Institutionalization of Usability: A Step-by-step Guide

Front Cover
Addison-Wesley Professional, 2004 - Computers - 276 pages
2 Reviews

"Some argue the big advances in our impact on design and usability will come from better methods. Some argue they will come from earlier involvement in the development process. The biggest impact, however, will come as more and more companies realize the benefits of user-centered design and embrace it. Eric offers a practical road map to get there."--Arnie Lund, Director of Design and Usability, Microsoft Corporation

"This book is a great how-to manual for people who want to bring the benefits of improved usability to their companies. It''s thorough yet still accessible for the smart businessperson. I''ve been working with user-centered design for almost 20 years and I found myself circling tips and tricks."--Harley Manning, Research Director, Forrester Research

"This book should be required reading for all executive champions of change. It does an excellent job in laying the foundation for incorporating usability engineering concepts and best practices into corporations. Business success in the new economy will greatly depend on instituting the changes in design methods and thinking that are so clearly and simply put forth in this very practical and useful book."--Ed Israelski, Program Manager--Human Factors, Abbott Laboratories

"For those of us who have evangelized usability for so many years, we finally have a book that offers meaningful insights that can only come from years of practical experience in the real world. Here is a wonderful guide for all who wish to make usability a ''way of life'' for their companies."--Felica Selenko, Principal Technical Staff Member, AT&T

"Dr. Schaffer''s mantra is that the main differentiator for companies of the future will be the ability to build practical, useful, usable, and satisfying applications and sites. This is a book that provides the road map necessary to allow your organization to achieve these goals." --Colin Hynes, Director of Site Usability, Staples, Inc.

"Eric''s methodology helped RBC Royal Bank''s online banking complete a new user interface, and provided a blueprint for making usable designs a routine part of our development process. The site became successful in making money, saving money, and increasing customer satisfaction--evidencing the effectiveness of his approach."--Carolyn Burke, Senior Manager, e-Commerce and Payments Strategy, RBC Royal Bank of Canada

"If you''re tasked with bringing usability to a large organization, this book is for you (and your boss). Informed by years of case studies and consulting experience, Eric provides the long view, clearly describing what to expect, what to avoid, and how to succeed in establishing user-centered principles at your company."--Pat Malecek, User Experience Manager, AVP, CUA, A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.

"Usability issues are a key challenge for user-interface development of increasingly complex products and services. This book provides much-needed insights to help managers achieve their key objectives and to develop more successful solutions."--Aaron Marcus, President, Aaron Marcus and Associates



At one time, computer hardware was the key differentiator in information technology--what gave an organization its competitive edge. Then, as hardware prices fell, software took center stage. Today, software has become a broadly shared commodity, and a new differentiator has emerged--usability. Applications, including Web sites, are usable if they are practical, useful, easy to work with, and satisfying. Usability is now the factor likeliest to give an organization a distinct advantage.

Institutionalization of Usability shows how to make user-centered design and development a routine practice within an enterprise. Other excellent books explain precisely how to make software usable; this book builds on that foundation, and focuses instead on how to get usability recognized and incorporated into an organization''s values and culture. Based on author Eric Schaffer''s extensive experience, the book provides a solid methodology for institutionalizing usability, guiding readers step by step with practical advice on topics like organizational change, milestones, toolsets, infrastructure, and staffing requirements needed to achieve fully mature usability engineering.

Learn how to:

  • Educate your organization about the importance of usability
  • Hire and coordinate usability staff and consultants
  • Plan the standards, design, and implementation phases
  • Retrofit a method that has added user-centered activities
  • Recruit participants for usability interviews and testing
  • Select the right staff and project to showcase--by timeline, user impact, and visibility
  • Evangelize, train and mentor staff, and support the community

Whether you are an executive leading the institutionalization process, a manager supporting the transition, or an engineer working on usability issues, Institutionalization of Usability will help you to build usability into your software practices.



 

What people are saying - Write a review

Very usable Book

User Review  - honestabe2 - Overstock.com

I had to learn the hard way before this book was published. Ive been a usability professional for 10 years and it is very difficult to sell usability in a company. It is viewed as a nice to have and ... Read full review

Contents

The Deep Changes
1
Changing the Feature Mindset
2
Changing the Technology Mindset
3
Changing Management Values
4
Changing the Process for Interface Design
6
Usability within Government
7
The StepbyStep Process for Institutionalizing Usability
8
The Startup Phase
9
Testing Facilities
119
Recording of Testing Sessions
122
Modeling Tools and Software
124
Data Gathering and Testing Techniques
126
The Special Needs of International Testing
128
The Bollywood Method
129
Recruiting Interview and Testing Participants
130
Interface Design Standards
135

