Sometimes I get asked to elaborate on certain techniques or user disciplines because people they think they’re unnecessary, or stupid for that matter. An important part of usability is being eloquent in your narrative but when people cannot see the reasons for a something it’s very difficult to get your point across, no matter how definitive your explanation.

Most often, the answer is to provide a simple understanding of what the process is, and what result it achieves.

Many of these techniques we use are successful because of the initial consideration for that process. A perfect example is creating “Personas”, whilst usability experts argue the value of Personas, my experience of their creation has been rather enlightening. By suggesting Persona creation you force people to start thinking outside of their mental map and to consider alternatives.

I’ve found this simple little step increasingly beneficial to my own process, in some cases more so than the actual Persona that was generated. In essence we try to open peoples minds to the realisation that others do not think like them. How we cater to these users is simple, the very first step is to acknowledge them and the second is to acknowledge they will probably do the unexpected, because expectation is a criteria based on experiences from your mental framework.

Capture the possibles, test the probables and then refine the way your solution works.

Don’t be scared to try something new.

Budget considerations

If your budget is small, look to achieve similar results by :

  • Downsizing your testing bucket
  • Finding alternatives
  • Accessing alternative budgets

All the steps in your journey have many ways to gather the same or simliar results, it’s just a matter of education and acceptance. You don’t need to field test, survery, or observe tasks all the time. Pick and choose the processes that fit your budget and achieve some of the results. In an ideal world we test everything, but the truth is that sometimes waiting around for the results of all these programmes is a hinderance in itself, hence the recent success of hackathons.

Our Journey covers these 6 distinct disciplines, and although there is separation in the process, the disciplines often overlap or in some cases take place in every step of the journey.


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