- Implement a proven methodology for participant recruiting
- Find participants who are invested in your designs
- Focus on behavior first
- Meet users you didn't know you had
Recruiting doesn’t need to be hard and doing it yourself has great value. Don’t believe us? Well, we’ve asked someone we consider to be the expert in usability testing to help you tackle this part of the process – Dana Chisnell.
Dana is the co-author of the must have book on user research testing, The Handbook of Usability Testing 2nd edition . Though much of the Handbook is about the process of usability testing, one of the major updates in the book from the first edition are about recruiting participants for usability tests.
Dana is an independent usability consultant and user researcher who founded Usabilityworks in San Francisco, CA. She has been doing usability research, user interface design, and technical communications consulting and development since 1982.
Dana took part in her first usability test in 1983 while she was working as a research assistant at the Document Design Center. It was on a mainframe office system developed by IBM. Since then, she has worked with hundreds of study participants, for dozens of clients, to learn about design issues in software, hardware, web sites, online services, games, and ballots (and probably other things that are better forgotten about). She has helped companies like Yahoo!, Intuit, AARP, Wells Fargo, E*TRADE, Sun Microsystems, and RLG (now OCLC) perform usability tests and other user research to inform and improve the designs of their products and services.
It's not clear when "quick and dirty" became a dirty phrase in the usability world. There are those that believe that testing must be scientific, and that takes time and money — luxuries not often available to many development projects.
However, it doesn't have to be that way. Useful insights can come just by having the chance to talk with and observe participants in the most informal of settings, such as cafés, trade shows, and the company cafeteria. You can get value from a quick test, even if you only have 2 days to pull it off, or don’t have a working design yet. Traditional by-the-book testing has its merits, but you can still get valid, useful results by cutting out the time-consuming and budget-busting expenses.
Usability testing expert Dana Chisnell knows what it means to work by-the-book – she co-wrote “the book” (The Handbook of Usability Testing) with Jeff Rubin. In this seminar, Dana will break down the process of collecting user research data, exploring the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the certainly-can-do-withouts. You'll learn how you can answer your essential design questions using methods that would make MacGyver proud.
This presentation is perfect if you have yet to conduct your first usability test. If you’re experienced with testing, Dana will show you some new ways to inject user research into those tight-on-resources projects that keep cropping up.