Thursday, October 12, 2006
UIE Showcase Seminar, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Christine Perfetti of User Interface Engineering

Product Usability Survival Techniques

Christine Perfetti, User Interface Engineering

User Interface Engineering's Christine Perfetti has delivered the popular one-day course, Product Usability: Survival Techniques, to hundreds of designers, developers, and managers. Using a combination of entertaining lecture and fast-paced exercises, this seminar helps attendees understand exactly how to build usable products and web sites.

Usability: The Big Picture

We'll start the day by discussing how quality and usability are intertwined. You'll see how to use usability tests to measure the quality of a design. And you'll see how simple changes to your existing development process can dramatically improve your product.

The collection of usability data is not only important to make sure your product is easy to use, it is required to ensure you are only building those functions your users need. Usability data can tell you what features you've left out of your product, even before you've written the first line of code.

Iterative development is a way of looking at your existing development process. You'll learn to minimize implementation, by building only those pieces you need for a specific iteration. And you'll use frequent, inexpensive measurement techniques, such as usability testing, to deliver key information about a design.

Paper Mock-ups

Using common office supplies, development teams can build a working prototype of the product in a matter of hours. It may sound counter-intuitive, but we've found that it's usually faster to develop and change a paper mock-up than an electronic prototype. We'll share our prototyping tricks for simulating all kinds of user interface widgets.

You'll learn to create a fully working paper mock-up of any proposed design, which you can use to collect usability data through usability testing. You'll discover what aspects of your design work well, and what users have trouble with. Using paper mock-ups, you can make changes very quickly ? even during a usability test!

The Design Competition: More than the Usual Classroom Exercise!

The high point of this seminar is our design competition. Using everything you've learned, you'll build a fully working product in just a few hours. We assign each participant a different role to play as part of a five-person design team. Each team builds a working prototype in two hours. Then real users test each design. Because it's a competition, you'll find yourself totally immersed, working at top speed. The team that has the most usable interface wins fabulous prizes!!

This is not just a toy exercise. It is the real thing. We've carefully constructed every detail to duplicate the issues that arise in real product development. Over 2,000 professionals have participated in past competitions, and many tell us that this is the best part of the seminar. In this competition, you will:

  • Construct paper mock-ups that actually simulate every aspect of the product
  • Identify key usability problems by conducting a series of fast usability tests
  • Make major changes to a design in just a few moments, then find out exactly how the changes improve the product
  • Work with a multi-disciplinary team to create a synergy

You May Need this Course if...

  • Usability is becoming important in your product's marketplace
  • Members of your development team don't know what's ?good enough? for this release
  • You are changing target platforms, for example, moving from a character cell interface to a GUI or from a GUI to the Web
  • Developers have little or no contact with users
  • The development team ends up doing a lot of rework because requirements aren't clearly defined
  • There is contention between different departments: programming, marketing, QA, documentation, support, or training

Who Should Attend

This course is ideal for all members of the product or web site development team, including software engineers, user interface designers, project leaders, technical writers, marketing professionals, graphic designers, and product managers.

UI10 Seminar Recommendations: If you're interested in Christine's full-day seminar, you may also want to attend Rolf Molich's seminar on Advanced Methods for Usability Testing.