How do you know if your brochure is effective with the targeted audience? Usability research: explores how users interact with a product such as a brochure or website. Usability gathers information about: 1. Users’ background and expectations2. How users actually use the document3. How users react to the document Usability data is persuasive in convincing your client your design meets the clients needs.
Start by listing your objectives for the document: what you hope the document accomplishes (you’ll share these only with the client) • The brochure enables readers to understand and explain the PW major • The brochure illustrates the flexibility of the PW major • The brochure illustrates the flexibility of the PW degree • The brochure clearly explains the four possible tracks • The brochure is visually interesting connotes a modern tone • The brochure drives readers to the website • The brochure illustrates writing as a social activity • The brochure provides all the information the user expects • Visual cues encourage users to read the brochure in the anticipated order • Graphics engage the reader and create an emotional connection
Objectives are often too abstract for users to answer, so consider what you can ask the users that will allow you to determine whether the brochure meets each objective • determine whether the brochure meets the each objective by at least one of the following approaches: • understanding the users’ expectations for a brochure or for information about a major with background questions • observing the user interact with the brochure through directed tasks • Confirming the users’ reaction to the brochure with followup questions after the observation
Each of these approaches matches a part of a usability research process 1. Pre-observation questions • understanding the users’ expectations for a brochure or for information about a major with background questions:before you ask the participant to observe the brochure, ask a series of questions designed to illustrate that the user IS part of the targeted audience (student looking for a major) and what their expectations are for a brochure and major what is your major? are you looking for a new or second major?, what information would you need to know about a major to investigate it further?, would you ever pick up a brochure to learn about a major, what information would you expect to see in a brochure about a major?
Each of these approaches matches a part of a usability research process 2. Observations • observing the user interact with the brochure through directed tasksYou might ask the user to peruse the brochure the way they would if they picked it from a display AND/OR to perform a particular task (e.g., after they have read, ask them what are the four tracks or to explain in their own words a benefit of the professional writing major
Each of these approaches matches a part of a usability research process 3. Post-observation questions • Confirming the users’ reaction to the brochure with followup questions after the observation After you have observed the user interact with the brochure, ask questions about their reaction to the brochure, e.g.,:Tell me why you read the brochure in the order that you did, tell me what adjectives you think of related to PW now that you have read the brochure,Was there additional information you would like to see?How likely are you to visit the website to learn more about the major?
Take each objective and develop questions from each approach will help prove that the brochure meets that objective Objective:The brochure provides all the information the user expects and needs • Pre-observation question: what would you expect and want to see in a brochure about a major? • Task: user can answer any specific questions about the major’s core, tracks, or benefits • Post-observation question: what information, if anything, would you like to see added to the brochure to make it more useful
Take each objective and develop questions from each approach will help prove that the brochure meets that objective Objective: Visual cues encourage users to read the brochure in the anticipated order Pre-observation question: Observation or task: Post-observation question:
As you conduct your usability research: • Conduct the research in a public or comfortable location for you and the participant • Print two consent forms for each participant—have them sign both—one for you, one for them to keep (available on schedule) • Verbally ask pre and post observation question • You’ll get more and richer feedback • During observation, remind participants that you are evaluating the brochure, not them • During observation, take notes of what the participant is doing in three columns: panel | problem/comment | what prompted problem or comment
Recommendation report • Shows your decision process is based on good design principles and user needs and valid methodology • Provides opportunity to address user issues beyond immediate project • deCerteau and sidewalks • Open recommendation report guidelines on schedule