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Improve design sign off with IntuitionHQ

Posted by Kirstin on March 7th, 2012

Use IntuitionHQ for usability testing to increase your team and your stakeholders’ involvement in the design process. We’ll help you make the design approval process less painful by explaining how. We’ll also give you some ideas about how you can familiarise your team and stakeholders with your design as it evolves.

The scenario

You’ve met with your  client and their stakeholders and everyone has agreed what your site design needs to achieve. Armed with this information you have produced a design that you believe fulfills all requirements. Your client circulates your design to the highest level of stakeholder only to find that the person at the top of the chain doesn’t like it. You then spend additional time iterating the design until the senior stakeholder is happy. A process that should have been straightforward has now taken way longer than expected.

What could you have done differently?

  • socialise your design
  • an IntuitionHQ usability test on your wireframes
  • your graphic design

Socialising your design
Socialise your design, get your design out there at every opportunity you can. According to Wikipedia, the mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them, so expose the highest level stakeholders to the design right from the outset.

Start with wireframes
Try starting right from the wireframe stage. Expose your wireframes to your senior stakeholders by creating a test in IntuitionHQ. This involves stakeholders right from the start and lets them contribute to the design process by providing structured feedback.

A usability test on your wireframes also allows your senior stakeholder to start becoming familiar with the design as it evolves. You might like to produce an A-B test or a preference test  using IntuitionHQ. In an A-B test 50% of your testers see one design and 50% the another so that you can use test results to gauge which design works best. In a preference test two versions of a design or aspects of a design are presented side by side  and the tester is asked to click on their preference.  A preference test can enable your testers/stakeholders to have a direct input to the design direction.

Graphic design
Similarly once you have your graphic design make sure you expose it to the senior stakeholder as early and often as possible. Often people will become distracted by surface features (like colour) when feeding back on a design. If you’ve exposed your site design including navigation and layout as early and often as possible you’ll find your senior stakeholder will be engaged in how the design works for the user rather than becoming bogged down by personal colour preferences or particular graphic aspects. Think about displaying your design on a wall in the office, and have it present at each meeting during the design phase.

So get your design out there:

  • start early, expose it often
  • have the stakeholder involved in testing
  • have stakeholders think about what the design needs to achieve rather than about colours and other design elements
  • present the design at each stage

We’ve found the design process and design approval is a far smoother task when we involve the senior stakeholder early and often.


Simple Usability/UX Checklist

Posted by Jacob Creech on March 29th, 2011

I recently wrote a post over at Hongkiat about How to ruin a good user experience in 20 simple steps. As you can gather from the title, it’s got a bunch of different points that can cause a terrible User Experience

There is a lot of really useful information there, and it seems to me like the sort of thing that could be very handy in checklist form, and so I’ve made a checklist with a few extra points here and there, and some input on why I think these points are important. more »


The Godaddy UX (Fail) – Results

Posted by Jacob Creech on March 1st, 2011

In my recent post on The Godaddy User Experience Fail I asked people to partake in a quick test to help gather a variety of views and interactions with the Godaddy site.

The results have started coming in, and it’s been quite interesting to see how people found the Godaddy experience. If you are interested you can take the test at http://video.intuitionhq.com/godaddy-ux, or just read on to see the results. It’s possibly not the most scientific test in the history of man, but you still get the idea that something isn’t quite right with the Godaddy UX.

Update: Hi to all the visitors from Godaddy – we’d love to hear your side of the story – and would respect your privacy if you wanted to post anonymously. Don’t be shy.

The results:

1) Where would you click to view your account?

Where would you click to view your account?

Where would you click to view your account?

Simple question to start with: Where would you click to view your account? As you can see in the results above 76% of people clicked the ‘My Account’ button and the remainder clicked the log in area – I’d say it was safe to say a 100% success rate; more or less what you’d expect for such a simple task. The average time for completion (top left of the results image) is a little long, but there is often such a delay with the first question of a test as people get accustomed to the interface.

2) Where would you click to view your expiring domains?

Where would you click to view your expiring domains?

Where would you click to view your expiring domains?

