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Getting team members to attend user feedback sessions, usability being very important (Part 2)..

In the previous post (User feedback and teams), the post was about the importance of getting feedback from users where you are evaluating changes in the workflows in your product, or modifying some of the features. In this post, I will write more of this topic, specifically with reference to the team members and their exposure to the user feedback sessions.
In today’s world, a lot of teams are spread geographically and hence getting all of them to the same location where the user testing is happening is not possible or feasible (it can be done if the budget is there, but given tough economic times and a lot of stress on the budget, it just does not seem feasible to ensure that the team members can all make it to the actual physical location where the user testing is done). In our case, we had team members in New York, in Romania and in Bangalore, and the actual testing was done in London.
So what are the alternatives that can be employed ? We will talk about some techniques that can be used by the team members to view these user testing sessions, but for now, we need to also ensure that these team members see the value in viewing these user testing sessions.
This is a difficult task. How do you get team members to see the benefits of being more involved with user testing, viewing how users evaluate the workflows that have been built or modified. One easy way of getting them more interested is taking one of the most radical feedbacks from the user testing and having the product manager present this feedback to the team (this could be something such as the users not finding the entry point to a feature which was supposed to be the most useful features for users). This should present a huge challenge to the team, since it would not be easy for many of the team members to understand how users could react in such a way.
This is the perfect point to get the team involved, by challenging them through such methods. If the user session has been video recorded, then at this point the product manager or the user experience designer should show the video from this point onwards (after first displaying some information about the user which shows how the user is part of the target population, and if possible, showing their setup where they use the application including the times of the day when the user typically uses the software). An important part is to emphasize the point where the users face issues in the workflow, and with modern techniques, it is even possible to monitor the movement of the eyes of the user. Being able to see this gives a very good insight into how the users react, and can be very surprising for the team in terms of the way that the users react.

A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics Designing with the Mind in Mind

Will continue this in Part 3 (link)

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