1 Establishing the essentials

Communication equals remembering what it’s like not to know.

—Richard Saul Wurman

Information Anxiety, 1989

From the moment you know enough to talk about a product—any product, whether it’s hardware, software, a video game, a training guide, or a website—you know too much to be able to tell if the product would be usable for a person who doesn’t know what you know. As Jakob Nielsen, a strong advocate of usability in product design, puts it, “Your best guess is not good enough.” That’s why usability testing is essential.

Usability Engineering, 1993

With usability testing, we get to see what people actually do—what works for them, and what doesn’t—not what we think they would do or even what they think they ...

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