Monday, July 7, 2014

When fixing problems, always do the least you can do. (Steve Krug)

Geez, Steve.  Is this a call for me to surf the Internet instead of analyze those tapes?  Get a bagel instead of add up all my numbers?  Go home early even though I have a report-out first thing tomorrow?

Actually, I think Steve might really be onto something here.  If you’re like most usability engineers, you probably want to change the world.  Further, you’re more than likely to find every result from your test to be absolutely fascinating.  Finally, you’re also typically very good at seeing the big picture – at not just settling for the easy fix but trying to solve the underlining problem. 

Now, all that’s a good recipe for your basic usability engineer.  It might, however, also be a good recipe for creating an ineffective report – a report that includes way too much and tries too hard to fix way too many things. 

Here’s the thing …  It’s not just enough to run a test and write a report.  Our jobs really aren’t done until the problems that our tests uncover and our reports communicate are fixed.  But doing that is not something we can do on our own.  It’s usually somebody else who is doing that fixing. 

And those somebodies are human beings just like we are.  They may have other things they’d prefer to do, they may not totally agree with our suggestions, they may be super busy, they may not have the passion we have, they may be feeling a little lazy that day.  So, if we want to actually have our suggestion acted upon, why not make it a little easier for the person who is actually making the fix?  Yes, it would be nice to cure cancer and bring about world peace by totally redesigning the website from scratch, but if simply adding an FAQ to a page that’s six levels deep actually solves the problem we’ve uncovered, well, go for it! 

And that’s not even broaching the topic of how many new usability issues you may have introduced in your new, revolutionary, broad-ranging solution.  But that’s a topic for another post …

Steve “Don’t Make Me Think” Krug

No comments:

Post a Comment