Thursday, 1 December 2011

Usability - hints and tips update

As the iMedia sector has matured and splintered, so has all the associated expertise around the sector. And this includes usability intelligence. The tools used to assess the reactions of users have developed out of necessity. So now we can eye-track how users relate to screens, layout and functionality, for example. We can assess emotional engagement with sites if that is considered important. Gone are the days of large numbers of users being tested - unless you need quantitative testing.

But usability companies claim to need only up to half a dozen users now to discover the key usability problems with a site. Often, the usability experts can utilise their knowledge and assess common problems just by themselves. This is now a sophisticated offering in its own right.

What does your company do about usability? Do you outsource offering it as a cost addition to the proposed project? Do you have an affiliation with a specialist usability company? Do any of your clients ask for such a service? Because more money is spent on interactive advertising than traditional print advertising, more clients are concerned with feedback from users to understand how to influence them better through technology.

If you just want to keep abreast of what is happening in this area there are sites and associations to help.
Usability is a fascinating subject that has risen to the challenges of iMedia. We do need to understand our users in each interactive environment we develop for. How we do this and whether we involve any experts is open to debate. Any thoughts?

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