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Lift Buttons: A Usability Nightmare?

12th October 2018
Posted by in Brain Licks: 10 Second Wisdom
Tags: ,

The other morning, I left my flat to find a few of my neighbours conversing by the lift.

“Oh James, maybe you can help us with this!” one said.

What dilemma could I possibly help with, you might well ask. Well, it was this one: “If we want to go down in the lift, should we press down to go down, or up to call the lift up to us?”

Dear Diary (Study)… How To Ensure You Get The Best Results

“Dear Diary,

How can I ensure I get the best results when conducting a diary study as part of a UX research project?”

Let’s start with a quick overview: diary studies are a research method used to gain qualitative insight into participants’ behaviour (and the context) over a period of time. During the study period, participants are asked to enter information about their activities in a log, diary or journal (online or off) – this is then analysed by the researcher at the end of the observation period.

Usability: It’s About Humanity, Not Technology

15th May 2018
Posted by in Brain Licks: 10 Second Wisdom
Tags: ,

Today’s blog post is a classic tale of ‘toilet-lock usability and standards’.

Last week, on a commute back from London, I had cause to visit the carriage’s toilet. I stared blankly at the unfamiliar and (to my mind, unnecessarily) complex locking mechanism for a few moments before settling upon an arrangement of buttons and levers that I was confident would lock the door and ensure me a few minutes privacy. Congratulations to me.

Inclusive Design Isn’t a ‘Nice-To-Have’ – It’s a Necessity for Innovation

‘Accessibility’ doesn’t sound very sexy. At best, it feels irrelevant to many and is seen more often as a box-ticking exercise or ‘nice to have’, rather than a necessity. But that viewpoint couldn’t be more wrong.

Dr Jon Dodd’s latest talk “The (M)admen of the 50s were the first User Experience designers”

Dr Jon Dodd, CEO and Co-Founder of Bunnyfoot, spoke this month at UX Sheffield and at this month’s Bunnytalk in London about “The (M)admen of the 50s were the first User Experience designers”.

Is Market Research Precisely Wrong?

There is a fundamental problem with most market research. David Ogilvy, the ‘Father of Advertising’, recognised it:

“People don’t do what they say, don’t say what they think, and don’t think how they feel.”

Traditional methods of market research focus on what can be gleaned from the conscious mind largely because until recently the tools to investigate the subconscious mind were not readily available.

Bunnyfoot conducted a comparison study of an award winning national advertising campaign that clearly shows the difference in conscious and unconscious responses to advertising. We tested the creative with 30 appropriate people recruited via in-street intercepts.

New UK driving test – uses more realistic ‘user testing’ to give more valid results

Today the UK Drivers Standards Agency (DSA) announced that there will be a new ‘independent’ driving section of the driving test. This will be 10 minutes in the driving test where the test candidate will NOT receive step-by-step instructions from the examiner, but will rather be expected to drive unsupervised and without prompting.

Road safety minister Mike Penning said: “the independent driving assessment gave test candidates the chance to show they have the “necessary skills to cope with the sort of traffic conditions they will face every day”.

Learner driver plate on the bonnet of a car

Making it real is a good thing!

A good move we think – in testing anything, whether it’s a person’s skills or the usability of a website, it is important to make the test as close to reality as possible (some term this ‘ecological validity’ we just say ‘making it real’). When we do lab based usability testing or testing in the field we always strive to make it as natural as possible, and amongst other things this includes avoiding giving prompts or directions and just letting the person get on with what they were doing without interruption.

How far will they go in making it real?

The driving test candidates won’t be penalised for getting lost and can ask for help with directions if they wish – they are being examined not on their navigation (thank goodness otherwise I know many people who would never pass) but how they drive by themselves. It will be interesting to see how far the examiners will go in making the testing more realistic –  for instance will they allow sat navs? –  if so, would the candidates be penalised for swearing at them (as often seems to happen somehow in my car)? And what about screaming kids, and argumentative spouses….?


Image by tgraham via Creative Commons

Giving diners control with a touchpad

Inside Inamo Restaurant - showing interactive tables with touchpads

Inside Inamo Restaurant

Inamo restaurant in London is using a new way to attract customers, with the world’s first interactive ordering system using overhead projection technology: an ‘e-table’. The aim of this is to give the diner control over the dining experience.

Diners sit at a table, and rather than use a paper menu, they place their order through a food and drinks menu that is projected onto the table surface. As well as ordering food, diners can change their table cloth, browse food, play games, request and review the bill, look for things to do in London, and order a taxi.

Edinburgh Zoo flyer

One of the great attractions in Edinburgh is the Zoo, my kids love it. We have been members for five years and spend many days of the summer holidays wandering around. Over the last few years I’ve seen the Zoo marketing develop and on my last visit was particularly impressed by their recent flyers. They have successfully combined maps, plans for the future, members information and all manner of other info into one neat, slick and usable handout.Edinburgh Zoo Flyer

The flyer is a standard DL sized concertina folded affair but what nicely sets it apart is that it has a built in information architecture and is really easy to use.

The concertina has an offset fold that exposes a small border. The borders show the title of that section and make it easy to find and fold to that section. The borders act in the same way as tabs do within a webpage. Tabs are used to show off sections within the flyerThey conceal a large amount of information in a small space and provide the user with a quick introduction to the contents.

Having these tabs makes it easy to find the section you are interested in and avoids the problem of either having to open up the entire concertina or folding it up in some weird way to expose the bit that you are interested in.

If the zoo were not a fantastic trip in and of itself, I would heartily recommend popping along just to pick up one of these flyers.

If you’re aware of any similar excellent examples we’d love to hear about them.

Flyer opens out to display lots of information about what's going on Lots of information becomes easily accessible

About Bunnyfoot

We are psychologists, interaction and design experts, researchers, usability specialists. We cover Web, software, mobile, print, service design and more.
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