Thoughts On The Presentations For UR4

I think everyone’s done an incredible job on the presentation for UR4. Every group stayed in the time limit and offered a great insight of what they’ve done with the assignments.

I’m seriously impressed with some of the new ideas that some of the group had in their usability testing. Some group mentioned that they recorded the number of clicks and the path participants took to find what they believe is the correct information. We’ve thought about doing that, but we didn’t want to go through the trouble of having to watch the screen capture video to get that information. It’s nice to know that there are some software out there that does that. And one group came up with the idea of “error”. Although it was still not clear to me how they define it. But I can see their effort in trying to explain and analyze their observation.

Our group on the other hand took an rather academic approach. We did tons of research of what’s out there on the internet and tried to find the safest and most reliable way to do so. One may say that we’re being lazy. But that means you’re calling the thousands of people who used the same method before us are lazy too. We as a group are proud of what we threw together as a team in the time given. And I’m so proud of all the group members for putting so much effort into it until the very last moment.


Qualitative Research Versus Quantitative Research

Differences between qualitative research and quantitative research:

Purpose: To understand & interpret social interactions (Qual) To test hypotheses, look at cause & effect, & make predictions (Quan)

Sample selection:  Smaller & not randomly selected (Qual) Larger & randomly selected (Quan)

Scientific Method: Exploratory or bottom-up: researcher generates a new hypothesis and theory from the data collected (Qual) Confirmatory or top-down: the researcher tests the hypothesis and theory with the data (Quan)

Results:  Particular or specialized findings that is less generalizable (Qual) Generalizable findings that can be applied to other populations.

More details can be found in here.

I think these two methods are both solid way of doing research. They both have their merits and limitations. Sometimes the choice comes down to the resources that you have and your research intention. If I don’t have a the ability to recruit more than 10 people to participate, quantitative research is obviously not the optimal choice to my situation. And if I want to prove the assumption that college students prefer pepsi over coke, qualitative research can’t be a reliable resources for that. And if I want to find out what’s favorite choice of beverage for college students and why they like it, the two can play together seamlessly.


A summary of why UX book sucks and why I hated it



1. Keyword definition on the side margin of the page

Most books put keyword definition in a colored box  before the appearance of the keyword, so the reader won’t feel clueless or puzzled when they first see the keyword. However, the UX book puts them on the side margin parallel to the keyword. Side margins are usually reserved for the reader to take notes. It’s unexpected to find important information here.

2. Preface is way too long

The preface for this book is way too long. And it looks too much like a regular chapter with subsections and bullet points. This actually makes finding the table of contents harder than usual, because it’s expected to have the table of contents in the first few pages.

3. Inserting articles looking like research papers in the middle of the chapter

Sometimes I found myself in those light blue pages, which I assume are research articles written by other people. Sometimes I don’t even know what these pages are. I’m not gonna argue whether they fit in the chapter (sometimes they are not). I just think that these articles should be made available in references or resources at the end of each chapter. Readers can have the choose to either dig in deeper to the materials by searching for and reading these articles or not. It should not be forced on to every reader. Moreover, having those articles in between subsections breaks the continuity of the contents. If you read the book in a linear fashion, it’s hard to recall what’s in the last section after finishing the article.

4. Division and naming of sub-section and sections of each chapter doesn’t not always makes sense.

For example, in chapter 16 and 17. Analysis of quantitative data and reporting them, which is closely after the first one , are divided to fit in two chapters. So the reader has to recall the information of chapter 16 in order to understand what’s going on in chapter 17.

Also for the titles of sections in chapter 16 and 17, we see the word “formative” and “qualitative” used interchangeably. But this doesn’t not justify names such as “Formative (qualitative) data analysis”, “Reporting qualitative formative results”, “formative reporting content” appearing at the same time. The inconsistency in using that term is causing confusion.

Moreover for the example of chapter 16 and 17, shouldn’t “formative reporting content”, “formative repairing audience, needs, goals, and context of use” be a sub-section of “reporting qualitative formative results”. This happens very often throughout the book. The naming of sub-section is actually worse. Most subsections should definitely not be under the same section title. This has happened in every chapter I read throughout the semester. And this is the most unbearable issue I have with this book.

To sum up this problem, the reader should be able to look at the table of content and know what to expect in each subsection of a chapter without actually reading them. There should be a clear logical thread going on in titles. If not, then some of the contents are probably not belong there.

5. The book goes into so much detail into things that we couldn’t care less.

Some of the suggestions are just an insult to the reader’s ability to make sensible decisions and come up with valid ideas. We have not signed the right for the author to point finger in everything that we do in UX by purchasing the book. And I certainly don’t agree that the way the author promotes is the best way of doing it or what it seems the only way to do it in the reading.

6. Hard to distinguish between section titles, sub-section titles, and bullet points.

Section titles, sub-section titles, and bullet points all look the same to me. I noticed that some of them are bold and upper case, and some of them are italic, but the differences are too subtle. I expect large differences in font size or even color.