Predict your “usable release” date by integrating user research

Question that stakeholders, project managers, and product owners have in common:

  • When will the product be finished?
  • When will a usable product be released?

Both questions could be answered by using the same method: a burn-down chart. But the second question requires adding certain user research findings to the chart.

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Ten ways to improve the usability of products that Agile teams build

Software development that uses a waterfall method is likely to deliver the wrong thing, too late. The intent of the Agile method is to deliver working software sooner, so the intended users—our clients and their customers—can provide feedback that steers us to deliver the right thing.

There’s a tension between delivering on time and delivering the right thing. In fact, the rush for on-time delivery can result in the wrong thing—an unusable product. There are ways to prevent this. User research can help. Continue reading “Ten ways to improve the usability of products that Agile teams build”

User research to adjust to regional needs

When communicating with audiences around the world, the text in your software or service user interface is important. You’ll need to translate.

Translation is just one step. Delivering software in multiple languages takes more than that. Products and services need to be adjusted to regional expectations.

Even things you may assume are universal concepts—such as names or money—may need to be adapted. User research can uncover those regional differences. Here’s a quick look at:

  • names, specifically middle initials
  • money, in the form of bank loans
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The ease of user research goes in cycles

The tools of user research have evolved substantially over the past three decades, and need to evolve more.

Here’s a history from last century through today, based on my experience.

User researchers have had to learn to test

  • computer software using expensive usability labs,
  • desktop software by using other desktop computers,
  • smartphone apps by using apps,
  • household appliances and outdoor digital experiences the hard way.

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