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Usability Testing Night with Steve Krug...

As a follow-on to our very popular event on Usability with Steve Krug, let's have a night where we conduct Usability tests on your own sites in almost a speed dating like format...

What is Usability?
Usability is a measure of the quality of a person’s experience in interacting with content or services. If you're designing and building websites and web applications, then you need to care about Usability. These days, Usability and User Experience are very crucial to success, and can mean the difference between making it or breaking it. I've seen so many sites that fail, only because they did not focus on Usability.

If your still not sure what a Usability test it, then watch this Demo Usability Test.

How it will work:
We will find 10 members that have sites needing to be usability tested. As an attendee - you will be a Test Participant and/or Test Observer for these sites. Each Test Owner will have their own station with a laptop and chairs. We will cycle you through each test station for 10-15 minutes each for the Usability test. Each attendee can evaluate and partake in as many tests as possible. At the end, we will do a debrief on a few of the sites highlighting what Usability issues were found.

This would be a fun filled, and invaluable experience for those wanting to learn more about usability and testing. Steve Krug will join us, and we will provide "High Quality Snacks" for all testers and participants.

Note:
To make this an effective learning event without it being too crowded, we will need to limit the number of attendees. Also we must ensure that those that RSVP will actually come and not change at the last minute. That is why we are charging atendees $5 for attending. We will use this money to offer food and drinks at the event.

Update:  To clarify, here are the roles we have defined for this event:

Site Owner: Someone whose site is being tested. This person will be facilitating the tests for their site.(Site Owners will be coordinated in advance.)

Test Participant: The person sitting at a computer and testing a site; the user.

Observer: The person who is watching the usability test.

We will contact the Site Owners by end of day Friday February 4th about testing their site.  Otherwise, those who are registered are welcome to be a participant or observer or both.

Agenda:
6:00 - 6:15 : Doors open, socializing
6:15 - 6:30 : Introductions
6:30 - 6:45 : Test Demo by Steve Krug
6:45 - 8:15 : Let the Testing Begin
8:15 - 9:30 : Highlights, "Now What?", Wrap up
9:30 - ???? : Beers somewhere?

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  • Joe B.

    For all the Steve Krug fans out there, check out this interview we did with him...it's a fun read: http://bit.ly/krugbphp

    July 6, 2011

  • Michael B.

    Just posted the video for this event here: http://goo.gl/uuxr6

    June 18, 2011

  • lars v.

    Terrific experience - we gained a lot of insight into the usability issues on our site, and learned a lot about the art & science of usability testing. Many thanks for putting this together!

    March 7, 2011

  • Chris R.

    Great meetup! It would probably help to have cheat sheets for conductors and testers, with tips on what should be said and done during the tests. I wasn't sure what to say sometimes, as a conductor. And the testers were sometimes very soft spoken, silent, or if they were speaking, they weren't always conveying what they were doing or what they were thinking.

    March 5, 2011

  • Eric S.

    This event was extremely well planned. Nice job Heather! The thought that went into assigning registrants cards that determined their roles in the testing process was really great. As always, the Microsoft NERD center was an excellent location for the event.
    I enjoyed both the participation and observation process, as each taught us something different. If I were to change one thing though, (since I hope we do this again), it would be to allow participants and observers to submit specific suggestions to the site owners. This would be different than identifying the top 3 problems - rather, it could help the site owners discover solutions they might not have otherwise thought of. To save time, each table could have a sign-up sheet that asks: "Have a suggestion for solving a problem with this site or simply to improve it? Enter your contact info or your suggestion below:" Then the owners can contact them or review the suggestion.

    March 3, 2011

  • Kelly H.

    This was an excellent idea and extremely well run! A lot of planning was done and it showed. The event was educational for all attending - site owners, observers, and participants. My one constructive criticism: maybe the notes sheets should have been attached to the observer chairs somehow, since it wasn't always clear for the new observers where to take notes and which participant # to use.

    March 3, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    If you didn't make it out to the event, come read up on what you missed - and if you did, please add your thoughts on this post: http://bit.ly/g2YGXh (write up by Above the Fold)

    March 3, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    I had high expectations and they were met! I was a static observer on a site with only 3 clickable links. I was skeptical we could fill 15 minutes of testing with a mere 3 links, however, we got really valuable information from the process. It proved to me that it is never too early to begin usability testing!

