OPENING THOUGHTS Automated usability testing

OPENING THOUGHTS Automated usability testing has been popping up on the SIGIA list and among some friends of […]


Automated usability testing has been popping up on the SIGIA list and among some friends of mine, so I’ll throw in my two cents while I have the stage: it scares me. You can’t measure qualitative data (much less a a customer relationship) through radio buttons or checkboxes. When Joe Blow is faced with an satisfaction survey or browser-add-on question, and he’s trying to answer as quickly as possible, he won’t give meaningful answers (whether it’s online or face to face). He gives fast, easy answers. Just give him his $25 certificate and send him on his way.

We should all be skilled at anticipating client needs. If a client tells me they want to measure usability, I’ve got to know how to address that. While they may be expecting a data-laden spreadsheet of some sort, nothing touches on the real issue at hand quite like showing them a testing-session video clip of their customer waving their arms up in the air, saying “I have absolutely no idea what I’m supposed to do now.”

Can automated usability gauge passion like that?

Are we trying to build brands that customers are passionate about?

Ok, let’s break for some coffee…


Latest Industry Standard has a few articles on Customer Experience…

Quick and Easy: Web surfers just want to get the job done – now. So if you’re not helping, you’re hurting.

Testing 1-2-3: Easy-to-use Web sites aren’t just “designed” – they’re the result of extensive usability testing. The good news: It’s easier than you think.

Think Small: Designing for the wireless Web’s tiny screens is a big hassle, but these tips will help.

NY Times: Revving Up the Search Engines to Keep the E-Aisles Clear. (Tomalak’s Realm)
More than two-thirds of online retail sites tested last spring by Forrester Research failed to list the most relevant content in the first page of search results. No wonder sites have suffered from an inability to convert browsers into buyers. Customers are literally being driven away by weak search technology.

Merges: Effective use of forms on websites (Usable Web)
People don’t like filling out forms in the real world, and especially not while using the web. Forms are complicated, distracting, and take control away from the user. That is, unless they’re designed effectively.

Goal-Directed Design/Cooper Interaction Design (Mersault*Thinking)
We chose to create a design for a PDA application to help people find their way around an airport. We call it the Wayfinder.

AskTog: Top 10 Reasons Why the Apple Dock Sucks


MSNBC: Video gallery shows quake, damage
Shaking, rattling and rolling in the Pacific Northwest