Rocket Surgery Made Easy
Steve Krug speaks at BostonCHI
Notes from 08-Dec-2009 meeting
- Steve’s new book – Rocket Surgery Made Easy – due in bookstores in a couple of weeks – material from this talk will be in his book…
- Passed a copy of his book around through the audience for quick peek
- 150 or so people in attendance
- writing process: collect years of notes
- need deadlines to force you to write (and finish)
- collect relevant articles for each chapter and post them all on a wall
- once you’ve begun to panic, start throwing things overboard
- Outline, write, iterate
- get help
- throw things overboard (save for next book?)
- FAQ at the end of every chapter – good idea
- Doing usability (vs How to Think About Usability)
- A morning a month – that’s all we ask
- Run tests – with whole team – at our site – scheduled monthly and well ahead of time – and debrief immediately after over lunch
- maybe do right before iteration planning
- company-sponsored lunch
- Start earlier than you think makes sense
- The sooner you get information, the better use you can make of that information
- Don’t wait until the site is “finished” – test it as soon as it is testable
- Don’t worry that “you already know about the problems”
- If you have nothing built, test other people’s sites
- Are you working on the site? –> Yes ==> test now!
- Recruit loosely and grade on a curve
- Beware implied domain knowledge
- Some testing can be done w/o your target audience
- Usability testers say many things that are similar to what therapists say – “what did you expect to happen when you did that?”
- Keep yourself out of it! It is about the user and what the user being tested is thinking.
- Make it a spectator sport
- Get everyone to come and watch the test – frequently the observers suddenly just “get it” that they are not their users
- Have high quality snacks. Keep the sessions short and compact. Do them on site. Make it easy for everyone to join in, hard to have a good reason to skip it.
- Record sessions with Camtasia ($300). Get a good USB desktop microphone ($25). Don’t record user’s face (“useless and distracting”). Use a screen sharing service (like GotoMeeting, $40/month?) to control the UI. High quality audio is important, and should be channeled to the observation room via GotoMeeting or Skype.
- Focus ruthlessly on a small number of the most important problems
- Serious because everyone will come across them, or serious because for those who do encounter them will be seriously impeded.
- Don’t feel you need to come up with the “perfect” fix
- Ask everyone in the observation room to write down the three most important issues they observed. These are raised at the debriefing session over lunch.
- When fixing problems, always do the least you can do ™
- Prioritize the list, then work your way down the list until you run out of time/resources
- Sometimes a tweak is better than a redesign – don’t get suckered into a redesign – the perfect is the enemy of the good!
- Focus on the smallest change we think we can make to address the problem we observed
- Remote Testing?
- Remote testing is handy – saves travel time, recruiting pool grows, … do over skype or GotoMeeting.
- How to get it off the ground? Try a group usability test of competitor’s site – everyone can get behind that. Do one and hope people get enthused about it. Make the cost of swinging by to watch the testing really small.
- Be very cautious about asking users how to fix the problems they’ve encountered. “Users are not designers.” “Hopefully you know a lot more than they do about design.” Listen to them, but be careful that they’re ideas are not well thought out. The purpose of testing is to “inform your design intelligence”.