The Setup Phase
10
The Organization Phase
11
The LongTerm Operations Phase
12
Startup
15
Wakeup Calls and Common Reactions
17
The Value of Usability
18
Reducing Design Cycles
19
Avoiding Building Unnecessary Functions
20
Increasing Sales
21
Avoiding Disasters
22
Types of Wakeup Calls
23
Train Wrecks
24
Executive Insights
25
Education and Training
26
Experiencing the Wakeup Call and Beginning a Usability Process
27
Usability Testing
28
Common Responses to Wakeup Calls
29
Relying on Good Intentions
30
Being an Advocate for the Process
31
Relying on Training
32
Hiring Usability Consultants
33
Seeing the Real Numbers Creates a Call to Action Too
35
The Executive Champion
37
The Role of the Executive Champion
38
Why Support from Senior Management Is Crucial
40
Deciding to Innovate
41
Making the Change
42
Educating the Executives
43
Keeping It Moving Long Term
45
Becoming a CXO
47
Selecting a Usability Consultant
49
Completeness of Solution
53
Domain Expertise
54
Methodology
55
Tools and Templates
56
Size and Stability
57
Corporate Cultural Match
58
Organizational Structure
60
Quality Control and Feedback
61
Ongoing Training for the Consultancys Staff
62
Setup
65
Strategy
67
What to Consider When Developing the Strategic Plan
69
A Proactive Organization
70
The Importance of Sequence
73
Reacting to Past Events
74
Targets of Opportunity
75
Slower Can Be Better
76
Phasing in Design Standards
77
Key Groups for Support or Resistance
78
Executive Support for Usability within ATT
79
Training
82
The Project Path
83
Training
85
Types of Training
86
Knowledge Training
88
Who Should Get Knowledge Training?
89
Skills Training
90
Who Should Get Skills Training?
92
Certification
93
A Typical Training Plan
94
Conferences
96
Methodology
97
What to Look for in a UserCentered Methodology
98
Integrating Usability into the Development Cycle
101
An Outline of The Schaffer Method
102
Know What the Organization Wants
104
Know What the Users Want
105
The Plan Standards Phase
106
The Plan Design and Implementation Phase
107
The Plan Evaluations Phase
108
AG Edwards Usability Process and Methodology
109
The Plan Localization Phase
110
The Challenges of Retrofitting a Development Life Cycle
111
Using Classic Methodologies
114
Tools Templates and Testing Facilities
117
Introduction to Your Toolkit
118
What Is an Interface Design Standard?
136
Screen Design Templates
137
Other Contents of a Design Standard
140
The Value of Design Standards
143
The Process and Cost of Developing Standards
145
Disseminating Supporting and Enforcing Standards
146
Showcase Projects
151
The Value of a Showcase Project
152
Selecting the Right Staff and Project
155
The Right Staff
156
Expectations
160
Organization
163
Organizational Structure
165
Organizational Structures for Usability Teams
168
Centralized Structure
170
Being on a Projects
171
Placement within Quality Assurance
172
Placement within Marketing
173
Placement under a CXO
176
Escalation of Problems
177
Graphic Artists Writers and Other UsabilityOriented Staff
178
Staffing
179
The Chief User Experience Executive
180
The Central Usability Organization Manager
182
The Internal Consultant
184
The Specialist
186
The Researcher
189
The Usability Manager and Practitioners
190
The Creative Director and the Graphic Designer
192
Outside Consultants
194
The Social Security Administrations Usability Team
195
What to Look for When Hiring
196
Usability Skills for a General Practitioner
197
Education
200
Experience
201
Usability Background That Includes Design
202
Specialist vs Generalist
203
Real Skills and Knowledge
204
Interpersonal Skills and Level of Expertise
205
An Offshore Model
206
The Limits of Offshore Usability
209
Projects
211
Doing It Right
212
Managing by Project Importance
213
Who Will Do the Usability Work?
214
Different Strategies for Practitioner Involvement
215
Working Smart
217
Efficient Project Planning
219
Estimating Usability Work
220
LongTerm Operations
223
Activities of the Established Usability Group
225
Maintaining Respect and Negotiating Effectively
226
The Value of a ResearchBased Approach to Usability
228
Roadblocks in the Path to Good UsabilityThe IT Department
229
Maintaining Momentum
230
The Role of the Central Usability Team
231
Training
233
Mentoring
234
Supporting Standards
235
Advocating Usability through a Strong Sense of Community
236
Supporting the Community
237
Performing Usability Testing
238
Focusing on Metrics
239
Having Responsibility
241
Reporting to Executives
242
My Nine Principles to Keep Institutionalization Motivated
243
The Future
247
Symptoms of Leaping the Chasm
248
Usability Trends
249
Maturity
250
Your Organizations Maturity
251
Managed Usability
252
A Vision of the Future of Usability
253
Appendix
255
References
259
Index
263
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2004)

Eric Schaffer, Ph.d., is the founder and CEO of Human Factors International, Inc., the world's largest company specializing in usability engineering. For more than twenty-five years, Eric has helped Fortune 500 companies apply user-centered design in such industries as telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing, software development, and medical equipment. Previously, he worked on usability issues at AT&T and Bell Labs.



Bibliographic information