December 13

Usability, session 2


  • Recap/Assignment Discussion
    • Completed assignment
      Anastassia, Andrew, Alka, Diana, Emily, Eric, Erik, Hang Yin, Kasia, Katy, Savannah, Vijayalalitha
  • Lecture/Discussion
    • Questions from reading
      • What are successful examples of a late version product being simplified by eliminating features that aren’t used by the majority of users?
      • How to distinguish between usability and desirability? How much weightage should be given to desirability?
      • Do pleasant things work better?
    • Ah-ha’s from reading
      • Ah-ha: 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.
      • Ah-ha: Design is as Politics, it’s a compromise that satisfies as many as possible.
      • Ah-ha: When testing do things that will cause failure as fast and as often as possible- that’s the only way to learn. It’s better to fail early in the process of product development.
      • Ah-ha: 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.
      • Ah-ha: The idea of experience rot. When technology updates, features are added to each version, until 4 or 5 updates down the line, the design gets so complicated and reduces the quality of the experience. Frustration starts with the new complicated design, and people will start giving up what does not work for them. “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”
      • Ah-ha: Graphically, the customer satisfaction map looked like a graph of the Archetype of the Hero. Traditionally, literature uses archetypes to represent fundamental truths- things that can be true to all humans, even the nature of Being. Like a number, which doesn’t occur in nature as a ‘real’ thing, it is a representation, something created to characterize a higher form of ‘truth’ or reality. 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. And it’s so obvious, isn’t it? I care. You care. Why shouldn’t they. 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.
      • Aha: Although I’ve never heard it articulated, I resonated with the concept that you must meet basic expectations before you start adding additional delights.
    • Writing exercise
  • Assignments for Monday March 26


For Session 3

  • Perform two heurestic walk-throughs (assignment 2)
    • Pick 2-3 heurestics (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 heurestics/design guidelines)
  • By 5 pm on Friday 23 March, email the heuristic analysis to me at
    kathy.gill at
    subject line: Usability Class




  1. March 5
  2. March 12
  3. March 26