    March 3, 2011

  • Michael B.

    Just thought you all might like to know we took in $459.95 in payments for this event. We spent ALL of this on the high quality snacks, printing, and supplies. Boston PHP never takes a profit and will always remain free and open to all.

    Thanks for your support.

    March 2, 2011

  • Marina

    Loved it. Got a lot of great feedback on how to improve my site and learned how to conduct a proper usability test. I would definitely participate again in the future.

    March 2, 2011

  • Lois Aronson T.

    Excellent. We were one of the lucky ones who's website was tested. We learned a lot and already made some changes based on what we saw. As Steve suggested, we are ready to do this testing every month and we are comfortable that we know how to do it. Extremely well run and valuable information.

    March 2, 2011

  • Tom D.

    New religion: U Testing one morning per month, high quality snacks to entice stakeholders to observe = continuous improvement.

    Thank you Steve and Bost PHP !

    March 2, 2011

  • Mary B.

    The event was well organized and extremely valuable. Even though I’ve facilitated user tests in the past, I learned a lot and felt prepared as a site owner. Usability is essential and Steve Krug offers great tips on how to bring user testing into the organization. Buy his books! You’ll learn that delivering a positive user experience is the best way to increase revenue/differentiate from competition. To his point, you don’t have to break the bank to conduct user research because it doesn’t cost much to implement if you do it right.

    March 2, 2011

  • Michael B.

    This was an incredible and fun event for all...

    I want to thank Heather O'Neill who really worked tirelessly behind the scenes to plan and pull this event together. She did everything from organizing, assigning and tracking the homework for test owners, handling communication and registration, to providing the high quality snacks, etc. We could never have been able to achieve all this without her passion on Usability, and her thoughtful leadership and dedication to Boston PHP.

    I also want to thank Steve Krug, who continues to inspire us all on the importance of Usability Testing, and convincing us that it's quite easy to do. His two books on Usability are a required reading if your doing any web design and development. And finally I want to thank you - the test participants, test observers, and test owners for coming out and learning about Usability Testing with us. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. We also hope to make this a regular repeat event in the near future.

    March 2, 2011

  • Jeff T.

    I personally gained a lot from the event

    March 2, 2011

  • Tina L.

    It was a terrific meetup. As one of the site owners we got a lot out of it and it resulted in interesting discussions back at the company and we're definitely going to try to do our own usability testing in a month once we've fixed the big issues. It was also a lot of fun!

    March 2, 2011

  • Yamil S.

    I have always enjoyed attending BostonPHP sessions, but last night was incredible. I was really impressed at how well thought out the whole event was. It was a very complex endeavor and I was impressed by the planning and the execution. From the private pre-session for the site owners to the A/B system to alternate between being observers and participants. I am very pleased that I was "required" to be a participant after observing a couple of times, since I am the informal evangelist at my work I never had the need to be a participant. I found it a lot harder than I expected, and I am hoping it will help me be a better facilitator in the future.

    Thanks again to Steve, Michael, Heather, and all the others that plan and managed this event. I hope it gets repeated at least once a year.

    March 2, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    One of the best events I've been to in Boston. The meetup was fantastic.

    March 2, 2011

  • Jim S.

    Great job once again!! Steve provide some more great tips/techniques on how to move the Participant (what they were thinking) away from design to functionality using meaningful tasks to uncover user flaws in your website...And a special thanks to Heather, at Above the Fold for organizing the event!!

    March 2, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Very useful

    March 2, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    This was a fantastic workshop. Engaging, informative, well run, and fun! Having a chance to play the roles of both participant and observer was invaluable. You should absolutely run this workshop again for folks who didn't get a chance to attend. Steve Krug was approachable and led the exercises efficiently and with ease. His book, "Rocket Surgery Made Easy", is easy to follow, offers excellent tips, points out other areas to explore in usability and is really funny to boot! Overall, this was a very successful event!

    March 2, 2011

  • Jason H.

    Really good insight gathered here.

    March 2, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Stupendous!

    March 2, 2011

  • Stephen L.

