The usability ‘guru’
I seem to be known as the usability or website guru at work. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and flattered, but importantly I’m slowly crafting a UX (user experience) culture within the office. The biggest problem I have, however, is I’m usually drafted in at a very late stage – usually just before it’s about to go live. I know I’m not alone here – especially in the corporate world – so I know it’s common.
A typical scenario -email transcript – might look like this:
Please could you run your checks over my designs? I need to send it back to the designers tomorrow so could I have your feedback as soon as possible please?
— the requester —
“..run your checks..” It’s quite comical, but at least I’m asked so I can’t complain. The trick is to embrace the request and respond (to the requester) in an interested manner.
My lo-fi heuristic evaluation (feedback)
I need to be sensitive to my clients needs. Instead of diving into full scale heuristic – strengths and weaknesses – evaluation, I start basic quick wins feedback they can take to their designers now (before it goes live). I start by printing the visual on an A4 piece of paper and attaching it on to an A3 piece. This gives me plenty around the artwork of space to add my comments, draw lines, speech bubbles, add post-it notes, and even attach cut-out printed Twitter feedback tweet (after I’ve internally posted). I ensure the artifact has lots of colour and activity – making it look interesting and appealing. Once the piece is littered with ‘constructive’ feedback I present it in person for a walk-through. I preferably go to the clients desk so that our walk-through is ‘on show’ for all to see.
I ensure the feedback piece is left with the client so that the UX legacy is left behind – for reference and reminder.
The early results speak for themselves. I’ve been receiving direct and indirect feedback on how it has helped and how they appreciate all the effort. Whilst I’ve not seen earlier requests for help yet, I’m confident that will change.