Discovery, Research, and Testing

In April 2004, Boxes and Arrows sent a set of questions to Steve Krug for an interview to be published in the June edition. What we didn’t know at the time was that Steve is a notoriously slow and methodical writer. Eleven months later, to our great delight, this interview turned up. Thanks Steve!

Buying new clothes and looking at current fashions is usually much more interesting and exciting than digging through one’s closet or laundry hamper. However, there is a lot one can learn by stopping and taking a minute to examine one’s own clothes…

“Observe your users” — a maxim most user experience professionals subscribe to. But how do you “observe?” When testing websites, generating hypotheses about user behavior can help inform the observation process, structure data collection and analysis, and organize findings.

As a specialist in the user, you gain knowledge through observation and direct questioning of individual users. Now, you can add to that insights gained from data pulled during their actions on the site. By looking at this information, you will get a fuller picture of user behavior, not in a lab, but in the true user environment.

How do you prove your worth to clients in today’s difficult economy? Performed as part of a sales proposal or the discovery phase of a project, a site assessment can uncover opportunities for improvement and help you speak knowledgeably about solutions to your potential client’s problems.

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