Welcome to the June edition of the Userfocus usability and user experience newsletter!
- Message from the Editor
- Feature article: Eliciting user goals — Part 1
- What we're reading
- Upcoming training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
A few years back, I used to receive emails from people who wanted Userfocus to design a web site for them. I had to explain that we weren’t that kind of design firm. I had to explain that we didn’t create finished designs — we did design research.
Nowadays, I get emails from people who want us to do user experience for them — but often they’re using ‘user experience' as a synonym for web or mobile design. This results in a similar conversation where I explain that user research is as much a part of good design as pixels and code, but it’s obvious that many people still don’t understand the point of it. The common objection I hear is, “Why not just ask people what they want?”
So this month I’ve kicked off a short series on why user research matters, starting with user interviewing techniques. I hope you find it useful.
By the way, another question I’m often asked is, "Why doesn’t Userfocus have a Facebook page?" Since I never had a good answer, I created one that contains the posts from our Twitter feed. So if Facebook is your social network of choice, please like us and then we'll appear in your Facebook stream.
The great promise of user experience research is to go beyond asking people what they want and instead to discover what they need. But goal-based interviewing is difficult because it requires a very different approach to user interviews than simply running through a list of prepared questions. Two approaches that offer some promise are story elicitation and 'jobs to be done’. Read the article in full: Eliciting user goals — Part 1.
Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:
- A great series of short, UX "How-To" videos focussed on mobile and touch.
- Some brilliant examples of simple yet innovative product design.
- Google's design principles for mobile.
- "Error messages punish people for not behaving like machines" by Don Norman.
- This is why I say, "I don't know - let's test!" when people ask me what I think of the latest fad in UI design.
- 7 things your company gets wrong about user research.
Web Usability: An Introduction to User Experience, August 11-12, 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.
“Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: design is inevitable. The alternative to good design is bad design, not no design at all.” — Douglas Martin.
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