Another fairly straight forward question, but it’s always interesting to see the different ways people try and achieve the same goals. In this case clicking on ‘Domains’ won’t actually lead you to the page where you can renew your expiring domains but rather to a page where you can search for new domains and with a list of pricing for different domain names (so that’s where I could find that information). That means this page has an 80% success rate with an average click time of 11.26 seconds.

This means this page could probably do with some tweaking; if 20% of people are clicking in a different location to try and renew domains, Godaddy should perhaps incorporate the renew domain feature into the ‘Domains’ page. Supposing they have 1000 customers a day trying to renew domains, 20% (200) click the wrong location, and as a result say 25% (50) of those abandon their purchase (at roughly $10 a domain) that’s still $500 a day. Better than a kick in the knickers.

3) Based on the following information would you say you are:

Based on the following information would you say you are:

Based on the following information would you say you are:

Now, this seems like it would be very straight forward, but 20% say they are logged in, 56% say they aren’t and 24% aren’t sure. This is something that should be glaringly obvious and can lead to frustration for customers if it’s not as obvious as it should be. Definitely a fail on this front.

Even after having gone through the purchase process, I still couldn’t tell you if I was logged in or not – in fact it seems Godaddy has some sort of semi-logged in state which is really very confusing. Such basic functionality should really be fixed, and while immediate financial effects may not be obvious, I can imagine a number of users abandoning Godaddy after such frustrating experiences, and telling many others about their negative experiences.

4) Based on the following information, what currency would you think you are using?

Based on the following information, what currency would you think you are using?

Based on the following information, what currency would you think you are using?

OK, glad to see I’m not that only one who was a little confused by this. A full 20% either say they are using the wrong currency or aren’t sure what currency they are using. Why do they have the New Zealand flag there if they aren’t using New Zealand dollars? Yes, you can trace my IP address to New Zealand, congratulations, and yes, that is what my flag looks like, but why do you have it there?

Again, these are the little quirks that can slowly (or not so slowly) but surely cause a frustrating experience for users. Why not just make it obvious? I can cope with not having my flag there so long as the visual cues make sense.

5) How would you add this domain to your cart?

How would you add this domain to your cart?

How would you add this domain to your cart?

Interesting numbers here: 77% clicked in a location that would select the correct (or all) domain, which means 23% clicked somewhere else – and what’s more, there was an average click time of 22.72 seconds for this test – much too high, which means too much thinking. Clicking the continue button doesn’t actually add the domain to your cart, but it doesn’t actually tell you this until you are two steps further through the process. Can you feel the frustration brewing?

Adding a warning on this page that your domain hadn’t been added would be a very quick and simple fix to this problem, rather than letting users carrying on and trying to upsell them in the process.

6) Where would you click to toggle automatic renewal for this domain?

Where would you click to toggle automatic renewal for this domain?

Where would you click to toggle automatic renewal for this domain?

Kind of a trick question because it has a 100% failure rate – at least in my experience. Regardless of where I clicked and what I did, I couldn’t turn off auto-renew. I’m sure advertising at the superbowl is expensive, but I can’t image using tactics like this to keep customers will do good things for your business. I’d be very interested to hear if others had the same experience when renewing their domains with Godaddy.

7) Based on the following screenshot, would you say you are:

Based on the following screenshot, would you say you are:

Based on the following screenshot, would you say you are:

The same question as number 3 after having gone through the checkout process. 42% now believe they are logged in, 29% think they aren’t, and 25% don’t know. I can tell you which answer is right because I still don’t know. I did have to log in (again?) to actually access my domain management area, which would lead me to think I wasn’t logged in, but then again it knew one of my domains was expiring when I came to the site and let me pay for renewal so I’m really not sure. Does anyone have any insight into this? Very confusing in my opinion, and so the test results show.

8) Would you say the following page is easy to understand, a little confusing, or quite confusing?

Would you say the following page is easy to understand, a little confusing, or quite confusing?

Would you say the following page is easy to understand, a little confusing, or quite confusing?

A leading question maybe, but still, 84% of people say the page is either a little or quite confusing. Really Godaddy? Up your game! I imagine if they took 10% of their marketing budget and invested it in their site they could make some dramatic improvements. I’d like to think the trend is making content more understandable and accessible, designs cleaner and less cluttered, and generally towards providing an ever improving user experience. I’d say so far Godaddy is failing on all three fronts.

