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Run your own basic usability study to find out just what your users need from your website, application, or device—and learn where to focus design improvements to have the biggest impact. Author Chris Nodder shows how to design a study so that it answers your questions, recruit the right participants, and set up the test environment. The course also teaches you how to moderate and observe a usability session, interact with participants and ask the right kind of questions, and then analyze the results and share them with your team in a meaningful way.
For most of your usability sessions it's likely that you'll be bringing participants into your work space to take part in usability studies. So what you need to do to set the space up appropriately, first off let's forget the fancy setup's you see in research facilities. One way mirrors and multiple ceiling and wall mounted cameras are nice tools. But they really aren't necessary for the vast majority of usability tests. Instead, what you need is a quiet place where you can interact with people ffrom outside the company without being disturbed.
Somewhere close to your reception area with easy access to restrooms tends to work best. That way, you don't have to bring people through your working environment or down miles of corridors to get to the place where you'll run the study. Try not to have too many distractions, like marketing posters, toy collections and so on. A small conference room works best. Also take a look around and see whether you'd be happy bringing someone important into the room. Have you tidied up all the bits of dead computer that are lying in the corner? Have you cleaned the whiteboard off? Have you emptied the trash? Often because you use the space all the time you get used to the mess.
Someone coming in for the first time might be quite shocked. This is the image they'll have of your organization, make sure its a good one. If you don't have a suitable public space, let's say you're a starter working out of your parent's basement. You'll need to find a location that wouldn't be too creepy for someone to visit. Hotels typically rent out conference rooms. Or you might find a local hot desking service that rents out individual offices or conference rooms by the day or week. A real advantage of this type of location, is that they have reception staff who greet and keep track of participants.
They also have clean toilets and sometimes even free coffee. These locations are for a neutral environment with no indication of your company's brand and that in itself can be very useful. One way to avoid the headaches of setting up a suitable environment is to go to your participant's location, that could be their office, their home, or even their commute to work, if that's where they'll be using your product. However, the additional randomness that this introduces and the lack of space for observers to watch means you should really consider using an environment that's under your control for at least your first couple of studies.
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