then pose them in a logical order, from simple questions to difficult questions. Starting with some simple questions will motivate respondents to participate in the interview. Also, when determining the order of questions within each topic, I think we can imagine that we are navigating the website from top to bottom, from left to right meeting the users’ common habits. What kind of experience will we have? Do we have any problem? What do I like or dislike?

Meanwhile, we contain few closed-ended questions, where the respondent is asked to select answers from a brief list (e.g., “__20-25 ___ 25-30”). It is very useful for the demographic questions, especially asking about their ages. These demographic questions such as gender, income, education can be put at the end of the questionnaire. In doing so, it helps avoid alienating or worrying participants.

Secondly, the wording of a question has a significant impact on responses. When doing our face-to-face interviews, they are vulnerable to bias. For example, more people answered “less helpful” to the question “How helpful is the website in finding information you want?” preceding it with the question “Did you have any frustrations when browsing?” Unconsciously interviewer bias occurs when something bad is to ask with negative behavior or comment. The response can be influenced a great deal by the wording of the question. The interviewers should be very careful when choosing words and phrases in a question.

2. Focus on broader user goals or on specific work information

I think first we should understand users’ motivations and end-goals while keeping an eye on the broader context. The goals should be broad enough to cover the full range of usage patterns and needs. For example, the goal of potential graduate students who come to CGT website is to find useful information for their application. Current graduate students visit the CGT website in order to get support for their current study. After deciding the target group, we should speak to people who can represent the likely experiences, contexts or goals which our real users will have. Then we can focus on specific work information based on everything you can find out about the representatives. Below are some specific questions we can think about.

What are these person look like?

What do they like or dislike?

What goals have they already achieved?

What goals do they wish to reach?

What kind of things will interest them and give them a wonderful experience?

What kind of things will upset them and give them a bad experience?

How often do they use the website?

What kind of devices do they use to access the website?

With goal-oriented and user-centered design, the specific work information will help us find out deep-seated motivations and how they affect the overall experience. After articulating and synthesizing the experience people interact with the product, we can define the key problem and clarify the solution so as to satisfy users goals.

3. Translating interview data to design requirements

Because of the limited time and resources, we use convenience sampling method to collect data. A small sample selected from our class is only representative of particular individuals, not the whole population. If we want to make an inference for the entire range of variation, we should capture data with stratified sampling or cluster sampling method instead of convenience sampling method. It can reduce the risk of biases and develop a more valid explanation and general method.

Additionally, in the qualitative research, translating interview data to design requirements is not a mechanical translation process. Itrelies not only on our interview questions but also on the specific situation. Issues are interconnected and must be considered holistically. That means the design requirements generally depend on the integration of data from a variety of questions and sources of information. For example, almost all the interviewees suggested that information about current students, Lafayette life or workshops will be very helpful. When applying these design requirements, we should also consider usability requirements translated from other data such as good visual design and easy navigation.

All in all, the experience of applying the readings to a hands-on activity gives me an excellent opportunity to work through several of the most important issues in designing Guerilla UX research. Begin by thinking about our goals for this research and brainstorm whatever comes to our mind relating to the interview. Then identify, develop and organize some significant questions that worth answering. After that we can seek out people who would like to be users. During the interview, watch and talk to them, encourage subjects to think aloud. At last, analyze the user interface research study data with insight and creativity. Oh, most importantly, do not forget to share our questions and reflections on these experiences and that is what we are doing!

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Thoughts & Ideas



Random Thoughts About The “Steve Jobs Rule” After Tuesday’s Lecture

The day before yesterday, there was a brief lecture on innovation in product design given by Doug Field, VP of Product Design for Apple, Inc. I would like to get some information about product design and user experience design. However, the lecture was so short and he didn’t talk much about designing. Even he refused to answer any questions about iPhone 5. Instead, Doug talked a lot of things about his dream, his career and his belief. He praised Darwin and quoted the quotation of the Darwin many times, “the survival of the fittest” and “nature is a designer”. He said that Organisms should produce more offspring than actually survive. So don’t fear failure because failure is necessary for progress. You can pile up lots of failures and still keep rolling. Hold out and you will succeed in time.

While Doug was showing slides, from his lively face and moving hands, I felt a strong sense of his love and belonging. “What do you love to do?”“What do you believe?” “What is your hobby”. He was showing us how to create aspirations and sell dreams! What an Apple style! As Steve Jobs said:

You’ve got to find what you love and that is as true for work as it is for lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you’ve found it.

Do what you love and love what you do, then it will be a great work. In one word, passion is everything. This is the Steve Rules of Success. This is also what I learned from the lecture. Jobs gave the people around the world a compelling reason to own his creation and in turn the world gave him a huge aspiration and respect. I’m sure almost everyone wishes to have one Apple product one day. That’s the power of Apple and the power of dream. Here I would like to share Jobs’ greatest legacy. I think it is the set of principles that drove his success. Here is four principles we can adopt in our jobs.

1. Follow your heart and intuition.

Jobs once said: Know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Do what you feel passionate about and it really, really matters. We spend most of our day on work. If it doesn’t arouse or excite feelings, passions and vibes, how can our products stir up people’s interest in them. Time is limited. Don’t waste your time on blah and uninspired things. Take courage to follow your heart and intuition.

2. Say no to 1,000 things.

Jobs believes that a good product comes from saying no to 1,000 things. This is a powerful thought from Steve Jobs. In the lecture, Doug also stressed that we should do the best things in life. Everyday we are tossed such numerous directions doing too many things that forget to do the best one. Often, I find myself very very busy in trying different things and never think about saying “no”. Few effects to achieve. I must learn how to select the best from all the stuff and then concentrate on it. 

3. Create a need for the product.

Jobs said that, you can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new. It seems to differ from the points in our UX books and other design textbooks which stress the importance of understanding the needs of users. However, another Steve’s words may explain this, It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. According to him, every user wants to own something but does not know what he or she really wants. Just like I know that some products satisfy me while others only frustrate me but I can’t exactly tell why. Maybe it is just my feeling and intuition. However, when I learned the principles of cognitive psychology, it suddenly hits me. Awesome! That’s actually what I want! It makes me aware of anything.

So I think the reason why Steve is the master of all is that he can capture the need in users’ deep heart and create a good product which differentiating it very well with other products and connecting with the users’ minds. In fact, the process of creating a need is selecting the best need and making the users recognizing that. Their need is there! Find it! Give users a compelling reason to vibe their feeling and buy your product.

Another question arises here. How to create that compelling reason? Well, I think the answer is to do user-centered design for the product. We should focus on ideas rather than tools or techniques. This is what I am seeking hard in my CGT 512 class. I need to get the best knowledge from my book and come back to time and time again for inspiration and insight. I am still on the road.

4. Sell dreams, not products.

The dream is not only Jobs’ but also ours. Steve Jobs really understood users and captured our imagination, then presented it on a small button in iPhone or iPad tablet. It seems so easy. As Steve Jobs said, dream bigger, be care about users themselves and believe in yourself. Act at once and you can make it reality and succeed.


Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Thoughts & Ideas


Tags: , ,