AEA Chicago 2009: DIY UX: Give Your Users an Upgrade

An Event Apart Chicago 2009 Session 5 was on simple things anyone can to to improve their user’s experience on their site, presented by Whitney Hess.

Slides for this presentation on slideshare.com

Design Research
What do our users *actually need*?

  • feedback mechanism: easier for users > easier for you
  • feature/bugs system: most votes = done first (user based, not company based)
  • have survey links all over the place
  • designer research via email – teasing out more info; also feedback for customer
  • let them tell you about their workflow – help you address the core problem

Web Analytics
What are our users *actually doing*?

  • data in conjunction with user research – data doesn’t lie, but it’s dependant on your inference
  • crazyegg.com – create maps of where people click on a page
  • record the top 100 searches: top 10 results of each
  • “stats let me refute the client’s notion of how their constituents were behaving”
  • search logs let you see what people really want to do w/ your site

Usability Testing
How well does our stuff *actually work*?

  • ask “what do you think”
  • “‘it looks good’ is the worse feedback we can get”
  • using the same people over and over again allows them to get used to being harsh
  • where to find participants
      Friends and family
    • coworkers who don’t work on project (receptionist, HR, sales)
    • Twitter followers
    • Starbucks
    • Craigslist
  • Why not test online? don’t be a wimp! You should be in the room & feel the pain.
  • if you’re not there, youdon’t see body language, can’t ask follow-up
  • Informal testing can be just as valuable

Experimentation & Iteration
How are we *always getting better*?

  • launch new feature during quiet times, get feedback from user requesting it, tweak, repeat
  • make your working environment creative
  • solve problems together

Q&A

Is it necessary to have a wide user base for niche product?
some is better than nothing, but wide user base is still better
you’ll find variation in any user group