Inge and I are very proud that our book, “Remote Usability Testing: Actionable insights in user behavior across geographies and time zones”, made it to BookAuthority’s Best New Usability Books.

BookAuthority collects and ranks the best books in the world, and it is a great honor to get this kind of recognition. Thank you for all your support!

The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

Usability may be more important now than ever before with so many people around the world confined to their homes, thanks to the Coronavirus, and glued to their connected devices. The internet is the main means of communicating or getting news from outside of their homes. It is also a means of passing the time especially for those who cannot work from home.

Netflix and YouTube have reduced their streaming quality in Europe in order to reduce the strain on the networks. Everyone is on the internet, whether it is to work or to play. This is when the usability of your digital product might be mass tested. And you want to make sure that it meets your users’ expectations. Contrary to what in-person usability testing proponents may believe, ensuring good usability does not require in-person meetings or lab testing. You can run 100% remote usability studies and achieve just as insightful results.

A usability study can be run without anyone ever having to leave their home; neither the researcher nor the study sponsor and least of all the participants. The participants can complete the study at home and on their own devices. Connectivity and the internet have made it possible using software that allows the moderator to view and capture the participant’s screen, hear their audio input, and view their faces. Enhanced distribution and recording tools have also made it possible to target participants offline and receive high-fidelity user videos and feedback.

So don’t despair, read our book and let us know if you have questions. We’re happy to get you started on your new remote endeavors.

Inge De Bleecker and I had often talked about writing a handbook for running remote usability studies documenting all the tips and best practices we have learned over the years. The issue was actually finding the time to do it. The aim of our book was to write a reference we could use ourselves but also to create a guide for UX researchers who are new to this exciting field.

We know that remote usability testing is not the be-all and end-all of UX research, but we believe it has earned its place among the various tools, and in the right situations, it has provided our customers with valuable insights that have helped shape their products globally.

So I am happy to officially announce that our book, Remote Usability Testing, is now available on Amazon and Packt Publishing for purchase.

We can’t wait to hear what you think about it! Hopefully, you will be as convinced of the merits of Remote Usability Testing as we are after having read it. If not, do contact us and let’s discuss.

P.S. We are so honored and grateful for all the kind words from all of you who have already gotten (and loved) the book. If you haven’t – be sure to grab a copy here 😉

I was looking for train schedules and prices and trying out different connections. When I finally decided what I wanted the next day (purchasing a train ticket is definitely something you shouldn’t rush into; always sleep over it), I went back to the website and was amazed by a dropdown labelled “your recent searches” very conveniently listing the different connections  I had agonized over previously (from-to station, date and passengers) and now all I had to do was make one click instead of entering it all over again. Thumbs up for that. I would appreciate that on airline websites too (wistful).

I regularly receive emails from my bank informing me that I have received a new e-document from them:

 

Chère Cliente,

Nous vous informons que de nouveaux documents (signalés par le ) “Banque, Assurance” sont à votre disposition dans votre banque en ligne, dans la rubrique « E-Documents ».

 

The actual mail is about 10 times as long because it is followed by piles of disclaimers but it does not comprise the announced e-document.

 

What are my issues here?

The e-documents are only available on their website (which has a very unusual and non-intuitive login process. I will write about this separately) but I am reading the email on my smartphone and have the app installed on it too.

Remedy: unify these sections across app and website. The whole point of an app is being to access my banking information while on the go. You might say that I could use my phone to access the website but their website is not mobile-optimized.

 

I have two accounts with this bank and the mail does not tell me which one is concerned so after logging into the default account and checking whether the new e-document is there (which, as per Murphy’s law, it never is) I switch to the other account and voila, there it is.

Remedy: list the last digits of the account the mail refers to in the mail

 

The email does not give the slightest hint as to what the e-document is about. You have to login to the website, select the right account and then expand each category section which has an unread document in order to find out which the email refers to.

Remedy: add the document category to the email eg there is a new document in “Documents Administratifs”

Try buying a laptop on the French Dell website with a QWERTZ keyboard (the French keyboard is AZERTY) and with an English language operating system. It’s not possible. Dell assumes that if you buy a laptop in France, it is because you are French and want all things French.

But .. you can call their customer service and they can configure the laptop exactly as you want it (why not offer this service on your website too, then?). I will skip the part where the customer service representative first entered my order with a French keyboard and French operating system even though I had specifically stated what I wanted and that that was why I was calling instead of using the website and skip directly to where my order got flagged as fraud because I was using a German credit card while purchasing from the French Dell sales team.

So, the following scenario creates red flags at Dell: a European citizen living in France using a German credit card and purchasing an English language operating system.

To understand today’s whine about my banking app, you need to know that before making a transfer to a new beneficiary i.e. someone you have not previously transferred money to, you need to add the new beneficiary and then wait 48 hours.

 

The path to adding a new beneficiary is:

Open menu

Select “effectuer un virement” / “Create a new transfer”

Swipe through all existing beneficiaries

Select last item which is “Ajouter un beneficier” / Add a beneficiary

 

So, recapping, the process obliges me to first create the beneficiary and then wait 48 hours before I can create the transfer. But in order to add a new beneficiary, I need to take the path of creating a transfer even though I know I cannot create a transfer. How is this intuitive?

Remedy:

Add a direct menu item to create a new beneficiary

I like input prompts (or field labels inside the field) but I don’t like when the field labels are removed as a consequence. When you click into the field, the input prompt disappears and you have no visual indication anymore as to what you should be typing there. This is especially annoying in larger forms with many fields.

 

 

So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how T-Mobile solved this. The input prompt shrinks and is displayed above the input area. Ok, granted, when your form has 2 fields and it is a login form (i.e. username and password are those 2 fields) you might not need this but I’m still sold.