Discovery, Research, and Testing

“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.

October 14th, 2002

Consolidated Assessment:

There are several research tools at our disposal for understanding user behavior. But how many times do we get the chance to spend as much time on research as we think is required? Combining techniques is one way to increase efficiency and still collect meaningful information.

There are several important factors to consider when you are planning to do prototyping for user testing. You will want to make careful choices about fidelity, level of interactivity and the medium of your prototype. Chris Farnum offers descriptions and best use scenarios to help you make the best prototype decision for your tests.

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