aquire usability labrats

17 May 2006 - 3:08pm
8 years ago
6 replies
411 reads
Ted Boren
2005

I don't know about "labrats" ;-) , but if you want to recruit "usability test participants", there are several good resources out there with recruiting tips, tricks, non-disclosure forms, and other helpful stuff if you're just getting started with a recruiting program. A few:
http://stcsig.org/usability/resources/toolkit/toolkit.html"A Practical Guide to Usability Testing", Dumas & Redish. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1841500208/sr=8-1/qid=1147896177/ref=sr_1_1/103-6469820-9715025?%5Fencoding=UTF8233 Tips and Tricks for Recruiting Users as Participants in Usability Studies, Nielsen/ Norman Group. http://www.nngroup.com/reports/tips/recruiting/With regards to the "heuristic evaluation" comments--heuristics are a nice first cut, a way to clear out the big rocks, but they aren't a replacement for a good usability study. I also agree that getting a bunch of external people to aprticipate in a heuristic review is not a good use of money for most projects. If you don't have the people in-house, do it yourself and follow up with testing to confirm.

Good Luck * or is it... Lycka Till?

Ted

>>> "Simon Asselbergs" <interaction-designer at lycos.com> 5/17/2006 5:28 AM >>>
Hi All,

If you have coorporate products which you want to test in a usability lab. Hoewever the products are secret you probably don't want to test outside users nor you probably want programmers to be subject of the tests. How to get proper test-persons, or make good contracts? Has anyone experience in this?

Cheers,

Simon Asselbergs

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Comments

17 May 2006 - 3:48pm
Jay Zipursky
2005

Huh? If you were an author, you wouldn't need an editor?

Do you really design in isolation? Do you believe that an objective
opinion from people who understand HCI is useless?

Jay
Kodak

On 5/17/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com> wrote:
> We're the IxDs here, right? Aren't we supposed to be the experts? If I'm
> doing my job well, my company should be able to rely on *my* expert analysis
> and recommendations instead of hiring outsiders to tell the stakeholders
> what they should be able to gain in-house.

17 May 2006 - 4:25pm
damon at vanves...
2006

Having people not immersed in your project/business look at it is
always valuable, whether they are experts or potential future users.
(And yes, sometimes it's rough to see your company pay more attention
to outside experts' ideas ;-) There should be a balance...)

Here's another way to look at whether or not to keep your project a secret:
http://paulgraham.infogami.com/blog/copy
"Companies should worry more about making something worth copying and
less about whether someone will. Worry most about how to make
something people want. If you're building anything good enough to
copy, you're way ahead."

cheers
Damon

> On 5/17/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com> wrote:
>> We're the IxDs here, right? Aren't we supposed to be the experts? If I'm
>> doing my job well, my company should be able to rely on *my* expert analysis
>> and recommendations instead of hiring outsiders to tell the stakeholders
>> what they should be able to gain in-house.

17 May 2006 - 6:28am
Simon Asselbergs
2005

Hi All,

If you have coorporate products which you want to test in a usability lab. Hoewever the products are secret you probably don't want to test outside users nor you probably want programmers to be subject of the tests. How to get proper test-persons, or make good contracts? Has anyone experience in this?

Cheers,

Simon Asselbergs

--
_______________________________________________

Search for businesses by name, location, or phone number. -Lycos Yellow Pages

http://r.lycos.com/r/yp_emailfooter/http://yellowpages.lycos.com/default.asp?SRC=lycos10

17 May 2006 - 7:09am
Mitchell Gass
2004

At 04:28 AM 5/17/2006, Simon Asselbergs wrote:
>If you have coorporate products which you want to test in a
>usability lab. Hoewever the products are secret...How to get proper
>test-persons, or make good contracts? Has anyone experience in this?

This is the most common situation for products I test. To get valid
results from any usability test, the participants have to be
representative of the people the product will serve. The
corporation's legal staff will have non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)
that you can have participants sign; the only question is whether
NDAs intended for other audiences, such as outside contractors, are
too long or intimidating for test participants. It's often possible -
but only with the help of the corporation's legal staff - to prepare
an NDA for test participants that's just a page or so long.

