#001 – Still Untitled

On usability testing

“Design is an iterative process, and solutions need to be tried and tested out in the wild (pun semi-intended) before you know for sure whether they’ll work or not.”

23 July 2021

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    By Piccia Neri

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    By Piccia Neri.

    The importance of usability testing

    Do you sometimes believe a story, just because you love the idea of it?

    I did that last week. I read on social media, probably Twitter, a wonderful story about a government plan in Finland to paint reindeers’ antlers with reflective paint, in order to prevent  car crashes as well as suffering and death for these beautiful animals.

    I loved the story so much, and felt it was a great example of creative design thinking, that I didn’t stop for a minute to check whether it was true or not.

    Spoiler alert: it’s not. Or better said, it’s only partially true. The Finnish government did experiment with the idea in 2014, but it subsequently abandoned it in favour of an app alerting drivers to reindeer crossings.

    Which in a way confirms my point: design is an iterative process, and solutions need to be tried and tested out in the wild (pun semi-intended) before you know for sure whether they’ll work or not.

    Enter usability testing, a topic that’s foremost in my mind at the moment as I complete module 7 of the UX Blueprint course.

    You should check whether the products you’re building are usable all over the course of the project: not when you’ve already launched it, when correcting potential mistakes becomes a nightmare.

    I’m creating the module for people like us, who have no intention of ever becoming usability testing professionals, but who still need to make sure we deliver products that people love to use.

    I’ll share a taster video from module 7 (on validation in general) very soon; in the meantime, there are plenty more lessons from the course available to watch for  free if you’re interested.

    Great UX & Business Growth with Accessible WordPress Websites: A Cloudways webinar with Joe Olson

    Great UX & Business Growth with Accessible WordPress Websites

    Usable means: accessible to everyone – and more profitable as a result. Accessibility is a major aspect of usability.  And a site that’s usable by everyone will inevitably make you more money. That’s just one of the things we talked about with Joe Dolson in the next webinar in our series on accessibility for the Cloudways Mavericks program.

    Great UX & Business Growth with Accessible WordPress Websites with Joe Dolson will broadcast next week, on Tuesday 27 July at 5pm CEST. As usual, you can catch it on Facebook, on the Cloudways YouTube Channel and on LinkedIn. This will be particularly interesting to you if you are a WordPress user, as Joe is a WordPress core committer who’s been contributing to the project since 2004. Watch also (but not only) to find out what’s new in WordPress 5.8, an update that just dropped last Tuesday 20 July. 

    Shiny new tool alert

    Last week I told you about captions, and how important they are for accessibility, SEO, conversions, and more.

    As a reminder, captions are:

    ✅ a legal requirement

    ✅ an ethical and moral requirement

    ✅ an incentive to watch

    ✅ a boost to engagement

    ✅ a boost to SEO

    ✅ and more.

    In my last email, I showed you how to create caption files easily, quickly and cheaply using Otter.ai.

    With this method you need to upload your video to Vimeo or YouTube or Wistia and then upload your caption file. Which is fine, but as we all know, most platforms prefer native videos to external links.

    So the other option is to burn your captions directly onto the video file. But how? Even with a lower-end video program such as iMovie, burning captions is fiendishly difficult – ridiculously so.

    Enter the beautifully simple Veed.io.

    This online tool should get an award for the smooth, frictionless UX of its dashboard (maybe it has already?). It’s a breeze and a joy to upload captions and even edit the style of the strip. Wonderful usability. I am agog at the ease of use of this tool.

    Veed also offers a whole host of other tools which I shall be exploring in the weeks to come. It even offers a transcription service! So you don’t have any excuses left, you can get everything done in the same place.

    Video editing software is usually hard to use, especially for those of us who are not video pros – even iMovie has a steep learning curve in my opinion, although ostensibly it was conceived for home use by amateurs.

    So Veed.io is extremely welcome. And it’s a London startup, too! What’s not to love!

    Accessible Websites Benefit Everyone

    WordFest is a fantastic 24-hour conference covering all continents. So wherever you live, you’ll wake up to a talk. I’m currently playing catch-up with the Australia and Asia sessions.

    And of course I made sure to watch Christina Workman’s great talk on how Accessible Websites Benefit Everyone: this is specifically for the “blind people don’t visit my websites” brigade, of which I’m sure you don’t form part.

    However, whether you’re already committed to accessibility or not, this talk will give you great ammunition – or perhaps a better term could be “persuasion points” – in case you come across a colleague, boss, or client who still don’t think accessibility is a requirement for their sites. Highly recommended watching! You’ll have to register but it’s entirely free as well as totally worth it.

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    By Piccia Neri.

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