Lessons Learned

Most of this has been covered in the previous post but it would be good to extract a number of key things that we have learned through the USeD project.

  1. usability can save you time and money during the development of a new application
  2. external consultants can be an effective way of buying in skills if you do not have them “in house”
  3. external consultants can be used to up-skill project staff
  4. however well you think you know your users/sector, engaging with users will always reveal something unexpected
  5. users may be using your service for something other than it’s primary purpose. This may be because they don’t know there is another service that would be better suited, or that your service is the best thing out there that almost does what they want
  6. personas work, even the contrived names such a Explorer Evie or Work-around Walter. ┬áThese make it easier to discuss issues and problems with the project team and relate them back to a “real” user.
  7. user testing points out the blindingly obvious which was not obvious until you started testing
  8. you can salvage something from a user test even if it seems to be going badly wrong
  9. you don’t need more than 5-6 user to test an interface, by the 4th person you are uncovering very little in the way of new issues.
  10. write up user tests immediately, important information seeps out of your mind in a short space of time
  11. usability labs need not be expensive
  12. effective documentation makes buy-in from stakeholders much easier.

I think i will leave it there, I may come back to this list and add a couple more items.

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