Getting to the third user

The scene: some developers are observing their first usability test on some software they have built.

The first users walks in and completely misses the seemingly obvious cues in the user interface. The button the user needs to click might well be big and red and flashing with a marching ants border, but they just don’t see it.

“Dumb user” everybody thinks.

The second user walks in and also ends up hopelessly lost.

“Two stupid users in a row … what are the odds?”

The third user walks in. Same story.

At this point, the smart developers in the room are, hopefully, slapping their foreheads and thinking “how could we have been so stupid”.

The key here is getting to the third user.

Otherwise you haven’t really learnt anything.

BONUS LINK:

Anybody who has worked with me on UI design will be familiar with my sarcastic request for a marching ants border. I always assumed this was impossible in HTML, but apparently not …

How to add “marching ants” Photoshop selection style to your links

Argh!

2 thoughts on “Getting to the third user”

  1. Thanks Ben.

    Everything I know about usability testing I learnt from reading his book: “Don’t make me think”.

    I hadn’t seen those videos, but saw him speak in London where he used some of the same examples.

    Good stuff!

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