SpoolCast #3.1: Usability Takes a Holiday (Part 1)

Jared Spool

November 7th, 2006

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Spoolcast Episode #3.1: Usability Takes a Holiday
Recorded: October 2, 2006
Part 1 of 4
Duration: 27m 37s

Present for the call were Jared Spool, DeWayne Purdy, Lyle Kantrovich, Rashmi Sinha, Nate Bolt, and Josh Porter. You can meet the crew here.

In this episode, the SpoolCast crew convened to discuss:

  • Individual and group card sorting techniques
  • Incorporating group elements into individual usability testing
  • Collaborative recruitment and social collaborative tools
  • Accommodating testing on a social scale
  • The state of UX organizations across the country
  • Whether World Usability Day is helpful or harmful to the community in the long run

We’ve divided the recording into four parts to make it easier to digest.
Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 are now available.
(Here’s a feed that iTunes likes.)

Production assistance on this SpoolCast from Brian Christiansen.

We’d love to hear what you think. Leave your comments below or you can write us at SpoolCast@uie.com.

6 Responses to “SpoolCast #3.1: Usability Takes a Holiday (Part 1)”

  1. UIE Brain Sparks » Blog Archive » SpoolCast #3.2: Usability Takes A Holiday (Part 2) Says:

    [...] More about what’s in this episode here. [...]

  2. UIE Brain Sparks » Blog Archive » SpoolCast #3.3: Usability Takes A Holiday (Part 3) Says:

    [...] You can find the first episode and more about what’s in this episode here. [...]

  3. UIE Brain Sparks » Blog Archive » SpoolCast #3.4: Usability Takes A Holiday (Part 4) Says:

    [...] You can find the first episode and more about what’s in this episode here. [...]

  4. Mark Says:

    I find the comment on the backlash against usability in the design community as somewhat hard to digest and too general. Can you quanitfy this?

  5. Jared Spool Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I don’t have specific numbers, but finding resistance or disdain for usability practice is not hard to find. One symptom is top-tier designers don’t see a need for it.

    For example, over at 37 Signals, Jason Fried is quite blunt when asked if they did usability testing on their Backpack product:

    We don’t conduct usability tests. We build what we think works best and then release the product. The usability testing happens in the real world with the real product. We listen to the customer base and make adjustments if we feel they are necessary.

    That’s funny. Turns out that’s what all the people who put out crappy interfaces think they do too.

    More and more visible people from the design community spend their time talking about how “usability people don’t get it.”

  6. Mark Says:

    I appreciate your point Jared but I also contend that there are a lot of creative minds and designers out there who can be effective in a process as you describe above by merely considering the customer needs during the design process. That´s what expertise is.

    And the “testing in the real world” is a best practice, and indeed the only real sphere in which to really get the users needs nailed down for example by allowing user innovation.

    But you´re right, there´s a lot of crappy stuff out there, but what is the real reason for this? I don´t agree with a generalisation of Designers Backlash. Instead I see the issue as being the time and space invested in the development process. You know how it goes, the “get it launched and then fix the bugs” attitude.

    Good topic for a spoolcast?

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