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Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
It's been known for years that usability testing can dramatically improve products. But with a typical price tag of $5,000 to $10,000 for a usability consultant to conduct each round of tests, it rarely happens.
In this how-to companion to "Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability," Steve Krug spells out an approach to usability testing that anyone can easily apply to their own web site, application, or other product. (As he said in "Don't Make Me Think," "It's not rocket surgery.")
In this new book, Steve explains how to:
Test any design, from a sketch on a napkin to a fully-functioning web site or applicationKeep your focus on finding the most important problems (because no one has the time or resources to fix them all)Fix the problems that you find, using his "The least you can do" approachBy paring the process of testing and fixing products down to its essentials (A morning a month, that's all we ask ), "Rocket Surgery" makes it realistic for teams to test early and often, catching problems while it's still easy to fix them. "Rocket Surgery Made Easy" adds demonstration videos to the proven mix of clear writing, before-and-after examples, witty illustrations, and practical advice that made "Don't Make Me Think" so popular.
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Having watched Jakob Nielsen run a usability test on stage at a conference over a decade ago, I had some familiarity with the basics of providing a task and trying to stay out of the way of the test participant. This book is the perfect how-to guide when you're ready to try it yourself. All you need is in the book including scripts for getting participants into the tasks and a great 20-minute example test recording video available at the related website.
To the author's point, there's plenty of work for usability experts who tackle enterprise-level projects and try to move the science forward. The method shared in this book is really helpful for smaller companies and budgets. It gets you the answers you need to make meaningful improvements that benefit users.
Steve Krug outlines all of the steps, from preparation to execution. He covers variations in the process, whether you are leading testing in the same room as the participant or by remote access. Steve also recommends online facilitation tools such as Go to Meeting and capture tools such as Camtasia.
Not only is this book a must-have; it’s a great read.
First he convinces you that usability testing is helpful and indispensable, then after having examined the reasons why there are so many resistances to doing it (among which the high cost!), he teaches you a simple way to do it, a methodology and how to reap the results.
One reads through this delightful book, very well illustrated by Mark Matcho, and says “this is common sense”, but as Horace Greeley famously stated “Common sense is very uncommon” and so must be highly treasured.
The basic philosophy is: would you ever buy something that you do not know how to handle? Probably no, but if you have built something you feel is great do you assume that others think it is great as well? Probably yes, but you have to check first. So the process of testing is an essential part of building something useful or at least usable.
Testing has to be made easy and repeatable, so suggestions are do it once a month, preferably on Thursday, recruit your users loosely (anyone can do from your neighbor to your officemate) and then grade them according to relative value, find the errors or bottlenecks, fix them as you can and start again, do it from afar if necessary. Remember always to document, document, document, if you can have a public (the impact of the testing raises) get it also by giving them something good to eat!
After the three hours (approximately) it will take you to read the book, you will not only have an idea of what to do in case you have built a website or an app, but also what you should do with whatever your field of work or play is.
Common sense I said, and a sense of humor, well : “A sense of humor is just common sense dancing” (William James). Read this book and enjoy it, just like its big brother!