Lean UX. Best practices for integrating user insights into the app development process. Best Practices Copyright 2015 UXprobe bvba

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1 Lean UX Best practices for integrating user insights into the app development process Best Practices Copyright 2015 UXprobe bvba

2 Table of contents Introduction Ideation phase Task Analysis... 4 Purpose of task analysis...4 How to perform task analysis Design phase Elaborating a prototype based on scenario... 5 An example of task scenario Formative usability testing... 6 Prototype with UXprobe integration Development & Testing phase Alpha testing In-lab summative usability testing Beta testing... 9 Beta testing & usability test comparison Learning from the real world phase Conclusion... 12

3 Your users must be at the heart of your design and development process Introduction In today s app marketplace, apps must be simple and intuitive to be successful. In order to achieve this, your users must be at the heart of your design and development process: from the ideation phase all the way to the first production version and beyond. It is important to know your users goals and how they want to achieve them with your app. You will have to make sure they can successfully reach their goals; if they are satisfied with the way your app works; if their expectations were met. To answer these questions, you can combine different means: observe your users behavior, collect their feedback, and get more detailed inputs by conducting surveys. All these insights will provide you a better understanding of your users attitudes, feelings and expectations. Moreover, if this analysis is done when using mockups, prototypes, and also with working versions of your app, it will allow you to iteratively improve your app to deliver the best user experience possible. 3

4 a b c PIC 1. 3 different interfaces: a) Find a train schedule b) Subscribe to a blog c) Listen to the radio 1. Ideation phase During the ideation phase you need to develop a clear understanding of your users goals, and from there, the tasks they want to perform with the app in order to achieve these goals Task Analysis Purpose of task analysis Task analysis is the process of learning about your users by observing them in action. That process lets you understand in detail how they perform tasks today and find out where they encounter problems or have difficulties. This helps you identify the functionality and features your app will have to support. The first important step is to define the goal (or goals) your users want to achieve with your app. What are they up to? What s in their mind when they open your app? (i.e. When is the next train to Brussel Central?, This is an interesting blog, I want to save it somewhere, I would like to listen to the French news ). SEE PIC 1. The second step would be to identify the task(s) they need to perform in order to accomplish their goal. (i.e. From the first example (a): Find train schedule - Look at the itinerary of a train - Subscribe to a connection - Favorite specific routes) Finally you will have to analyze how these tasks are performed by your potential users: What are the different steps they take to complete their task(s)? (i.e. identify cities of arrival and destination / choose a day / choose a time / search / go through the different train schedule to find the most appropriate one) In what order or sequence are steps performed? How frequently are these tasks performed, i.e. which tasks are more important than others and eventually should work on your app almost effortlessly? (i.e. which task is performed the most often?: Find train schedule or Look at the itinerary of a train ) It is also important to take into account users previous knowledge and experience with different tasks. Are they already used to this kind of system? (i.e. A real-life timetable) If yes, is an imitation the best way to help users achieve their goal? If not, it is best to be cautious introducing users to new ways of performing a task, and the path should be carefully designed. With these elements in hand, you can identify the problems or difficulties users encounter when trying to perform tasks today. Reviewing these issues will give you a clear idea how your app should evolve to meet users wants and needs. 4

5 How difficult or easy do users perceive their tasks? 2. Design phase In the design phase, you finally start to work on your app. In this phase you can be as lean as possible. Start with the core, test, check and iterate. Do not hesitate to pivot Elaborating a prototype based on scenario The ideation Phase To fully complete your understanding of your users experience, you also need to understand how difficult or easy do users perceive their tasks. The perception does not always match the behavior, or your early analysis of the behavior. This feedback will help you have a better sense of what is really important and what is not. How to perform task analysis Several methodologies exist to perform a task analysis, popular ones are just plain old interviews and contextual inquiries. Interview Simply ask users what overall tasks they are trying to accomplish or how they are currently accomplishing the task; e.g. by using a search engine, another app or through some other means, probably not software. Contextual inquiry Observe your users while they are performing their tasks and ask questions to better understand while they are performing tasks that way. You begin by defining your system from the users perspective. This usually takes the form of task scenarios that describe the stories of how a specific user or user segment uses your app. From these task scenarios, user interface designs can be created and incorporated into a prototype that should be validated by potential users of the app. Task scenarios are very similar to so-called use cases but they lay out each step from the user s point of view rather than from the system s point of view. They are based on the results of the task analysis and includes all the steps users need to take to accomplish their tasks with your prototype or app. An example of task scenario Scratchy is simple video sharing app (like Vine) where you make a short video and add music to it. Scenario Make a scratchy music-video : 1. Open Scratchy 2. Push and hold scratch bottom bar for 6s to make a video 3. Type words in the search music to find the music you want to add to the video 4. Select a song of preference in the list of suggested songs 5. Click on thanks! to start watching your video 5

