Week 15 @ KSU's UXD Program - Intro to Usability
I've known for a long time in my career of how important it is to observe end users in practical situations, typically butting heads with my managers to allow me to do this. Being a Business Systems Analyst, not a UX professional, made this difficult. But after this week's assignment, I understand how to argue for the justification which is something I have never done before. More importantly I learned how to properly determine the right amount of participants depending on your team's development cycle or methodology.
Before this class, I would have recommended to observe "as many people as possible" (my heart was in the right place) but now I know that 5 participants will capture 80% of your design flaws for any given task or module and 10 participants will cover close upwards of 95% of the flaws. The biggest breakthrough for me though was the idea of testing early and often. Obviously you catch problems early on that reduce costs later, but what I liked most about this plan was that (1) it focuses the developers on designing for users and (2) prevents the developers from being hit with dozens of problems that have been discovered just before delivery.