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Hi folks,

I like to post a query in this section.

What are the tools used for usability analysis (as a usability analyst) or the tools an Information Architecture use.

I guess an Information architectures job stands above all, that is above usability engineer or usability analysis. That was the another doubt, but mainly I wanted to know about the tools they use.

Do they use this tools before the actual design, before the first prototpye(wireframe) come into action.

I was told they use this tools after requirement analysis and before the prototyping phase(???)

I heard about a tool xenu. :ph34r:

 

Vicky :flowers:

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The main thing used in usability testing is users. Sometimes lots of genuine users with a variety of backgrounds and experience levels to match the cross-section of people you believe will use the site. Other times it is just a few people with 'user personas' in their mind, so that they attempt to 'act out' certain tasks as if they were different types of real users.

 

The Xenu tool is not a usability tool. It can help somewhat with accessibility, but it is really more a tool for finding broken links, and fixing that is simply basic web design.

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What would be a usability tool? A program that would imitate human behavior?

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Eyetracking software and hardware, keyloggers, video cameras, etc. Stuff to measure what the humans are doing, how long, and so guage how efficiently.

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Ah alright, I didn't know that usability was using such tools...

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so the usability testing guy and usabiliyt analyst have the same role to do more or less.

What about the Information Architect??

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Information Architecture is about structuring the data you wish to present on the site. In essence, it's about building the blueprints for the sitemap and determining how navigation and content will be grouped.

 

I'm not aware of any great tools for this - I typically just use a written flow chart.

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Randfish uses flowcharts. That is good!

Edited by vicky123

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I vote for the shopping cart dance. :)

 

The other night at my knitting group one of the members let go a whoop and did "the shopping cart dance." She claimed there really is a dance called the shopping cart - no guarantees on that, because I have no clue and she has a deadpan sense of humor.

 

Then I got a look at what she was doing on her laptop. I asked what she liked about the site, and three people instantly pitched in about good prices, followed quickly by how easy it is to find what they want, plan a project, see what's what in the shopping cart and call the 800 for polite and knowledgeable help. Policies, fees, colors and textures of yarn and information needed to figure out a project were very easy to find. No hunt and peck. As a bonus, a fourth person, a repeat customer, said she waited four weeks for her last order. Not their favorite thing, but not enough of a problem to stop anyone. They trusted the site and the business behind it.

 

Hello, usability reminders.

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Information Architecture: after requirements, before prototyping. As someone said 'blue printing'. DENIM is a good tool to help visualise your IA layout. A nice -in between- from requirements to prototyping.

 

Usability Analysis. I know I tend to take some shortcuts on this. I do not have the luxury of being able to get real users to see the products I work on before they're released (although we I do have some good feedback from out testers and systems integration) But.. the biggest return with minimum effort is well defined requirements along with task analysis / use cases and persona walk throughs.

 

I personally consider any document that helps define a product a 'tool' that can be used to qualify the product at the end of development. While its never a great idea to use the same tools for testing as you did for building (a flaw in one will lead to a flaw not being caught in the other) one makes do with what one has to hand.

 

Always measure twice and cut once.

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Human Factors, usability, persuasive architecture, captology (using computers to change or influence people and behavior) and user testing all rely on tools to make their jobs accurate, esp. when measuring data.

 

Eye tracking software

Remote testing software, such as Morae (See Tech Smith for that and other related tools)

 

Run a search for "remote testing" and you'll see many others.

 

IBM has many tools, online and for free for accessbility testing. There are toolbars for browsers to enable the ability to do accessibility and web standards testing.

 

Vidio camers, tape recorders, notebook paper (with a task written on it, no instructions on how to do it), and computers are tools.

 

All traffic analysis software, such as Clicktracks, are tools used in usability testing. These show traffic patterns, web page abandonment, how well a landing page is performing and much more.

 

Surveys are used a lot, as well as focus groups (there is disagreement on useful focus groups are for usability but marketing folks love them.)

 

For surveys, skills in creating them so that the answers bring back reliable, accurate data are needed. Ratings are interpreted into values and from that, conclusions are drawn.

 

Screen readers are also tools and can be used by SEO's as well to understand what their code is doing to pages that make them unusable for humans.

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Tx kim and ablereach.

The first link provided by ablereach is excellent and got a good set of tools to get my things checked...In particular the accessibility toolbar, uitest.com. I will go through the other resources from this site too.

will continue this thread as I couldn't wait to say thnks.

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I won't tell you how many hours I spent on the IBM site yesterday. I'd not poked around in there before, and would not have thought to look without Kim's heads-up.

 

:)

 

Elizabeth

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For accessibility testing, this little tool is fun to play with. I like it because it simulates what the end user might experience under certain conditions.

 

aDesigner

 

We had wanted the new homepage for these forums to be accessible. The tool gives the page this score:

 

evaluation score

Compliance 98

Listenability 95

Navigability 96

 

It's a nice little find from IBM, that my accessiblity mentor, Matt Bailey, got me hooked on.

 

Matt's Accessibility Blog

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On a much more basic, first steps level this is a nice write-up:

 

Evaluating Web Sites for Accessibility with Firefox

 

There is of course a difference between accessibility and usability but it seems to me you can hardly have the former without the latter :)

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