Links on User Experience

Education in HCI

The HCI Education page is a collection of resources for students and educators interested in Human-Computer Interaction. The following are key resources for HCI Education:

  1. Curriculum: The SIGCHI Curriculum Development Group report Curricula in Human-Computer Interaction.
  2. Affordable Textbook: Clayton Lewis and John Rieman’s shareware book Task-Centered User Interface Development.
  3. Readings: Gary Perlman’s Suggested Readings in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), User Interface (UI) Development & Human Factors (HF).
  4. Educator’s Mailing List: The SIGCHI Mailing List: CHI-Educators (chi-educators-request@acm.org) CHI-Educators is archived on the Web
  5. Student’s Mailing List: The SIGCHI Mailing List: CHI-Students (chi-students-request@acm.org) CHI-Students is archived on the Web
  6. Program Ratings: Because it is so often asked, I have created: Gary Perlman’s Ratings of HCI Education Programs

Education in HCI

User-centred design and organisational maturity

For a web site to be successful its intended audience must find it easy to use. As this maxim finds increasing recognition organisations are asking: “What can we do to create a site that’s easy to use?” The answer for most, it seems, is usability testing.

But usability testing is only one part of producing highly-usable sites: the most effective and reliable way to ensure fundamental usability is to follow a user-centred design process. And the success of this approach is largely dependent on the wider organisational attitude towards usability.

The author discusses what lies beyond usability testing: using ISO international standards as a basis, he details the range of activities that make up user-centred design and introduce formal levels of organisational maturity regarding usability. He also shows how organisations can use this knowledge to optimise their design process.

User-centred design and organisational maturity

Personas Make Users Memorable for Product Team Members

A persona is a fictional, yet realistic, description of a typical or target user of the product. A persona is an archetype instead of an actual living human, but personas should be described as if they were real people.

When based on user research, personas support user-centered design throughout a project’s life cycle by making characteristics of key user segments more salient.

Personas work because designers and developers have the same tendency as all other people to be captivated more by concrete instances than by abstractions and generalizations. We need all product-team members to empathize with users and be willing to go the extra step to develop something that will work for the actual users. But if users are described in statistical terms and as broad profiles, that information will simply not lodge itself as deeply in team members’ brains as a distinct persona will.

Personas Make Users Memorable for Product Team Members

Fill Your Portfolio With Stories

On the trail of exploring our next career move, it’s likely we’ll need to show the path we’ve been on. As part of a design team, that usually means displaying our work.

However, if we didn’t make proper arrangements before we took the job, it’s very likely we can’t show much of our work to anyone. Consultants, contractors, and full-time employees are usually covered (in the US at least, but most other places as well) by a “work for hire” agreement, which means that the people we work for own all the work product we produce.

Wireframes, sketches, and other deliverables are not ours to show. If the final design isn’t publicly visible, such as internal application, there might not be any evidence of what we’ve done.

This puts us in an uncomfortable position when it comes time to show our work to a prospective employer. How do we show what we’re capable of when we don’t have access to our work? What can you put into your portfolio when your work is all locked up? The simple answer: Fill your portfolio with stories.

Fill Your Portfolio With Stories

How to Measure Visual Appeal

Is a beautiful website more usable? Psychological literature has discussed, for some time, the "what is beautiful is good" phenomenon. That is, we ascribe positive attributes to things that are more attractive.

This applies to people and likely to products and websites, as well. But does that positive halo also carry over to our impressions of website usability? It’s a bit of an open research question, but first, it needs to be considered: how reliable are impressions of website beauty?

In reviewing the literature on rating aesthetics, beauty and visual appeal, researchers often generate their own set of questions and scales to measure these somewhat fuzzy and overlapping constructs. There’s nothing wrong with creating new scales, but without any validation, there’s a risk that the way the items are worded may generate misleading or less accurate results than those from scales which have been subjected to psychometric validation.

How to Measure Visual Appeal

The BBCi Redesign Process- Understanding, Concept & Build

In setting out to redesign the BBCi homepage, the team knew they were tackling a hard task. Many people use and love their homepage, so they knew that any changes we make will evoke a strong reaction. They needed to balance the needs of these users with the needs of their own business. They needed to satisfy a large number of people with a range of different objectives, both inside and outside the BBC. Any solution required them to make decisions, but they believed that they had at least made informed choices to ensure a sensitive evolution of the page.

They wanted to make a clear step change with the design of the page without alienating the users. To begin with they looked at the way people use the current page using click-throughs and the way they feel about it through emotional response testing. They looked at how people build up relationships with the services and objects they use on a daily basis. This helped them address the issues they saw in all elements of the homepage, including the main story.Throughout the process, they benefited from continual user testing and internal feedback.

They believe that the resulting page will feel familiar to their existing users, but through digital patina, balanced design and excellent functionality, they also believed they gave it soul. The Glass Wall which gave them the title of this book was the center of the project. Most of their discussions were visualized on the wall and its location at the entrance to the studio ensured everyone could see what was going on and contribute. This book aims to give some background on the process they followed and covers the redesign from its early stages in May 2002 up until launch in November 2002.

 

The BBCi Redesign Process- Understanding, Concept & Build (PDF, 8mb)

Customer Journey Maps- A Quick And Dirty Technique To Create Them

A Customer Journey Map (CJM) is a very helpful tool that represents the whole interaction with a product or service in a transparent manner. It clearly points out the strengths and weaknesses of each stage of the interaction – particularly those that affect the user experience. In addition to this, Customer Journey Maps also show the possibilities for improvement. However, creating a Customer Journey Map is a very resource-consuming process. In this article the author introduces to you the approach they took for one of their clients. The technique that we applied allowed them to quickly create a Customer Journey Map in a quick and cost-effective manner.

Customer Journey Maps – A ‘Quick And Dirty’ Technique To Create Them

Fill Your Portfolio With Stories

On the trail of exploring our next career move, it’s likely we’ll need to show the path we’ve been on. As part of a design team, that usually means displaying our work. However, if we didn’t make proper arrangements before we took the job, it’s very likely we can’t show much of our work to anyone. Consultants, contractors, and full-time employees are usually covered (in the US at least, but most other places as well) by a “work for hire” agreement, which means that the people we work for own all the work product we produce.

Wireframes, sketches, and other deliverables are not ours to show. If the final design isn’t publicly visible, such as internal application, there might not be any evidence of what we’ve done. What can you put into your portfolio when your work is all locked up? The simple answer: Fill your portfolio with stories.

Fill Your Portfolio With Stories

Preference and Desirability Testing: Measuring Emotional Response to Guide Design

An important role of visual design is to lead users through the hierarchy of a design as we intend. For interactive applications, a sense of organization can affect perceived usability and, ultimately, users’ overall satisfaction with the product.

What stakeholders should be able to say is, “We should go with design C over A and B, because I feel it evokes the right kind of emotional response in our audience that is closer to our most important brand attributes.”

The Mobile Playbook from Google

Mobile is more central to business success than ever before. Most executives know this, but they get hung up on exactly what to do and how to do it.

Google’s now second edition of The Mobile Playbook offers the latest best practices and strategies for winning in mobile, like how to address the price transparency challenge and face showrooming head on, the age-old question of when to build a mobile website and when to build a mobile app, and what it really means to build multi-screen marketing campaigns.

The Mobile Playbook