Week 9: Usability Software, Initial Impressions, and Drafting Usability Plans

Our class discussions during Week 8 convinced me that many of you either didn’t complete the assigned readings or only skimmed them. I said this on Thursday, but I will repeat it here: I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to understand the concepts in Don’t Make Me Think and on Usability.gov. There is a LOT of material on that site, and I don’t expect you to memorize every page that you read. However, you should spend enough time on the site to become familiar with the key terms, principles, and procedures in the field of usability studies.

Before you come to class on Tuesday, you should complete the readings that were assigned for Week 8: all of Don’t Make Me Think, “Introduction to Information Architecture,” by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, and “Super Easy Usability Testing,” by John S. Rhodes. In addition, please read the “Planning the Project” and “Analyze Current Site” sections of Usability.gov. (Note that each of these sections contains multiple pages.) Yes, this is a lot of reading for Tuesday (especially if you skipped the reading last week), but there is no other homework for the weekend. Please come to class on Tuesday ready to discuss these readings.

On Thursday, we will spend most of the day in workshop mode, drafting personas and scenarios for your usability projects. At the beginning of class, your team should submit a short (1-page) memo analyzing the current website you are testing. We will discuss the requirements for this memo in class on Tuesday, but simply stated, your memo should outline what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the current site, as well predict the changes you think your team might recommend to your client.

Last but not least, if your team has not already held its “kick-off” meeting, you should do so in the next few days. Please use the handout I gave you on Thursday to guide your discussion. (You can find that handout on Usability.gov.) In a perfect world, your client should attend this meeting, but if that isn’t possible, hold the meeting anyway.

This entry was posted in Weekly Updates. Bookmark the permalink.