- Raymarine is a manufacturer of boating systems and instruments.
- They were building their first small screen instruments using full-colour screens, rather than monochrome LCD. This allowed much more flexible and informative interfaces, similar to TomTom.
- They needed user research, interface design and user testing for the new device.
- As a consultant:
- I interviewed user groups
- I designed screens, icons and processes
- I used paper prototyping surveys to test these with users
- I later oversaw the final graphic design of the icons.
- These were implemented in Raymarine’s ST70 Multifunction Color Instrument
- Download: Paper Prototype User Survey (PDF)
- Aviva is a FTSE 100 financial services company
- They wanted to build a website which promoted their sponsorship of British athletics and individual athletes
- Research was required into what users would like to see in such a site, why they would visit it, how planned content would be received
- Budget was limited, so I created a low-fidelity prototype consisting of a suggested website, consisting of linked wireframe images
- This was used in user testing and as the basis of user interviews
- Download: Extract – Aviva Athletics low-fi prototype (PPT)
- Go to the Aviva Athletics site
- John Lewis Partnerhip is a large department store retailer in the UK.
- In 2006, as part of their gift list service JLP, provided customers with a hand-held scanner which allowed the customer walk around the store, scanning products to build up their list.
- I carried out a usability evaluation, going through the entire user journey from registering, collecting the device, receiving instructions, building a list and uploading it to their website.
- A presentation and report of the findings was given to the JLP IT team, identifying 1 x high, 23 x medium and 5 x low priority issues.
- SABMiller is a beer manufacturing company in the FTSE 100 with operations in over 75 countries
- They wanted a new corporate website as their existing site was dated and amateurish
- As User Experience Architect I produced the information architecture, and interaction design for the career section, media library and report tools and was responsible for usability overall
- I also wrote the functional specification for the content management system and interaction with third-party systems including the Taleo careers application system and the news ticker from the company intranet
- Go to the SABMiller corporate website
- My London employer, The Group, is a communications agency.
- The whole company including designers, account managers and project managers needed to have a good grasp of usability fundamentals.
- I provided a one hour presentation for all new employees.
- I also distributed a list of Usability Guidelines on a 10cm-wide strip that was blue-tacked to people’s monitors, to one side of the screen.
- I wanted the guidelines to be as concrete, specific and easy to apply as possible. That is, they should be concrete things like “Put the site search function in the top right of the page”, rather than abstract things like “Use commonly understood concepts and metaphors, and present information in a natural and logical order”.
The usability specifics I settled on were:
1) Orwell’s last writing rule: Orwell said the following about writing well (almost, it’s slightly adapted) – “Break any of these rules sooner than create/design anything outright barbarous.” Nothing is set in stone. There will be situations where one or more of these rules should not be applied. But 9 times out of 10 they will.
2) Indicate the user’s current position in the site: Navigation should always be highlighted so that you can see where you are. Users don’t want to feel lost. This gives them something to hang onto. Also, users may have come straight to an inside page via a search engine and they’ll need to know where they are.
3) Don’t rely on breadcrumb navigation: Tests show that a lot of users never see breadcrumb trails. Some do, but a lot don’t. Use them, they are helpful. But don’t rely solely on them.
4) Logo is home link: The organisation’s logo in the top left of the screen should be a link to the home page. This is a standard convention. Most users expect it to work this way.
5) Site search in top right: The site search should appear towards the top of the screen, and preferably on the right. This research by Shaik and Lenz (http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/81/webobjects.asp) shows that most users expect to see it there.
6) Display search criteria along with results: When you’re looking at the search results page, you want to see what you entered in earlier. Don’t just show the results without also showing something like “You entered ‘XYZ'” at the top. It means the user doesn’t have to rely on their fallible memory and can also see if they made any typos.
7) Indicate mandatory fields in forms: You should always be able to see which fields in a form are mandatory rather than have to guess.
8 ) Confirm the password in a registration form: Don’t allow the user to enter their password only once if their input is masked by asterisks as they type. If they make a mistake they can’t tell, and they won’t be able to login.
9) Don’t get developers to write error messages: Some developers write very well. But the developer also knows how the site is supposed to work and what it’s supposed to do to an agonising level of detail. Best to get someone who’s not so close to the project to do the wording for the messages.
10) Don’t convey info only with colour: This is really an accessibility rule but it often comes up in usability evaluations. Colour can be used to reinforce information but shouldn’t be the only means by which it is conveyed. Users with colour blindness will not be able to see the information.
11) Use terms consistently. If you use a term to describe something, always use that same term. This applies to content but also to navigation – if you click on an item you should go to a page that has the same heading as the thing you clicked on.
- Learndirect is a UK government organisation that provides e-learning and qualifications on a wide range of topics, via third party providers.
- As a consultant, I carried out a card sort activity to improve the structure of the online catalogue
- I also ran user testing on several Learndirect e-learning modules and presented the findings back to Learndirect.
- Find out more about Learndirect
Business Analysis Projects
- Australian Council of State Emergency Services e-training site
- Aviva Ocean Racing websites
- Aviva brand identity
- British Gas Careers website
- E-lect – commercial polling management system
- Epson SmartStore – online store
- Epson Surveys – website survey and data management system
- Flexirent After Tax Calculator
- Flexirent Trade Up Calculator
- IHG Innovation Hotel
- Kellogg’s Australia website and CMS
- Maxxium Australia Microsoft SharePoint implementation
- NSW Dept of Information Technology and Management website
- NSW Dept of State and Regional Development Australian Technology showcase website, kiosk and CD
- Provident Financial corporate site
- SABMiller corporate site
- Smart Internet Technology Co-operative Research Centre website and CMS
- The Group website rebuild
- Ticketek Australian Open online ticketing system
- Wattyl Australia website and CMS
- WorkCover NSW website and CMS
- Provident Financial corporate site usability testing
- J-Sainsbury corporate site usability testing
- The Home Office user research
- Waitrose usability testing
- The Environment Agency (UK) usability testing
- Reed Business Information usability testing
- Estates Gazette
- New Scientist
- Total Jobs
- Xpert HR