More on affordances and heuristic assessment of interfaces. Lecture slides will be made available on the day of the lecture (June 1).
We are looking to understand the context. For this course exploratory research is helpful in discovering context of use and user experience. Both of these help us define problems that may require solving or evaluative research.
What is our question?
Exploratory research questions should explore relationships, interactions, effects. For example:
- What do existing voice chat features look like?
- How might the purpose of use (i.e. school vs work) influence the user's actions?
- How do users navigate this feature?
Consider a couple of things when evaluating our research sources:
- Who: Is this person an expert? What demonstrates they are?
- What: Is this relevant? Does it seem credible in relation to other sources?
- When: How recent is this material?
Primary & secondary sources
Good research tends to involve both primary and secondary sources.
Primary sources help illustrate individual experiences or perceptions. These may include:
- Photographs or video footage
- Interviews or transcripts
- Statistical data or empirical studies
- Newspaper articles
- Social media posts
Secondary sources help describe, summarize, or evaluate knowledge. These may include:
- Books or magazines
- Articles or essays
- Documentaries or podcasts
We are trying to assess an existing item. In the context of this course this will mostly focus on the usability of an interface.
In this course we will make use of Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics.
These are 'best practices' discovered over years of trial and error; or from research.
Visibility of system status
The system should keep users informed about what the system is doing.
Match between system and the real world
The system should work with the user's language — words, phrases, and concepts.
User control and freedom
Users make mistakes and should be able to easily exit from an unwanted action.
Consistency and standards
Ensure consistency within your design (internal consistency), and between your design and other products (external consistency).
Internal and external consistency
Inside one application or a family of applications under the control of a company (i.e. Adobe Creative Suite).
Established conventions in an industry or across applications at large (i.e. ctrl+c or command+c).
Aim for careful design which prevents a problem from occurring.
Recognition rather than recall
Reduce the amount of memory use. Make options visible and do not require the user to remember something between two states.
Flexibility and efficiency of use
Shortcuts for expert users allows an interface to cater to inexperienced and experienced users.
Aesthetic and minimalist design
Provide only the necessary content and visuals for the user to accomplish their goal.
Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
Error messages should be understandable to the user and suggest solutions.
Help and documentation
It is better if documentation is not needed, but it may be necessary to help users complete a task.
We will be setting up pre-scheduled times for you to meet with Ladan. Please check the announcement for your time.
Looking at different types of users, their goals, and how we can understand them. Pre-recorded lectures and slides will typically become available the day after the lecture.