Here are some interesting finds on UI/UX of the week!
Tips on Conducting Usability Studies with Participants with Disabilities. Impeccable article detailing how to prepare usability sessions where the focus is on participants with disabilities. This article provides great resources on where to find focus groups, and also materials to utilize in order to make these sessions productive. Highlight of the article includes:
“It is best if participants can bring their own equipment. However, it is always wise to plan for the worst, for example, if a participant does not bring their equipment or if there is a technical problem such as you can’t connect their equipment to your Wi-Fi network. In the case of visually impaired participants, install assistive technology (AT) such as screen reader software they will be bringing in on a backup PC. For many of the AT software packages, you can get a free trial that should cover you for the usability testing period. This has saved us several times. Even though the configuration was different than what the participants had, we were able to run the session. Participants were quickly able to go into the settings and make some adjustments (e.g., increase the speech rate) and get started with the session.”
Psychology and Effective UX. A very insightful article focused on how psychology plays an integral component in understanding on how users make their decisions. It’s an article that sheds light on different user testing techniques, allowing for a clearer understanding of what motivates users, and therefore, what paths to delineate for designers. Highlight of the article includes:
“The human brain consumes a whopping 25% of the body’s oxygen despite making up only about 2% of its mass. The brain is lazy as a survival mechanism — pattern recognition and shortcuts mean less energy spent consciously processing the situation. The brain identifies things, labels them, and ignores them until they’re relevant again. The brain’s preference for patterns and lazy decision making might make survival easier, but it makes UX design more difficult. How do you study something your research subject can’t even perceive? A handful of neuroscience techniques have recently made the jump into UX research, helping researchers shed light on the things that stimulate “fast thinking.”
Microcopy. This article focuses on microcopy as part of the product design experience, and on a higher level, the importance of copy in defining the overall user design experience. Copy is a crucial component of a product, walking a thin line between being informative, concise and pertinent, and sometimes being overindulgent and a bastion of brand hyperbole. Highlight:
“Every piece of microcopy should help a user complete a task — it’s there to educate, explain and simplify processes. If it doesn’t help, you should question why it’s there. Take an error message, for example. This tells a user that there’s an obstacle to completing their task. So it needs to explain how to navigate that obstacle and reach their goal. This could be as simple as providing a “Forgotten password” link on a failed login screen — not just stating that their input is incorrect. If it’s not useful, it’s not needed. UX writing is as much about ruthless editing as it is about writing.”