Friday, 22 April 2011

Why don't usability problems get fixed?

So you've run some usability testing. You've summarised what you found, and possibly even recommended ways to make things better. Then what happens? Nothing? This is a great article looking at why recommendations don't get taken on and the problems everyone knows are there stay in place.

It's written from the perspective of a usability consultant working for a client, but there's lots for anyone working as part of a team on a website or application to take away from this.

I've experienced quite a few of these - both the blockers to change and the techniques to influence and get recommendations taken on.

The main points:
  • Involve your project team in planning, observing, and discussing user research.
  • Before selecting enterprise software, evaluate its usability.
  • Consult your own technical resources to ensure your recommendations are feasible.
  • Present your recommendations to those who have the power to authorize their implementation.
  • Present your findings visually—through screenshots, images, and video clips.
  • Illustrate your recommendations using visuals.
  • When there isn’t an easy solution and further research may be necessary, admit it.
  • Prioritize your findings and recommendations by severity, so the project team can decide what to focus on first.
  • Recommend a plan for implementing your recommendations.
  • Stay involved throughout the design and development process to verify that your recommendations get implemented correctly.
The ones that have particularly worked well for me are: involving the project team, in particular the developers who can help you make feasible recommendations. If you don't have the right person's ear, your work is wasted and a single video clip can have more impact than a report full of stats.

Why Don’t Usability Problems Get Fixed? - article by Jim Ross for

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