6 Understand whether or not the user s mental model matches the design concept PIC 2. Task Success Dashboard: task completion, task times and errors 2.2. Formative usability testing Once a prototype has been built, it should be validated with potential users to understand whether or not the user s mental model matches the design concept. Usually an inlab formative usability test with a prototype (e.g. Axure, HTML or even a coded prototype) can conduct to find the critical problems that prevent users from completing their tasks. This is critical because it occurs at a very early stage of the app development process. The aim of the formative usability test is to help you understand which parts of the app are not usable and should be improved. The emphasis during a formative usability test therefore lies not only on tracking user behavior, but also capturing user needs, enhancement ideas and satisfaction. This is important, and will give a context to the users behaviors. You will use it to improve or even pivot to another version of the prototype. Prototype with UXprobe integration By integrating UXprobe into the prototype, the moderator leading the usability test will be relieved of most of the note taking because UXprobe will track all user interactions. Thanks to the feedback panel users can even tell themselves when they are feeling annoyed or happy about specific parts of the app. Surveys can automatically pop-up after task completions or at the end of the study. The moderator will only have to focus on specific observations that are not being tracked or to trigger participants to explain why they behave in certain ways or describe how they feel while using the prototype, etc. As said earlier, during a formative usability test it is important to understand what parts of the app are not working. This can be achieved by tracking your users behaviors while they are working their way through the different tasks that have been described in the task scenarios. UXprobe system enables you to track all these tasks; when they start and end, the screens that appear, the features that are used and the UI problems users encounter. UXprobe s Task Success dashboard (SEE PIC 2.) uses UX metrics that will immediately show you which tasks are problematic: Task completion: % of users who successfully completed the task Task times: Average duration for successful task completion; as a diagnostic measure Errors: problems with forms, text field validation, etc. 6

7 PIC 4. Graph of a survey in scratchy PIC 3. UXprobe s feedback panel in scratchy Qualitative data, like user comments and answers to surveys (SEE PIC 3.), on the other hand could be used to understand your users problems, needs and enhancement ideas. With UXprobe s feedback panel (SEE PIC 4.) users can tell you where they have problems with the app; e.g. terminology or iconography they don t understand or even what features and functionality they would need in the actual app. A best practice is to let users describe their problems and expectations with their own words in the feedback panel instead of the moderator writing it down. The user s terminology can be used in the redesign of an improved version of the prototype or app. Cannot figure out how to quote Would love to add videos Is there a list of my own tweets What about a forgot password functionality? Not even possible to add my location? Incomprehensible, bad design! Cannot find my drafts Love the quoting thing PIC 5. Screen with feedback quotes SEE PIC 5. 7

8 Task level satisfaction metrics will immediately flag a problematic task After users attempt a task, have them answer a few questions about how difficult the task was. Task level satisfaction metrics will immediately flag a problematic task. You can find an example usability questionnaire below, questions should be adapted to the things you want to learn from your users. How would you describe how difficult or easy it was to complete this task? Very difficult Difficult Neutral Easy Very easy How satisfied are you with using this application to complete this task? Very unsatisfied Unsatisfied Neutral Satisfied Very satisfied How would you rate the amount of time it took to complete this task? Too much time Long Neutral Short Very little time At the end of the test, have participants answer a question about their impression of their overall satisfaction of the app. How likely would you be to use our app? Very unlikely to use Unlikely to use Neither unlikely nor likely Likely to use Very likely to use