    Putting Steve's usability test technique to practice was invaluable.

    March 2, 2011

  • Diverboston

    Fantastic event. Very well organized (thank you Heather and Michael) and Steve was great as usual.

    March 2, 2011

  • Kun-Tee C.

    Very insightful and very happy that I had the opportunity to see the process firsthand.

    March 2, 2011

  • Jared S.

    Overall an awesome event. Card system would have worked better if everyone were assigned specific tables roles for each of the revolutions. Many seemed confused or just want to a B table even if they were A, etc...

    I will definitely be putting much more time into usability testing as a result of this meetup. Thanks to all the organizers.

    March 2, 2011

  • Jen S.

    Terrific event. I'd like to see this offered as a regular event, in order to teach the web community just how vital it is to focus on usability, over any other criteria.

    Plus, I got to say hello to one of my personal web heroes, whose book I think I priceless ready for anyone working in web. I encourage every client I have to read it before we start work. If I could afford it (maybe I'll start pricing it into my proposals), I'd buy them one & insist they read it before they deliver word one of content.

    March 2, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    BostonPHP outdid itself on this one. Probably the most useful meetup I've been to so far. I went through hands-on usability testing 4 times, once as a participant and 3 times as observer. I'm now ready to carry out usability testing myself. As a bonus, Steve Krug gave practical real-world tips between tests.

    March 1, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    The meetup was invaluable. Kudos to everyone for organizing a top notch workshop. I suggest we repeat this, for members who did not make it the first time around.

    March 1, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unfortunately I cannot go as well. My apologies.

    March 1, 2011

  • Michael B.

    There is one spot that just opened up for this event. Email me directly and you will be in. First come first serve. Email me here:
    http://www.meetup.com/bostonphp/message/?recipientId=5046031

    March 1, 2011

  • Gene B.

    Spread the word about this event by letting your Linkedin network know you'll be attending! Details . . .

    http://events.linkedin.com/Usability-Testing-Night-Steve-Krug/pub/580025

    February 27, 2011

  • Kun-Tee C.

    Any last minute cancellation? I'd love to attend if someone opts out.

    February 26, 2011

  • Melina

    I'm all for it if a spot opens up too :)

    February 23, 2011

  • Andrew

    Count me in if a spot opens please!

    February 23, 2011

  • Michael B.

    @Tim,
    I turned off wait list option because of a bug in Meetup that still forces waitlisted people to pay the fee. If the waitlist grows too big, I would need to refund people which is something I wanted to avoid.

    This event is unlike any we have done before. It is a hands-on session, and we need to keep the attendee count low due ensure a quality event for all. Moving to a larger venue is interesting idea, however there is not enough time to do that.

    I do think more spots will open soon.

    February 16, 2011

  • Tim T.

    Hi Michael, Where can I find the waiting list? Also, if there is enough demand, do you foresee changing venues to accommodate more attendees? Thanks!

    February 16, 2011

  • Merlin C.

    Thanks for setting this up Michael. I was curious about the return policy for the waiting list too. Is this correct?

    February 11, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    It does prompt you to pay for the waiting list -- is that correct? It's fine if it is assuming refund, lol.

    February 11, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wow, so fast! Thanks!

    February 11, 2011

  • Michael B.

    @tonya,
    Good idea, I just enabled the waiting list.

    February 11, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Is there a waiting list for this if someone can't make it? Thanks!

    February 11, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    While on the subject of Usability, here's a great resource for UIs done right: http://littlebigdetails.com/
    Good UI examples explained - I think it's updated daily.

    February 5, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward to it. I too would like to see a similar session for mobile apps in the future.

    February 2, 2011

  • Michael B.

    RSVP is open - hurry!

    February 2, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm a usability U/X professional -- Senior Human Factors Engineer at the MITRE Corporation. I'd be happy to facilitate and/or to help people set up test scenarios for their sites.

    January 1, 2011

  • Michael B.

    Paper Prototyping... http://goo.gl/ZV9rZ

    December 29, 2010

  • Michael B.

    Would be great to do some Usability testing on a mobile app or site. Does anyone have any Mobile apps in development they want to be Usability tested?

    December 28, 2010

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