Usability, session 2


  • Recap/Assignment Discussion
    • Completed assignment:
    • Reminder: must complete all assignments
  • Lecture/Discussion (see class Qs/ah-ha’s)
    • Questions from reading (multiple classes)
      • How do you explain the importance of UX to someone who does not have any idea about UX?
      • How to distinguish between usability and desirability? How much weight should we give to desirability?
      • How many features/choices are too many?
        RELATED: how do you fight feature creep?
      • What are successful examples of a late version product being simplified by eliminating features that aren’t used by the majority of users?
    • Ah-ha’s from reading (multiple classes)
      • Although I’ve never heard it articulated, I resonated with the concept that you must meet basic expectations before you start adding additional delights.
      • Be very careful about surprising your existing audience, users typically do not like sudden change.
      • Cognition is all about understanding the world, and emotion is all about acting/interpreting the world. (Norman)
      • Designers have to be able to understand and navigate politics, because, no matter the subject of the project, there will always be people who have a problem with it. Design is as politics, it’s a compromise that satisfies as many as possible. (Norman)
      • Experiment, and keep experimenting, because you never know what might happen.
      • Gulsman mentioned that they are looking for testers on Craigslist… My first thought was: “What?! How you can be sure you will find eligible group of testers there”. And then I realized this is exactly what you should do before launching any product. To think outside the box, and don’t be afraid of failing during the testing, just because you thought this product is great, it doesn’t mean other random people will use it the same way and they will think this is a great idea.
      • “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”
      • Once a user has a delightful experience, the experience will eventually turn into a basic expectation that will no longer be extremely delightful but just usable or expected. Corollary: beware “experience rot”,  when a design gets so complicated it reduces the quality of the experience.
      • People don’t want simplicity, they want understanding – if they can understand it, it becomes simple.
      • Rush to failure because it will happen more than you expect and is the faster route to success and the only way to learn. [Failure will happen more often than success.”]
      • Three Ways Design Makes You Happy: pleasant things work better. The example of the group of people who were asked to tie two ends of strings together vs. the ones that were given candy before asking to complete that task… amazed at how much emotion impacts design and how much we can take this into consideration when designing new products.
  • Writing exercise
  • Assignments for Session 3


For Session 3

  • Perform two heuristic walk-throughs
    • Test two websites (this one and this one or one of those plus of your own choosing) using the same set of data. Should you pick a different website to test, it should be similar enough that you can use the same persona/task/success measurements/heuristics.
      • Identify a user
      • Write a task
      • What are you trying to measure/ascertain
      • Detail 2-3 heuristics (or rewrite); list them and explain why these are a good proxy for what you’re trying to measure.
    • Test
    • Write a report
  • Upload the heuristic analysis to Canvas as a PDF or Word document
    Please name your document 
    your-name-heuristic-analysis (with hyphens, no spaces)





  1. Session 1
  2. Session 2
  3. Session 3