Usability for anything, anywhere, anytime.

Research Category

Quick iPhone Video Tip

January 19th, 2012, Posted by Mark Sloan

We like to keep our video set up quick and light for user interviews, so we often use an iPhone 4s for recording. What many people forget is that the headphone jack is also a microphone jack. You can use the headphones with the built-in microphone to record cleaner audio, or use a three-stripe adapter like the iLuv Remote Adapter» to allow any audio device to become the input. We use this setup to get wireless audio from our old Samson UHF Micro 32», or use the headphone out jack on our Samson G Track» for cleaner audio into our videos with no extra adapters or cords. The third stripe is what controls the remote and microphone on the iPhone apparently.

Our Methodology

December 13th, 2011, Posted by Mark Sloan

We intentionally do not call it a process as we believe adaptability is core to successful projects. We design for a wide breadth of project types, each with their own goals, but our approach always remain the same. We focus on making sure that whatever the case, we create satisfyingefficient, effective, and desirable (SEED) designs. These are all measurable and should be tested because without a way to track if we are actually improving things, how will we know for sure we are doing our job? Here is how we define these terms:

satisfying: self-reported; what users think rather than actual results

efficient: the ability to accomplish tasks quickly

effective: a high rate of success and learnability

desirable: meets self-reported needs and wants of users; some of these may be brand and content focused

Our methodology is structured to ensure that any project will be successful, regardless of platform, target audience, or industry. Essentially, we model our practice on the scientific method, simplifying to only three broad stages: Research, Design, and Test, so our services mirror these three stages as well. These are utilized at both a high and low level, meaning for traditional architecture, design and implementation phases, we still continue to research, design and test, but the execution of these methods are very different given the outputs. (more…)

Recent Reads

December 13th, 2011, Posted by Mark Sloan

A recent issue of Cognitive Psychology journal (Volume 63, Issue 3, November 2011) discusses metacognition, intuition and reasoning in an article by Thompson, Turner, and Pennycook. What really jumped out at me was the concept of “Feeling of Rightness” (“FOR”), a way of trying to self-evaluate intuition. Many times on projects team members argue over ideas and often reach an impasse. The last thing we want is for the loudest, or most pushy person to always win. We are now trying to assign our own value of FOR to help us resolve these conflicts in a less inflammatory manner. We will let you know how it goes.

I also recently picked up the seminal work Semiology of Graphics by Jacques Bertin. One of my all time favorite UX Design books, Designing Visual Interfaces by Mullet and Sano references this book often so I finally got it and am glad I did. If you are interested in the core principles behind information graphics, then pick it up, it is an excellent reference if nothing else.