By Daniel Rosenberg, January – February 2014, DOI: 10.1145/2542115
I have been a UX designer for 24 years and I can't tell you how excited I am about your new forum! The field is in great need of surfacing and promoting this issue, within companies and industry wide. After many years in design, I find my main frustration is in promoting design at a deeper level and, in a broader sense, within companies in general. I have spent years getting myself up to speed on these issues but implementing them is another challenge all together. I also have found that many companies nod in agreement, saying that they want this and that they will in fact support it; however, the reality of this happening still has a ways to go.
I can imagine this forum helping designers promote design as a business tool, answering and guiding the community, and bringing about great discussion. I know I will be reading!
I recently read your article about the business of UX. It was very inspiring! I am thinking about following your call for participation and pitching an article.
By Randolf G. Bias, Philip Kortum, Jeff Sauro, and Doug Gillan, November – December 2013, DOI: 10.1145/2527299
Very interesting article. I was part of the NIST Common Industry Format project, so I sympathize with this sort of effort. The article seems to be talking about summative evaluations at one point (via the suggestion of benchmark usability testing), but in other places, methods I associate primarily with formative testing are discussed. I would discourage doing this sort of comparative evaluation on formative methods, or methods used in a formative setting.
Even with well-executed, insightful generative research up front, the first iteration of solution building (usually rough prototypes or storyboards) is not purely, and often not even mainly, about finding problems with one or more design alternatives.
Even with well-executed, insightful generative research up front, the first iteration of solution building (usually rough prototypes or storyboards) is not purely, and often not even mainly, about finding problems with one or more design alternatives. Instead, the main value of the evaluative data collected is in more deeply understanding the design problem/opportunity. Except for trivial exercises, the kinds of projects we all find ourselves working on are complex, and so are the people for whom we are building them. It's highly unlikely that we go into the design task with perfect understanding.
I'm not sure there is much point in comparing the efficacy of formative evaluation methods, beyond the bucketing into "generally seems to be valuable, depending on the context" and "doesn't seem to provide much value." Skilled design researchers need to carefully examine the context they find themselves in at that exact moment and choose the evaluation method they think will provide the best insight (best != most), to improve the design team's understanding of the problem/opportunity and user empathy and, yes, find problems too.
It's a different story when talking about summative methods, though, which is what the CIF was aimed at, generally speaking. Figuring out which methods seem to best indicate whether a design has achieved the experience goals (performance, satisfaction, etc.) set out at the beginning of the project makes a great deal of sense.
By Gerrit van der Veer, September – October 2013, DOI: 10.1145/2506204
I'm from Latin America and totally feel connected with your thoughts. I learned about HCI six years ago while studying for my M.S. in the U.S., and since then I've been trying to convince people at my university to take HCI as seriously as any of the other computer areas. One thing that might help us over here is to have ACM work on the translation of articles, magazines, and papers. For sure we will be able to find more practitioners and academics who share this passion for HCI and will be willing to help with translating the information.
I find the restraint you used in your post amazing. I am currently in the middle of trying to resolve a graphics processor failure in a 2011 MacBook Pro, and Apple has been intractable to deal with to such a degree that I find myself hoping I am alive long enough to witness the demise of Apple as a company. The last time I felt this way about a company was in 1983 when a Saab car I owned had several very expensive failures and Saab would do nothing to help me. And we all know what happened to Saab (the company is defunct in terms of making cars as they once did, and deservedly so).
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