This course is course number D15.2 from a comprehensive online curriculum on User eXperience (UX) currently under development by top experts in the field through The Online User eXperience Institute (OUXI).
This is an in-depth course on a particular aspect of designing for the User eXperience.
Overall user experience with software applications and websites is impacted by five key qualities of their user interface:
· Utility (is the content/functionality useful to intended users?)
· Usability (is it easy to learn and accomplish tasks?)
· Graphic Design (is the visual design aesthetically pleasing?)
· Persuasiveness (are desired actions supported and motivated?)
· Functional Integrity (does it work smoothly without bugs or crashes?)
The usability of a user interface can be further subdivided into two separate qualities:
· Ease-of-learning (is it easy to learn how to accomplish tasks?)
· Ease-of-use (can tasks be accomplished quickly and easily once learned?)
The terms ease-of-learning and ease-of-use are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. In fact, they often come into direct conflict with one another in user interface design. That is, a user interface that feels easy-to-learn to novices may soon come to feel tedious and inefficient as they gain expertise, especially if they are high frequency users. Similarly, a user interface with a steep learning curve may eventually come to feel powerful, flexible and highly efficient once a user is trained and using it frequently.
Ease-of-learning is usually more important to novice, casual or intermittent users. Ease-of-use is usually more important to trained, high frequency, expert users. However, even casual, intermittent users, such as users of public websites, will notice – and be frustrated with - designs that limit their efficiency in obvious ways.
Two overall topics are covered in this course:
· Efficiency design guidelines
· Efficiency evaluation techniques
The course is a very concrete, "how-to" course. Both the design guidelines offered and the evaluation techniques taught have been researched, validated and refined by the User eXperience discipline over the past 30 years.
The subset of 24 design guidelines for efficiency offered in this course were selected from the full body of knowledge on software and website usability to be:
· Universal (i.e., applicable to most if not all applications and websites)
· Easy to explain
· Commonly violated
· High impact (on user productivity)
· Easy to implement
They thus represent the "low-hanging fruit" in designing for software and website user efficiency. The rationale for each guideline is explained, and clear examples are offered to enhance understanding.
Just as with code, usability design guidelines will only take you so far. In addition, you need evaluation techniques to assess designs for efficiency to insure an application or website will meet its business goals at launch. Earlier design changes are always easier and cheaper than late design changes.
The three evaluation techniques taught in this course are:
· Efficiency heuristic evaluations
· Keystroke level modeling
· Efficiency studies
These different techniques can be used at different points in the design and development process to exploit opportunities to improve efficiency in the user interface design when it is most cost effective to do so. Learning the evaluation techniques also helps deepen the understanding of the design guidelines.
The course format is a PowerPoint presentation accompanied by a studio-recorded video of the instructor.
The course includes a little over three hours of video (broken into short lectures) with PowerPoint slides, and roughly 1.5 - 2 hours of optional hands-on exercises, for which sample solutions are provided.
Downloadable course materials include:
· A set of general instructions for getting the most out of Udemy courses
· The full PowerPoint presentation (in two formats - full slides, and two slides per page)
· Live, Excel-based templates (used in exercises, and which you can also use as you apply your new skills on real development projects)
· A handy guidelines checklist (for quick reference during design and evaluation tasks on the job)
In addition you can request a Certificate of Course Completion, and participate in a question and answer forum with the instructor and other course subscribers.
Please feel free to contact the instructor with any questions about this course at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Mayhew is also available for coaching/mentoring to people who have completed this course and are putting their new skills to work on real projects. Inquire at:
Learn when efficiency is a key usability goal and when its a secondary goal.
Deborah J. Mayhew, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of The Online User eXperience Institute (OUXI) is an internationally recognized consultant, author, teacher and speaker on engineering and designing for the User eXperience.
Deborah was one of the earliest pioneers of the field of software and web user experience. She has been Owner and Principal Consultant at Deborah J. Mayhew & Associates, a consulting firm offering a wide variety of services related to designing and engineering for the User eXperience, since 1986, when she became one of the first independent consultants in her field.
Deborah's clients have included IBM, AT&T, The World Bank, Hewlett-Packard, Ford Motor Company, American Express, The New York City Police Department, Apple Computer, American Airlines, Texas Instruments, NASA, JP Morgan Chase, The National Cancer Institute, Computer Science Corporation, Siemens, Cisco Systems, the IRS and many others. Deborah has designed user experiences not only for web sites, but also for traditional desktop software applications, medical technology, scientific instruments, and robots. She has taught courses in many of her client organizations as well as at many professional conferences.
Deborah holds a B. A. in Psychology from Brown University, an M. A. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Tufts University. She has authored or co-authored four books on topics in User eXperience engineering, and has contributed chapters to many other books in the field. One popular book is The Usability Engineering Lifecycle. Another recent book is Cost Justifying Usability: An Update for the Internet Age, co-edited with Randolph G. Bias.