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An introduction to usability and User-Centred Design for Information Professionals

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  1. An introduction to usability and User-Centred Design for Information Professionals Sarah Agarwal Consultant Project Manager Internet Development group (ID)

  2. What I’m going to cover: • what is User-Centred Design / usability? • what is its proven value? • how can Information Professional build user-centred activities into their projects / services? What I won’t be covering: • info about techniques

  3. What is poor usability? “I really like it, but I don’t use it much” “It doesn’t do what I need it to do” To end-users.. “I can’t find what I’m looking for” “Can’t it be more like Google?” “I don’t think it seems trustworthy” “I find it a bit frustrating” “It’s very fancy, but it’s not very useful”

  4. Value of User-Centred Design? Web managers view of user involvement • I haven’t really thought about it • I know what my users need • It would be nice to do more work with users but I don’t have the time/budget • My managers are happy with my stats, so that’s ‘job done’ • Customers are central to my service

  5. Value of User-Centred Design? The Standish CHAOS report (1994): Red = success Green = completed, over-budget/time, under-functional Yellow = cancelled

  6. Value of User-Centred Design? The Standish report (1994): Quarter of all projects: • cost overrun by 50-100% • time overrun of 100-200%

  7. Value of User-Centred Design? The Standish report (1994): Project Success Factors % of Responses 1. User Involvement 15.9% 2. Executive Management Support 13.9% 3. Clear Statement of Requirements 13.0% 4. Proper Planning 9.6% 5. Realistic Expectations 8.2% 6. Smaller Project Milestones 7.7% Etc.

  8. Trust The Web Credibility Research Project Stanford University - http://www.webcredibility.org/ Findings: • 46% of people base credibility judgements on “overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size and color schemes” • Less than 10% referred to the identity of the site

  9. Engendering trust 10 research-based guidelines from Stanford University, inc: • “Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose). • Make your site easy to use -- and useful. • Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem.”

  10. Involving users in existing web services Some ‘dipping your toe in’ ideas: • Accost and ask users informally – free! • Ask consultants for some ideas about what user involvement would be useful for your site – free! • Heuristic review – cheap • Surveys – cheapish to average • User testing – average

  11. Involving users in development projects Projects developed in-house: • Seek user involvement early • understand their requirements • graphic design development • information architecture and interaction design • technical environment • content type, format, level • Build-in time and budget for this (bearing CHAOS in mind!)

  12. Involving users in development projects Partnership projects • Development methods • DSDM www.dsdm.org • User-Centred Design • Clients need to give time and effort, be involved and assist consultants in seeking user input. • Make planning the priority

  13. About us - ILRT www.ilrt.bris.ac.uk • digital libraries • e-learning • digital imaging • Internet Development (ID) • semantic web

  14. About us - ID Consultancy arm www.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/id • Open-source web application development: • Content Management Systems, portals, booking systems, online survey technology • Websites • Graphic design • UCD and usability • Develop e-learning environments and functionality

  15. Sources: • Mostly in proceedings • “Information Studies: the discipline of the future” Andrew Dillon. School of Information, University of Texas at Austin. http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~inf180j/L180jFall.ppt • CHAOS report (1994). The Standish Group. www.standishgroup.com • The Web Credibility Project, Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. http://www.webcredibility.org/ Contact: sarah.agarwal@bristol.ac.uk