Userfocus Usability Newsletter, April 2014

Welcome to the April edition of the Userfocus usability and user experience newsletter!

Message from the Editor

Over the past couple of years, I've noticed that many development teams are finally getting the concept of "design science". This is the idea that you carry out experiments to test if your design meets the business objectives expected of it.

In the past, I'd hear development teams think of design as some kind of black magic carried out by genius designers. A design agency might propose four alternative designs for a web site and a senior manager would make the final decision.

But the notion of actually measuring the quality of a design in terms of user performance has recently taken hold. Since we've been banging on about this for over a decade at Userfocus, I'm quite pleased — but sadly I don't think we can take much credit. It's the recent popularity of "Lean UX" that has really made people sit up and listen.

Nevertheless, the notion of running experiments to test out a design is still new to many people. So this month, Philip Hodgson has written an article about how to do just this.

I hope you find it useful.

David Travis

Feature article: How to Experiment

With the advent of Lean UX — a kind of science of design — the ability to design and conduct an experiment should now be an important part of every designer’s skill set. But what is a design experiment? How do you develop an experiment? And how can you trust the results? Read the article in full: How to Experiment.

What we’re reading

Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:

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Recommended resource: Get Started in UX

I'm often asked by people, "How do I get started in UX?" Because there's no particular qualification or accreditation scheme in our field, it can appear daunting to people who want to embark on a career. But now I finally have the answer: if you want to get started in UX, read this wonderful eBook by the folks at UX Mastery. The book styles itself as 'The complete guide to launching a career in user experience design' and it certainly lives up to its promise. Structured as a series of 6 steps, the book takes you through getting the right education, getting the right software tools, getting appropriate experience, getting connected in the industry, getting a mentor and finally getting hired. What I particular liked about the book is that it also comes with some worksheets so you can measure your own experience and progress. It's a snip at $18, and definitely a career investment worth making. More information: Get Started in UX.

Usability Training: Now Booking

Web Usability: An Introduction to User Experience, May 12-13, London.

A fast-paced, 2-day immersion seminar that shows delegates how to boost sales and conversion rates, increase usage and improve customer satisfaction. More information about this training course: Web Usability: An Introduction to User Experience.

User Experience quotation of the month

“I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.” — Bjarne Stroustrup, inventor of the C++ programming language.

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