Nick Fine’s UX Psychology rant on the latest episode of the Human Tech podcast


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Has the field of user experience (UX) been invaded and co-opted by designers? Has it lost its way from its original roots in Psychology?

Nick Fine says “YES!”. In this episode of the Human Tech podcast we have a spirited conversation with Nick about his crusade to bring Psychology back in a big way to UX. We discuss what that means, why it’s important, and the need for large-scale user research projects.

If, after listening to this episode, you want to get involved, (and you may want to do that after you listen in), here are some ways to reach Nick:

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-nick-fine-6a65a3/

Twitter:  @doctorfine

YouTube video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-wBqOhrpbk&t=5s


Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Alfonso de la Nuez On The Role Of User Research In The Future

Alfonso de la Nuez started in the field of usability with his small services company in Spain and ended up in California co-founding the user research software firm UserZoom. Last year UserZoom customers conducted more than 12,000 user research projects.

In this episode of the Human Tech podcast we talk with Alfonso, the CEO of UserZoom, about the current state and likely future of user research and testing, what makes user research successful inside a large enterprise, and much more.

You can check out UserZoom here, and you can email Alfonso at alfonso@userzoom.com


Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Why We Still Love User Testing

Logo for HumanTech podcastUser Testing as a way to get feedback from people about a product is still going strong. In this episode Susan quizzes Guthrie about the what and how of user testing, and talks about some of her fun and more memorable moments of the hundreds of tests she’s conducted.


HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

There Is No One Right Way To Categorize Information

Picture of xsort -- a free card sorting tool
xsort Card Sorting Software

My favorite conference of my career so far, either for attending or speaking, was the  UXLX conference (for user experience designers). I spoke at the May 2010 event (a year ago). It was my first ever time in Europe (I don’t count changing planes in Amsterdam). I was ok when I left the States, but by the time I landed in Lisbon I had a horrific cold. And yet I loved the 5 days I spent in Lisbon. Besides a great conference (another post I’ll write in the future), I got to spend time with the other speakers, among them Bill Scott, Steve Krug, Eric Reiss, Peter Merholz, Caroline Jarrett, Jared Spool and Justin Davis. The list goes on and on!

The Goddess of Card Sorting — One of the most lively and colorful personalities was Donna Spencer. She did a great talk on Design Games. She’s also the author of Card Sorting. I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s just now that I have gotten around to reading this book. I’ll say it’s because I was too busy writing my most recent book, but I also think it’s because I don’t do a lot of card sorting anymore. (Card sorting is a wonderful technique that user experience designers use to find out how people are thinking about and organizing information. You give people a set of index cards or post-it-notes. On each card is a word or phrase, for example, if I’m designing a website about pet care, I might have a card that says “grooming” and another that says “preventive health care” and another that says, “Diet” and another that says “Exercise”. You give the cards to people who are typical of the visitors you expect to have at the site and you ask them to organize the cards in a way that makes sense to them. By doing this you can figure out how best to organize the information at the web site.) Because I don’t do a lot of card sorting anymore I thought the book would not be that enlightening to me.

WRONG! — The book title is misleading. Certainly there is a lot of information on how to conduct card sorting and how to analyze the results and act on them. But the first part of the book is a great explanation of what information architecture is all about. I don’t know if I’ve ever read such a great description of how to think about organizing information and pitfalls to avoid. Here’s one of my favorite bits from the book:

“I have worked on projects where people didn’t understand why we needed to do card sorting, or even make an effort to create an organization scheme. They expected me to do it the right way — the one true way of organizing the content. Often, their right way was the company structure; sometimes it was a technical aspect of the content. It can be quite hard to convice them that there is no one right way and, in fact, that users may not understand the way they are proposing.”

The best way to organize information depends on who will be using it, in what context, and for what purpose.

Things to do next —

1. Check out Donna’s book. (affiliate link below).

 

2. You can also watch Donna’s talk from last year’s UXLX conference on “Design Games”. Here’s a link to that talk:

Picture of Donna Spencer
Link to Donna's talk at the 2010 UXLX conference

3. And here’s a link to her website (from Australia).

What do you think? Do you know of Donna and her work?

How To Test A Web Site Design In An Hour And On a Shoestring Budget

I have a friend who volunteers to be on an advisory board for a land trust conservancy organization. They have been designing a web site for the land trust. But they are all volunteers, and the organization doesn’t have a budget for web site design. They have a programmer donating her time to put together the website.

Can you get user feedback when the site doesn’t even exist yet? — My friend’s background is in usability, and she was concerned that the web site that the programmer was putting together had usability problems. But the group has virtually no budget to do user centered design or get user feedback on the prototype. And all she had were some pictures of a draft of some of the pages. For example, here’s what she had for the home page:

Picture of home page for Conservancy site

The menus didn’t “work” because it was just a picture, so she put together this page showing what would be in the drop downs if you did click on the main navigation on the home page:

Picture of home page with drop down menus

Continue reading “How To Test A Web Site Design In An Hour And On a Shoestring Budget”