Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Usability Testing???

So, first off, I think it's really important to say that I am not a Usability testing expert... I know what I like and what I don't like and I've most definitely filed bugs whenever I perceive enhancements to usability and to the customer experience can be made. But an expert? That I am not!

However, I came across the following today and I wanted to share it because it is interesting.

Jeff Johnson, UI Wizards, defines the following as facts about human perception and cognition that should be the psychological basics for user interface design:

- We perceive what we expect.
- Our vision is optimized to see structure.
- Our colour vision is limited.
- Our peripheral vision is poor.
- Our attention is limited.
- Our memory is imperfect.
- Recognition is easy.
- Recall is hard.
- We think mostly about our tasks, not our tools.
- We seek and use structure.
- Inductive reasoning is easy.
- Deduction and calculation are hard.
- Human thought-cycle: form goal -> execute actions -> evaluate -> repeat.
- Thought-cycle affects short term memory.
- We have real-time requirements.

In all my testing, I've never thought about the psychological foundation/reasoning which determines whether a piece of software is intuitive and easy to use.

I wonder do developers? Is this covered somewhere in software development classes or books?

Do you use this as an input to your testing? Let me know, I'm interested to hear from other's experiences and I can't wait to start testing which these in mind!


  1. Hi Sarah,

    Interesting post. I'm not a usability expert either (I'm an internet marketer) but I have read much on usability lately and there are books out there that go into great detail on usability and take psychology/human nature into account. Here is a blog post I enjoyed that covers Top 30 Usability Concepts

    Also, you may like this article from Website Magazine that reviews usability tools

    I am affiliated with but the article covers several others.


  2. Thanks Amanda for the links! I'll read these over the weekend.

    You're my first comment, which is very cool!

    Thank you,