To design an easy-to-use interface, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. Self-reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behavior.
Watch Users Work
Too frequently, I hear about companies basing their designs on user input obtained through misguided methods. A typical example? Create a few alternative designs, show them to a group of users, and ask which one they prefer. Wrong. If the users have not actually tried to use the designs, they’ll base their comments on surface features. Such input often contrasts strongly with feedback based on real use.
But ultimately, the way to get user data boils down to the basic rules of usability:
- Watch what people actually do.
- Do not believe what people say they do.
- Definitely don’t believe what people predict they may do in the future.
To discover which designs work best, watch users as they attempt to perform tasks with the user interface. This method is so simple that many people overlook it, assuming that there must be something more to usability testing.
We at Social Usability employ these practices with a ruthlessness for “watching”, using tools that allow us to mark events as we observe their use of your prototypes or iterative deliverables so we can present the realities to you.
See how we do this & how we present the results with your own private showing!
Contact us for more info!