9 PIC 6. Detail of a session. Each step is recorded PIC 7. Task Success Dashboard: statistical measures of usability 3. Development & Testing phase 3.1. Alpha testing Alpha tests are normally conducted by the developers, testers and project/product managers who use the real version of the software to make sure the nuts and bolts are all working correctly and the user experience will not be affected by a non-working functionality. During these alpha tests UXprobe can already track user interactions and log the system errors that are occurring because of ill-implemented functionality or just plain bugs. These errors can be tracked and testers can provide comments and a screenshot to contextualize the circumstances. Step-by-step scenarios do not have to be typed in anymore (SEE PIC 6.), problems can just be copied with the necessary artefacts into the issue database that is being used by the development team In-lab summative usability testing Summative usability tests are carried out near the end of the development phase to measure or validate the usability of your app to answer the question: How usable is the app?. Summative usability testing is normally used to obtain measures to establish a usability benchmark with competitors or a previous version. The outcome from a usability test are usually focused on statistical measures of usability: Task completion: % of users who successfully completed the task Task times: Average duration for successful task completion; as a diagnostic measure Number of errors: UI errors but also system errors and bugs, etc. User satisfaction: how satisfied are users with the app SEE PIC 7. The main difference with formative usability testing is to evaluate the app through defined measures rather than to diagnose and correct of specific design problems Beta testing Beta testing generally begins when the app is feature complete, or in a lean process when the core features are implemented. The app usually still has a lot of bugs, as well as speed or performance issues and may still cause crashes or data loss. It is typically the first time that the app 9

10 How are they using your app s features? PIC 9. Features graph - which features are used the most and which are not will be available to users outside of the organization that developed it. The main goal of beta testing is to capture as many flaws in the app as possible and fix them before launching the app to the general public. (SEE PIC 8.) Beta testing & usability test comparison Beta testing will give you data about app usage where in a usability test you only get data about usability. During a usability test you can learn how users react as they use the app but you won t learn how users react to something over an extended period of time. With usability testing you only understand whether or not users can use your app but not if they are going to use the app, what features/functionality they are going to use and how they are going to use them. (SEE PIC 9.) During beta testing it is very important that you understand your beta testers preferences: the functionality and features they mostly use, things that they are missing or that are not working for them and also how satisfied they are. Just as with the usability tests, this information can be gathered by the beta testers through self-reporting by using a feedback panel and by answering surveys. But unlike with the usability test, during a beta test the surveys should be short and designed for ease of use. Fill-in questions, ranking questions, Likert scales and list-choice questions are preferred over essay type and questions that require a lot of thought to complete. PIC 8. Errors graph - which UI and system errors occur 10

11 Learning from the real world phase reflects your complete set of users You could for example use the Single Ease Question (SEQ) survey to understand task level satisfaction: Overall, how difficult or easy was this task to complete? Very difficult Difficult Neither difficult or easy Easy Very easy And when the user is about to leave the app, have him answer a question about his impression of his overall satisfaction of the app. How likely would you be to use the Scratchy app? Very unlikely to use Unlikely to use Neither unlikely nor likely likely to use Very likely to use Learning from the real world phase Once the final app is available on the app store or distributed to your users, tracking isn t over. Now your app is being used by people who actually want and need your app. Now it is the time to better understand who they are, what they are trying to do and how satisfied they are with the app. environment. The results you are getting now are reflecting your complete set of users not only a particular segment. Now, when you are getting results that are not satisfying your expectations, you can easily verify if it is only problematic to a small group of users or if more serious issues are affecting everyone and therefore need to be addressed. Unlike with a usability or beta test you are not tracking a limited group of users but you are tracking everyone who is using your app on their own device and in their natural 11

12 Consider the overall user experience, investigate how a user thinks and feels before, during and after use Conclusion When you evaluate mockups, prototypes and apps you need to know what users do, but probably even more importantly, you need to understand what they think about your app. Therefore, you should not only consider the usability of an app in terms of users effectiveness, and efficiency but also the overall user experience, investigate how a user thinks and feels before, during and after use. UXprobe helps you to continuously understand your users wants and needs throughout the complete design and development lifecycle. The service will show you how your users interact with the different versions of your mockups, prototypes and app. With the in-app surveys you can ask users how satisfied they are, how they feel, and what features and functionalities they would like and need. With a built-in feedback panel, users can tell you themselves how they feel about the app. UXprobe provides your development team with continuous learning of the user experience delivered by your app, empowering you to make smart choices, and create the best user experience possible. And that makes happy users. We will be happy to give a live demo! Call us +32 (0) Send us an Check our Website Watch our video Follow us on Facebook Look for UXprobe Google+ Look for UXprobe

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