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Monthly Archives: March 2016
Usability review: talk to your users ASAP
As professional in the User Experience field, we’ve all heard it time and time again:
- Test early and test often.
- The only way to find out if it really works is to test it.
- We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.
- The sooner you start to code, the longer the program will take.
- Just because nobody complains doesn’t mean all parachutes are perfect
- Don’t guess. Test.
To get early feedback is easier said than done. I know that it takes time to create the visual mocks. Then things are moving so quickly (2 week sprints!) and it feels like we don’t have time to run our ideas by users. Finally, we feel like we know what it best for the product. We have done some user research. Our ideas have evolved as the project has progressed. We have made some decisions, that we think are for the better.
The earlier you test your site designs, the sooner you can find any problems and fix them.
But it’s this type of thought process that you need to take pause and stop in your tracks. Just when you think you are doing the right thing, that is the moment that your assumptions and biases are likely to creep in. So, this is a great point to take a break and get user feedback before you proceed down the rabbit hole any further.
To start with, we sent the wireframes to the visual designer to mock up our concept with more visual reality. We made sure that the flow we wanted to show the users was visually represented enough through our mocks.
Once the mocks were in a state we felt we could share with the user, we needed to figure out what type of information we wanted to gain from our usability review. Next, I came up with a brief list of topics and content we wanted to focus on.
I wanted to first focus on the overall presentation and design, as well as have them look at the navigation and taxonomy that we were presenting. Then after getting their feedback on the overall design, I wanted to take them through a specific work flow, and see if it made sense to the user.
I think that a common error in usability testing is giving the person too much information as soon as they see your prototype. Don’t jump the gun!! Take this opportunity to get initial reaction feedback. Let the person participating in the usability review take a moment to take in the design, layout and wording. Let them get acquainted with the page and get that “first few seconds” feedback. Please don’t miss the opportunity.
Then after taking a few minutes to talk to the user about the overall design, you can then take a deeper dive in to a work flow. I found that in this instance, the first half of the conversation focused on the website’s design, terminology and assessing if the user understood how to get started on some general tasks. In other words, I wanted to see if the navigation choices made sense. Also, I wanted to see if they had any cognitive dissonance with any of the terms we had used. Next, we asked the users how they would perform a specific task. In this case, it was how they would start to place an order. Along their usability journey, they brought up a lot of good questions and educated us on how they do this process now. It was all very insightful, and helpful to find out what we had done right, and what we needed to improve. That, my dear friends, is the whole goal of performing this usability review.
Want to watch the entire usability review live in the flesh? Please feel free to watch the video. If you have specific feedback on my approach or any aspect of my session, please share your thoughts in the comments. Just like designing a website or software, my research methods are always in a state of improvement and iteration. Please help me make my product, in this case ME, even better.
Axure bootcamp kicked my butt
Think about when you attend an exercise bootcamp. You are trying to whip your body in to shape quickly by participating in an intense workout session. Then the next day, man, does your body hurt. You realize just how out of shape you are.
This is how I felt after attending an intense weekend workshop taught by instructors from AB Collective. I realized, quite humbly, how out of shape my Axure skills have become. You have heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” This came to light this weekend after attending the bootcamp.
After being reintroduced to some of the advanced features in Axure, I learned a few valuable lessons:
- Keep practicing and using the tool or you will forget.
- Don’t assume just because you used an item a few months ago, you can jump in and use it again easily.
- Online videos may not be the best way to learn. You don’t always absorb information from videos. Well, at least I don’t.
- If you cannot using this skill in your everyday job, create a project to practice it to keep your skills sharp.
I am so thankful I had the opportunity to to take a course like this. And it was worth every penny. I understand that every person learns differently, so if online videos work for you, by all means continue to watch and learn. But for me, I learned some valuable lessons that I need to keep practicing to keep it in my arsenal.
UX Deliverables: Journey flow
Along with the requirements needed for the Virtual travel sheet (VTS) , also wrote out the steps a user will go through when working the VTS.
As posted before, we are creating a feature that will help doctors quickly build their medical plan and add items to the order. This feature, called a virtual travel sheet, will greatly increase the doctor’s satisfaction by making data entry easier, fast and perhaps quite pleasant with minimal typing. Doctors are familiar with the concept of a travel sheet. Many of them still use them in their practice still. So integrating a familiar paradigm in to the softwares used in the hospital should be greeted with delight.
Below is the user’s journey of working with the Virtual Travel Sheet for an Outpatient. What is an outpatient? That is a more “typical” type of visit to the doctor. This type of visit does not require the patient to be checked in to the hospital or to stay over night.
User Journey (Outpatient, Plan building)
- A pet is checked in to the hospital
- A VTS (virtual travel sheet) is automatically created for today’s visit when the pet is checked in
- Today’s medical plan is designated on the VTS by the background color and tab at the top being blue.
- Filters have been applied to the pet.
- The exam has already been added to the VTS. This is shown by the item highlighted on the VTS and it is listed on today’s medical plan. This is based on the type of appointment that was booked.
- The Outpatient VTS is selected (from the pulldown)
- The Dr. will examine the pet and determine what procedures, medications, labs, vaccines or other items should be included in the medical plan.
- To open the VTS, the user will select a tab (probably located on the right of the screen) that slides from right to left and covers the current screen with the VTS.
- The user adds items to the medical plan by clicking the item he sees on the VTS one at a time. This selection is instantly highlighted in yellow and is added to the right column under the Medical plan.
- If a user does not see a lab that he would like to add to his medical plan from the list provided under Labs In House, the user can select the MORE option.
The popup after hitting MORE on a category will:
- Give the user the ability to search within this category on the popup
- The items from previous VTS screen will be listed within the MORE list in alphabetical order
- The ability to select multiple items before closing this window
- The items selected will be visible on the TVS as highlighted selections
- While in the MORE popup screen, the user finds the lab he would like to add to the medical plan on the VTS and selects it. This lab is highlighted, which indicates that it has been selected. When all items are selected, the user then hits the DONE button to add the lab to his VTS
- The user can use alternative travels sheets, like medications, to add items that are not on the originally displayed VTS. The user selects to the Medication VTS from the pulldown and adds the medication he would like to include with his medical plan.
- Additional notes can be added to each item in the medical plan. To do this, just double click on the line item and a text field is revealed. Once a note is typed, just navigate away, and it is saved. An orange “N” will indicate that an item has a note.
- If the user would like to delete an item from the Medical plan, he can hover over the line item and a red “X” will appear to delete the item. The user can also delete the line item by right clicking and selecting the “Delete” option.
- When all items have been added to the Medical plan, the user can select the “Present estimate” from the pulldown.
- When the user chooses to present an estimate to a client from the medical plan, another window will slide from the Medical plan column, from the right to the left, covering the VTS selection area. This interactive screen allows the user to:
- Show the plan items in a larger font so the customer can review on screen
- By checking the “Show Financial” box, it will show the monetary values of each product and summarize the charges
- The doctor can add additional notes to this estimate
- Instantly get customer approval by checking the box, which will be time stamped
- Print estimate for the customer to review and sign if needed
- Save this estimate
- Update the medical plan if items have been declined by the client
- Move items from the medical plan to recommendations if the customer declines an item
- When the user prints this estimate, it automatically saves the estimate. The plan is also updated if any items have been removed, and therefore sent to the Recommendations section.
- When an item is declined, it is moved to the recommendation section. On the VTS, the highlight color also changes from yellow to green.
Optional: the user can designate order items to be linked to concerns. This would be done by right clicking on the line item, and selecting the concern from the pull down list.
Optional: the user can create additional estimates for today’s plan or a future visit.