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Rethinking UX by Smashing Magazine

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Improving Your Website Usability Tests

By Damian Rees

In one of the first usability tests I ever did, I met a lovely old lady who could not use a mouse. She kept lifting it in the air and pointing at the screen, speaking words of encouragement to the cursor. At the end of the test I got absolutely nothing, but she did think I was a “lovely boy” who should meet her granddaughter. Very quickly I learned the value of setting very clear criteria for participant recruitment.

If you’ve ever run a usability test before, you’ll know that it’s not as easy as it looks. Although it’s not rocket science, there are some intricacies that can make a big difference. In this chapter I share some of the lessons I have learned which should help you avoid your user ...

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