one usability test is better than none

How Much Can You Learn in 73 Minutes of User Research? describes one persons experience standing on a street corner and observing bike riders.

2871567850_9182e667e1_mWhen did you last take some time to watch how people use your library? It is possible to learn quite a bit about what people think of your institution without having to conduct a survey. Why not connect with a few of your work mates and assign some times to record the goings-on at your library or in your department. Then debrief over lunch at the end of the week and make a list of next steps.

When reviewing your observations, remember what one commenter said:

“Like it or not, in making an observation on anything you are also making an observation on yourself.”

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2 thoughts on “one usability test is better than none”

  1. Well, traditional wisdom says 7-12 subjects, but I have heard of groups such as Microsoft getting by with 1 person teams from time to time. Most importantly, I think it’s how you conduct the test as opposed to how many people you test.

  2. Speaking of usability … let’s move libraries from the Dark Ages of Dewey Decimal labyrinth floor-to-ceiling shelving, and into the bookstore-styled, browsing-friendly layout. Sure, keep the decimal reference for card catalog direct access, but give me the option to browse grouped shelving by topic in a light, airy atmosphere, just like Barnes & Noble.

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