Design Thinking – Paper Prototypes

This is a nice video on quick paper prototyping for design thinking.

A great way to present the concept, idea for your stakeholders. It applies to almost all type of domains. Not only web or mobile but even content creation and presentation designs too.


Usability Feedback Tools

Usability & Feedback Tools

1. Silverback (free for 30 days then $49.95)


Before Silverback, people used to film user reactions to their sites with camcorders during testing, a slow an arduous process involving hours of video editing, not to mention intimidation of test subjects. Silverback, a fantastic app for Mac OSX (with iSight or equivalent) lets you film how a user responds to your site and track their clicks too. You can set chapter markers in the video, when something interesting happens, simply by pressing the “+” button on the Apple remote. Continue reading

Site Visits

Site visit materials

The requirements for conducting site visits are simple. I consider the minimum requirement to be a pen and clipboard (some people might add a tape recorder to this basic list).

 However, a little additional paperwork will make the process of conducting site visits much easier.

The following is a list of materials that we use.


Scheduling is invariably a time-consuming and frustrating process, and it is easy to underestimate the amount of effort required. Some organisations contact the people they want to visit and ask them to nominate suitable times. We prefer to specify time-slots, and then ask people to choose the one that suits them best.

It is important to communicate the value of the activity to the people you want to visit, and the purpose and nature of the activity. We use a script when recruiting. We also follow up with an email confirming what was stated in the script.

Interviewer guidelines

We often have clients or others accompany the person conducting the site visits, and to ensure that they are aware of the ground rules we have them read a copy of the interviewer guidelines prior to the visits.


Reading a formal script to each participant ensures that all participants receive the same information, although it may feel a little awkward.

Writing usability reports

Usability activities can be ineffective if findings, implications and recommendations are not communicated clearly.




Good preparation is important. You should have a clearly articulated purpose for any usability activity. This also defines the purpose and content of the resulting report. Gather as much information as you can during the usability activity. It is easy to discard useless information, but extremely difficult to recreate or recall data you have failed to gather.


Know your audience

It is necessary to have a good understanding of who will read the report, and why. Most reports have more than one audience. For example, developers may read the report in detail, whereas management may read only summary pages.

Develop a Table of Contents

After you have gathered your data, write a detailed table of contents. Then make a ‘shell’ document based on this table of contents. It is quite normal to need to change the table of contents as you write, although radical changes may mean that the initial table of contents was not sufficiently well planned. Continue reading

Affinity Digramming

Affinity Diagramming is a very simple but powerful technique for grouping and understanding information.

In particular, affinity diagramming provides a good way to identify and analyze issues. There are several variations of the technique.

When is affinity diagramming appropriate?

Use affinity diagramming in a workshop environment when you want participants to work together identifying, grouping and discussing issues.

You can also use affinity diagramming when you have a large amount of information – for example, at the end of a contextual enquiry, when you may have hundreds or even thousands of individual notes. Continue reading

Announcing Usability Central

The place where you will find all the Usability related stuff.

It is good to design usable interfaces and applications, but how do you know if you are following the principles or what should be the ideal one and many such questions which keeps on rising can now be addresed through this site. Just browse casually to find out what all is there in UC and am sure you will be amazed. A host of topics have been compiled and ready for reference is available to you just on a click of mouse. Apart from these you will find certain handbooks also which have been written by famous usability professionals like Dr Eric Schauffer & Jacob Neilson.


 The famous Web Style Guide is also available. The Web Style Guide site houses an unabridged, online version of the third edition of Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites, by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton. You’ll find the complete text and illustrations from the printed book here.

 Everything you always wanted to know about Information Architecture and Card Sorting techniques. Sample files and templates and a shareware for card sorting technique to make the entire process simpler.

A special User Centered Design(UCD) process toolkit. This toolkit offers an overview of the methods and techniques which can be used throughout the user-centered design process.

Visit Usability Central Now….and explore the standards and solutions for yourself.