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Getting team members to attend user feedback sessions, usability being very important (Part 3)..

In the previous post of the series (Usability testing and its importance to the team), we talked about how to get the team to understand the value of user testing of new concepts and workflows, especially through the process of taking the team members through cases where the team members are shown an example of the users finding workflows difficult, and the team expected this workflow to be a bit hit.
In this post, I will talk more about how the team can actually get to experience the process of user testing. Here are some methods that depend on the techniques that the company may have adopted for this purpose:
– Actually being there for the user testing. This is easiest when the user testing takes place in the same location as where the engineering team is based. If they are there in the same location, then it is fairly easy to take the team to the room or location where the user testing is happening, and putting them where they can observe the user testing but not disturb the actual place of user testing. I have seen teams watching the proceeding from a place with a glass through which they can see inside but the people inside cannot see outside.
– When the user testing is happening in a different geographic location from the engineering team. In this case, the attempt should be to ensure that as many of the team members can be sent for the actual user testing. This gets difficult when the team members are in a different country and the user testing is in a different geography. Given the need to ensure that the team members understand the importance of user testing, it does make sense to try and make the budget for this trip, and get the people who are the most involved in the design aspects for the new workflows to make the trip.
– When the team members are not able to make the trip (or most of them are not able to do so), the next best option for the remaining members of the team is to view the user testing on a real time basis. This is through using some sort of broadcasting situation where the user testing is broadcasted through the user of a solution such as Cisco Web broadcasting or Adobe Connect, such that the team members can see the user testing. With modern networks, the clarity of such videos can be pretty high, and with proper placements of cameras and audio, the team can see it similar to what the user testing researcher sees.
– However, there are situations where all of the above situations cannot happen. When the team is in a different geography, especially when the team is based in India, the time zones are very different and it would be hard for the team to actually get involved in viewing the presentation real time. In such cases, the videos of the user testing should be shown to the team, and in a setting where the entire team watches the presentation, and are led by either the Product Manager or the User Experience Designer who can walk through the critical parts of the actual user testing.

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 4 (link)

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