If a product is so secret that you can't reveal information about it
to anyone, the best approach is probably to do the thorough user
research and user modeling done at firms like Cooper. If your models
- such as personas - are sufficiently detailed and based on solid
research, you can use them to predict many or most of the usability
problems you would discover in conventional usability testing.

Regards,

Mitchell Gass
uLab | PDA: Learning from Users | Designing with Users
Berkeley, CA 94707 USA
+1 510 525-6864 voice
+1 510 525-4246 fax
http://www.participatorydesign.com/

17 May 2006 - 10:00am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

SA> If you have coorporate products which you want to test in a
SA> usability lab. Hoewever the products are secret you probably don't
SA> want to test outside users nor you probably want programmers to be
SA> subject of the tests.

User tests are not the only evaluation option; have you thought of
doing expert (heuristic) reviews?

As Mitchell noted, end users and NDAs may not always go together hand
in hand. On the other hand, if you can afford usability experts, they
all will be familiar with NDAs. Granted, expert review is not user
evaluation; however, it is often a solid trade off.

The way we do Expert Reviews in my team:

1. Recruit 5-6 UX experts with different specialisations, such as
graphic design, IxD, software engineering, cognitive science,
accessibility, instruction design, etc. -- whatever is more relevant
to your product.

2. Prepare usage scenarios and user tasks in the same way as you would
do for user evaluation; supplement them by personas/user profiles.

3. Distribute personas and tasks among experts so that:
-- each persona is covered by at least two experts;
-- each task is performed by at least half of the experts.

4. Ask experts to look at the product from two angles:
-- of their persona
-- of their specialisation.

If you do your prep work right, you'll get pretty good results. This
will not work for interfaces requiring deep knowledge of a specific
domain (e.g., medicine, business process modelling, etc.), but it
works well for general usage products.

Lada

17 May 2006 - 11:52am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

You have time to do all that? And the will power? ;)

I'm definitely not convinced this is the way to go. It's expensive, time
consuming, ends up looking a lot like design-by-committee, and only
produces, as you say, "pretty good results".

We're the IxDs here, right? Aren't we supposed to be the experts? If I'm
doing my job well, my company should be able to rely on *my* expert analysis
and recommendations instead of hiring outsiders to tell the stakeholders
what they should be able to gain in-house.

-r-

On 5/17/06, Lada Gorlenko <lada at acm.org> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> SA> If you have coorporate products which you want to test in a
> SA> usability lab. Hoewever the products are secret you probably don't
> SA> want to test outside users nor you probably want programmers to be
> SA> subject of the tests.
>
> User tests are not the only evaluation option; have you thought of
> doing expert (heuristic) reviews?
>
> As Mitchell noted, end users and NDAs may not always go together hand
> in hand. On the other hand, if you can afford usability experts, they
> all will be familiar with NDAs. Granted, expert review is not user
> evaluation; however, it is often a solid trade off.
>
> The way we do Expert Reviews in my team:
>
> 1. Recruit 5-6 UX experts with different specialisations, such as
> graphic design, IxD, software engineering, cognitive science,
> accessibility, instruction design, etc. -- whatever is more relevant
> to your product.
>
> 2. Prepare usage scenarios and user tasks in the same way as you would
> do for user evaluation; supplement them by personas/user profiles.
>
> 3. Distribute personas and tasks among experts so that:
> -- each persona is covered by at least two experts;
> -- each task is performed by at least half of the experts.
>
> 4. Ask experts to look at the product from two angles:
> -- of their persona
> -- of their specialisation.
>
> If you do your prep work right, you'll get pretty good results. This
> will not work for interfaces requiring deep knowledge of a specific
> domain (e.g., medicine, business process modelling, etc.), but it
> works well for general usage products.
>
> Lada
>
>
>
>
>
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