Usability, session 2


  • Recap/Assignment Discussion
    • Completed assignment: Cassidy, Mila, Rachel, Sarah, Sonia, Tim
    • Late: Sean
    • Not completed (reminder: must complete all assignments): Chhengleap Khoem, Jesse Ramkalawan
  • Lecture/Discussion (see class Qs/ah-ha’s)
    • Questions from reading (multiple classes)
      • How do pleasant things work better?
      • 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 weigh should we give to desirability?
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Graphically, the customer satisfaction map looked like a graph of the Archetype of the Hero. Like the hero archetype, the customer satisfaction map follows highs and lows. So I immediately connected the customer satisfaction map to a narrative- a story representing truth. So when Jared expanded on the Kano model, specifically the ‘excitement generators’ line, where pleasure/flow/meaning are the three components, and where ‘meaning’ is the hardest element to design/create for, it made so much sense that users’ experience is a story, a narrative, and they truly care. We are heroes of our own story or characters of someone else’s. It’s exciting to think that UX professionals could add authentic meaning to what I could bitterly misconstrue as corporate, tyrannical bullshit meant to sell more bullshit to people who can’t afford it or don’t need it.
      • 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.
      • Rush to failure because it will happen more than you expect and is the faster route to success and the only way to learn. 
      • 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 (assignment 2)
    • Pick 2-3 heuristics (or rewrite) to test two websites (this one and one of your own choosing)
    • Identify a user
    • Write a task
    • What are you trying to measure/ascertain
    • Test
    • Write a report
    • Handout (three heuristics/design guidelines)
  • By 5 pm on Saturday 11 August, email the heuristic analysis to me at
    kathy.gill at
    subject line: Usability Class: your name





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