Usability Tests

In my career I have sat through my share of usability tests and they are always a humbling experience. Months of planning, attention to detail and prioritization of usability is invalidated as your test subjects behave completely different from you expected. All of your assumptions made while planning the website turned out to be just that, assumptions.

These studies are invaluable because even those who have made a career out of usability are unsure how users will behave with a given design. If Usability Specialists — professionals who have masters degrees in human computer interaction and the likes can’t accurately guess the most usable way to put things together, what hope do the rest of us have?

In all fairness, making digital deliverables, like the eLearning modules I make, usable is harder than it sounds. Everyone who sits down and is ready to learn thinks differently and has different knowledge and motivations. Ten users are likely to interpret the same content in ten different ways. The English language doesn’t make it easier on us either. Even the words I use to label my navigational elements could be interpreted in different ways, sometimes dozens of them. 

In short, if you are planning your content based on assumptions or speculation… I’m sorry to say it, guaranteed, it will have usability issues.

The only way to be sure you’re creating an enjoyable user experience is actually meeting your users in the planning stage. It doesn’t have to be anything formal. Even five to ten people can be enough. You will be amazed at what you find with an hour of inquiry. Food for thought.

Published by theirishduck

I love the ability where I can plan, prioritise, design, develop and deliver blended learning solutions for a variety of markets. I love to consult and advise about the best use of digital learning and improve design standards in line with evolving ways of working. I also enjoy to keep up to date with, understand and regularly recommend emerging technologies and practice to improve individuals, teams and organisational capabilities. With over 12 years digital learning experience and demonstrated experience in both instructional design and eLearning development, I have also a lot of experience conducting training needs analysis including how to leverage principles such as design thinking and root cause analysis to understand and address performance gaps. I also have led many facilitation workshops and even presented at iDesignX and Game Developers Conferences both here in Australia, Wales and in the United States. I bring loads of coding experience in Java, ASM, C++, HTML, JavaScript, SCORM and xAPI, as well as proven capability using Adobe Captivate, Trivantis Lectora and Articulate Storyline 360 Studio authoring programs. Of course, Adobe Creative Cloud is also part of my toolbox which I also use daily. Being taught traditional and advanced 3D animation techniques, I love hand drawing and polymer clay sculpture, but can also use the Blender, 3D Studio Max, Maya and Softimage applications. With strong multimedia, training and programming backgrounds, I understand modern learner behaviour including micro and social learning, I am very familiar with most LMSes and app-based (XCode and Android Studio), adult learning models and e-solutions. I also possess the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, whilst being pro-active in delivering work independently with minimal supervision, but enjoy working in teams. I've been told I am a resilient, relationship focused guy which can manage and navigate conflicting views and stakeholders/subject matter experts.

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