What does this mean?

Obviously it’s far too early for me to predict the demise of Godaddy, and so far they have such a huge slice of mindshare it’s hard to imagine someone overcoming them. But like all things web, it’s never too late for a strong, new challenger to come along, and it’s not too late for Godaddy to try and improve their game either.

Whichever side wins, there does need to be a focus on making as great a user experience as possible. As I’ve quoted before, “Build it and they will come; build it well and they will come back”. By developing the site to meet their target markets need, by making the experience an enjoyable one, by making a clear, understandable process and by constantly tweaking and improving their site, Godaddy could make a huge improvement to their service. Just a few quick usability tests (shameless plug) and they will have some ideas on how they should get started and what they could improve. Why not do the same for your site too?

What do you think of the Godaddy service? Do these test results help you? How could you improve your own site? Any questions or comments, be sure to let us know below.

If there are any other sites you’d like to see us test, leave a link in the comments and we’ll look at doing them next time round.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Happy testing everyone.


Usability Tweets of the Week

Posted by Jacob Creech on January 28th, 2011

Lots of interesting information floating around this week, a couple of neat videos, and even a very accurate quote to keep you going for the next week. If you’ve got any other tweets, links or information you’d like to see on this list, be sure to let us know.

And without further ado, our tweets of the week:

A great video on UX design and what it is. Very pretty: http://vimeo.com/19131028 #ux #usability #webdesign #UI

Some really good pointers for improving readability on your website: http://bit.ly/gfYY0Q #usability via @palleman

Get started with usability testing in 7 simple steps: http://ow.ly/3LzXL #usability #UX #usertesting #howto

Ok, this is a post I wrote, but I think it’s well and truly worth a read. Pick up some quick tips so you can get yourself started on a path to a more usable future.

Fixing the AVG interface in just one minute: http://youtu.be/JEHh3grnj0Y #UX #UXTips

The password reset experience http://wfapm.com/e31XpQ #ux #usability #UXTips via @jayphilips

Interesting post on how you can greatly improve the password reset user experience. Check it out if you’re interested in UX.

Great examples: Where have you been all my life Little Big Details? http://j.mp/fDklDx #ux #usability #design #details via @nickdenardis

Fantastic site which points out all the sites that use little details to make sites great. I’ve bookmarked it, and you should too.

Great post: Elevator Logic Applied To Web and Mobile Design http://bit.ly/gbHuOy #UX #Usability #UCD via @ponscreative

Some useful information you could learn from here. I’m not always convinced any logic is applied to some design – hopefully people can learn from this.

And Lastly, our quote of the week:

Quote of the day: “To err is human, but they’ll blame you.” #Usability #FML #UX via @zomgitsmeredith

Have a great weekend everyone, and be sure to check back next time round for some more great tweets on usability.

Any other links, tweets or information you’d like to see here? Send us a tweet @IntuitionHQ and we’ll be sure to add them next time round


Saving time with usability testing

Posted by Jacob Creech on January 13th, 2011

Whenever I get to talking with people about usability testing, one thing that comes up is a fear that it will add both cost and time to your projects.

Many people have the misconception that usability testing is just for companies with huge budgets and long time frames for their work, and well this may have been true in the past, as with a range of other industries, usability has changed and become much more accessible with the advent of the internet.

There are now a wide range of usability testing tools available at the tip of your cursor, so to speak. Different tools offer different functionality, and depending on your project, will be more or less suitable for you. Selecting the right tool for the job makes a big difference, and is probably the hardest part of the whole process.

You can see some nice examples of what IntuitionHQ is great for in our screencast below:

The design process

Personally I like doing testing from the beginning of my design process, testing all the way from the initial sketches to the final designs. The fact is the more testing you do to start with, the less major changes (if any) you will have to make later on. This in itself will save you time; it’s obviously significantly easier to make changes to your initial sketches than it is to your photoshoped, coded design.

