40 Posts about
Usability

Making your customer experience amazing can change lives

We had a guest speaker come in to talk to my Brownie Guide group on Monday for their Disability Awareness Badge. In a wheelchair at 21, Anne has gone on to become a successful solicitor who has sailed the Atlantic well before the internet was established. But Anne has offered me a view about how making experiences amazing, beyond simply functional, is the key to her living her life to the full.

We talked about Christmas shopping, working from home, sources of information to improve life with a disability and how charities are behind the times with technology. Nowadays, with the technology available, Anne can be just as able as I am, but she is also more bound to using it than I am. Focussing on just Christmas shopping, this is when it really drills home that when you make an effort to make an experience amazing for your customer, for some you are massively enhancing the quality of their life.


Children are the stars of World Usability Day

11th November 2010 saw World Usability Day being celebrated around the world. We took part by hosting a design competition on World Usability Day’s theme of “Communication”. We had an amazing morning with the kids from Royal Mile and Niddrie Mill primary schools. In the last month they have built their prototypes following user centred design principles, and after a round of testing at the Bunnyfoot offices they have made all their changes and were ready to put their ideas to a panel of judges.

Prizes up for grabs were:
Best Presentation, Most Usable Device, Most Innovative Device and Most Realistic Prototype.
Children having fun


Information visualisation: When it’s good to lie to your audience.

The key to good communication is to know exactly what to communicate to your audience so you can help them do whatever they are doing. This focus on audience needs is more important than being squeaky clean with reality. When backed by clear insight into the needs of your audience this means you aren’t really lying at all (that would be dishonest and despicable) – rather you are ‘enhancing the truth’ and communicating well according to your audiences goals.

Lessons from the London Underground

Geographical and the iconic London tube maps

Last week on University Challenge a set of questions for the students was to identify London underground stations on a map which was drawn with geographic accuracy rather than in the iconic Harry Beck 1931 style.


Children learn usability is the key to great communication tools

This week, we’ve been overrun with 10-11 year olds from Royal Mile and Long Niddrie Mill primary schools, showing us up with their amazing ideas for how to improve communication in their schools for World Usability Day.

We’re hoping to teach them that usability is a key element when designing tools for communication by helping them to test their products in a professional environment. Each team appointed a moderator, then watched from the viewing room as a group tested their prototypes.


Appealing to multiple senses enhances your customer’s experience

On the whole, humans are visual creatures, which makes sense when you think about it as sight allows us to perceive, identify, and act on objects outside of our reach. As such, many designers go to great lengths to attract customers by designing displays that are visually appealing. However, if you only consider vision, a number of interaction opportunities to make interesting, impacting and memorable designs slip through our fingers.


New UK driving test – uses more realistic ‘user testing’ to give more valid results

Today the UK Drivers Standards Agency (DSA) announced that there will be a new ‘independent’ driving section of the driving test. This will be 10 minutes in the driving test where the test candidate will NOT receive step-by-step instructions from the examiner, but will rather be expected to drive unsupervised and without prompting.

Road safety minister Mike Penning said: “the independent driving assessment gave test candidates the chance to show they have the “necessary skills to cope with the sort of traffic conditions they will face every day”.

Learner driver plate on the bonnet of a car

Making it real is a good thing!

A good move we think – in testing anything, whether it’s a person’s skills or the usability of a website, it is important to make the test as close to reality as possible (some term this ‘ecological validity’ we just say ‘making it real’). When we do lab based usability testing or testing in the field we always strive to make it as natural as possible, and amongst other things this includes avoiding giving prompts or directions and just letting the person get on with what they were doing without interruption.

How far will they go in making it real?

The driving test candidates won’t be penalised for getting lost and can ask for help with directions if they wish – they are being examined not on their navigation (thank goodness otherwise I know many people who would never pass) but how they drive by themselves. It will be interesting to see how far the examiners will go in making the testing more realistic –  for instance will they allow sat navs? –  if so, would the candidates be penalised for swearing at them (as often seems to happen somehow in my car)? And what about screaming kids, and argumentative spouses….?

see:

Image by tgraham via Creative Commons


World Usability Day comes to Edinburgh

September 28, 2010
Posted by in Events
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Can school children create better communication products?

World Usability Day, dedicated to raising awareness about making our world work better, will this year focus on ‘Communications’. Events will run across the globe on the 11th November 2010 to raise awareness about making our life easier and more user friendly.


Bunnyfoot Digital Masterclass – raising money for CARE

August 4, 2010 - This post has 3 comments
Posted by in Events
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Neil outlines important analytics questionsLast week we held a Digital Masterclass to raise money for this year’s chosen Bunnyfoot charity event, The CARE Challenge. We were thrilled by the turnout and support from our clients and friends, all at short notice. All in all we managed to raise over £600. To those who came along or donated — we salute you!


Edinburgh Zoo flyer

One of the great attractions in Edinburgh is the Zoo, my kids love it. We have been members for five years and spend many days of the summer holidays wandering around. Over the last few years I’ve seen the Zoo marketing develop and on my last visit was particularly impressed by their recent flyers. They have successfully combined maps, plans for the future, members information and all manner of other info into one neat, slick and usable handout.Edinburgh Zoo Flyer

The flyer is a standard DL sized concertina folded affair but what nicely sets it apart is that it has a built in information architecture and is really easy to use.

The concertina has an offset fold that exposes a small border. The borders show the title of that section and make it easy to find and fold to that section. The borders act in the same way as tabs do within a webpage. Tabs are used to show off sections within the flyerThey conceal a large amount of information in a small space and provide the user with a quick introduction to the contents.

Having these tabs makes it easy to find the section you are interested in and avoids the problem of either having to open up the entire concertina or folding it up in some weird way to expose the bit that you are interested in.

If the zoo were not a fantastic trip in and of itself, I would heartily recommend popping along just to pick up one of these flyers.

If you’re aware of any similar excellent examples we’d love to hear about them.

Flyer opens out to display lots of information about what's going on

Lots of information becomes easily accessible


Bunnyfoot win Oxford Innovation Award

Dr Jon Dodd and Rob Stevens were proud to have their hard work rewarded after beating off stiff competition in the Oxford Innovation Awards.


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