Choose a range of designs to upload and test
Choose a range of designs to upload and test

Design by committee

But you can save time in more ways than this as well. A very common complaint from designers is design by committee where a big group of non-designers gets together and tries to make decisions about what would work best for their site. Not only is this process painful, it’s also very time consuming, and often entirely unconstructive. Suppose you had data to back up your designs, and a way to test the alternatives, it would prevent these debates from happening in the first place and save you a whole lot of time in the process.

Colour schemes and wording

Suppose there is some discussion about colour schemes and wording for your particular site: this kind of thing can really be very subjective and can take a long time to sort out. Why not try running a quick test and gathering users preferences? As I said, setting up a test takes a couple of minutes, and then you can use the results to definitely prove one way or another what works best, and take a fraction of the time to do it.

Navigation layout and structure

Navigation layout and structure is another common issue that pops up. Many people will have opinions on what they think is best for each particular site, but the thing is, each site has it’s own specific audience and ways they are used to interacting with a certain site or genre of sites. Basically, everyone is used to interacting with sites in certain ways, based on their own experiences and habits. No matter how experienced you are in UX and usability testing, you can’t always make a judgement about what is best for a certain site. The quickest, easiest and most optimised way to work this out is with a usability test.

Test navigation layout
Test your navigation layout and text to see what works best

For example, in IntuitionHQ you could upload two and more different navigation layouts or navigation layouts and ask users to click on the one they prefer. We are also in the process of introducing a feedback form so that if you choose, users could leave comments about their preferences, or even if they had their own suggestions, which you could also go on and test. This saves you contemplating lots of different options, gives the users a beter experience with the final design, and generally sorts out a lot of issues that are likely to pop up while you are designing and developing your site.

To sum up:

These are just a few of the ways in which you can save time by using usability testing. Everyone has their own situations in which using usability testing can be equally well applied. Why not have a bit of a think about your sites and see if you can’t improve on them a bit as well?

And the last marketing blurb: a test with IntuitionHQ costs you just $9 a test, and that includes unlimited questions/tasks, unlimited screenshots and unlimited responses. All that for $9, and saving you a ton of time and pain too. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Any questions about usability testing or IntuitionHQ? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

Happy testing all.


Usability tweets of the week

Posted by Jacob Creech on December 10th, 2010

This week we’ve come across a number of interesting tweets on usability and user experience. There are some particularly interesting tweets on the mobile space, the evolution of the UI in this area, and what it means for design and the web. Read on below to find out more, but first our quote of the week:

“If the user can’t use it, it doesn’t work.” – Susan Dray #usability #UX via @areteworks

What can we say about this? It’s an absolute truth in usability, but many people often try and blame the users rather than realising their own failures. If you can realise this, you are well on the way to becoming a great designer, and designing products that truly satisfy a need. more »


Usability tweets of the week

Posted by Jacob Creech on December 3rd, 2010

Part of our daily process here involves checking out the latest trends and developments in usability, user experience and design. As such we spend a lot of time on Twitter (check us out @IntuitionHQ) reading through lots of interesting links, and sharing them with our followers.

Of course, with Twitter everything very quickly disappears into a huge black hole, and these useful links are quickly hidden from view. In a burst of genius we decided why not repost some of the very choicest on our blog? And so without further ado, here are a few of the best from the last week. We hope you enjoy: more »


Users’ Wants Versus Clients’ Needs

Posted by Jacob Creech on September 14th, 2010

There is an interesting article over at UXBooth.com discussing those times when you are in a client meeting, awaiting final approval, and all of a sudden the big wig comes in, scrunched up piece of paper in hand with new directions on the site for.
more »


Usability Testing: Don’t Guess, Test

Posted by Jacob Creech on June 3rd, 2010

Hi all,

It’s been a busy time here lately. IntuitionHQ is really starting to take off, and all the stars have come into alignment. Usability is more than just selling IntuitionHQ to us though, it’s about making the web a better, more enjoyable experience for all.

What better way to spread this message than communicating with designers and developers directly, and letting them know all about the process of usability. Last week we were lucky enough to have an article featured on UXBooth.com, a great UX blog. The article we wrote, in case you haven’t guessed already, was entitled http://www.uxbooth.com/blog/usability-testing-dont-guess-test/.

more »