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  • Author: Deborah J. Mayhew, PhD
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Designing for Productivity in the User eXperience

Scroll down to enroll. This course is course number D15.2 from a comprehensive online curriculum on User eXperience (UX) currently under development by top experts in the field through The Online User eXperience Institute (OUXI). COURSE CONTENT This is an in-depth course on a particular aspect of designing for the User eXperience. Overall user experience with software applications and websites is impacted by five key qualities of their user interface: · Utility (is the content/functionality useful to intended users?) · Usability (is it easy to learn and accomplish tasks?) · Graphic Design (is the visual design aesthetically pleasing?) · Persuasiveness (are desired actions supported and motivated?) · Functional Integrity (does it work smoothly without bugs or crashes?) The usability of a user interface can be further subdivided into two separate qualities: · Ease-of-learning (is it easy to learn how to accomplish tasks?) · Ease-of-use (can tasks be accomplished quickly and easily once learned?) The terms ease-of-learning and ease-of-use are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. In fact, they often come into direct conflict with one another in user interface design. That is, a user interface that feels easy-to-learn to novices may soon come to feel tedious and inefficient as they gain expertise, especially if they are high frequency users. Similarly, a user interface with a steep learning curve may eventually come to feel powerful, flexible and highly efficient once a user is trained and using it frequently. Ease-of-learning is usually more important to novice, casual or intermittent users. Ease-of-use is usually more important to trained, high frequency, expert users. However, even casual, intermittent users, such as users of public websites, will notice – and be frustrated with - designs that limit their efficiency in obvious ways. Two overall topics are covered in this course: · Efficiency design guidelines · Efficiency evaluation techniques The course is a very concrete, "how-to" course. Both the design guidelines offered and the evaluation techniques taught have been researched, validated and refined by the User eXperience discipline over the past 30 years. The subset of 24 design guidelines for efficiency offered in this course were selected from the full body of knowledge on software and website usability to be: · Universal (i.e., applicable to most if not all applications and websites) · Easy to explain · Commonly violated · High impact (on user productivity) · Easy to implement They thus represent the "low-hanging fruit" in designing for software and website user efficiency. The rationale for each guideline is explained, and clear examples are offered to enhance understanding. Just as with code, usability design guidelines will only take you so far. In addition, you need evaluation techniques to assess designs for efficiency to insure an application or website will meet its business goals at launch. Earlier design changes are always easier and cheaper than late design changes. The three evaluation techniques taught in this course are: · Efficiency heuristic evaluations · Keystroke level modeling · Efficiency studies These different techniques can be used at different points in the design and development process to exploit opportunities to improve efficiency in the user interface design when it is most cost effective to do so. Learning the evaluation techniques also helps deepen the understanding of the design guidelines. COURSE FORMAT The course format is a PowerPoint presentation accompanied by a studio-recorded video of the instructor. The course includes a little over three hours of video (broken into short lectures) with PowerPoint slides, and roughly 1.5 - 2 hours of optional hands-on exercises, for which sample solutions are provided. Downloadable course materials include: · A set of general instructions for getting the most out of courses · The full PowerPoint presentation (in two formats - full slides, and two slides per page) · Live, Excel-based templates (used in exercises, and which you can also use as you apply your new skills on real development projects) · A handy guidelines checklist (for quick reference during design and evaluation tasks on the job) Please feel free to contact the instructor with any questions about this course at Dr. Mayhew is also available for coaching/mentoring to people who have completed this course and are putting their new skills to work on real projects. Inquire at: .

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Web Usability Made Simple

Scroll down to enroll. D15 from a comprehensive curriculum on User eXperience (UX) currently under development at The Online User eXperience Institute (OUXI). This course is one of a track of courses aimed at small web business owners, students and developers/designers with little or no prior training in software/web usability. Before you attend this course, we recommend that you take the free, 30 minute course called "Introduction to Web and eCommerce User eXperience Design". As well as providing a high level overview for this and other related courses from the same OUXI curriculum training track, it will explain how the small fees you invest in these courses could pay off in thousands of dollars in increased revenues from your ecommerce website. COURSE DESCRIPTION This course addresses one of three key aspects of the User eXperience of eCommerce and other websites: usability (other courses in the OUXI curriculum will address designing for persuasion and graphic design). The course is very concrete, a "how-to" course offering clear, actionable guidelines and hands-on exercises. These website usability guidelines are not based on subjective opinion - they have all been well established by rigorous, published research from disciplines such as cognitive science and computer-human interaction. Each guideline is fully explained and generously illustrated with many examples from real websites. The 34 design guidelines offered were selected from the full body of knowledge on web usability to be: universal (i.e., applicable to any and all websites), easy to explain, commonly violated, high impact, and easy to implement. They represent the "low-hanging fruit" in designing for web usability. With nothing beyond these 34 key guidelines, anyone should be able to realize major improvements in the usability of their website, which will contribute measurably to the success of the site in meeting its business goals. COURSE FORMAT The course format is a Powerpoint presentation accompanied by a studio-recorded video lecture, broken up into chapters and lectures. Downloadable course materials include the full Powerpoint presentation in two formats - full slides, and two slides per page - and an actionable, Excel-based guidelines checklist that can be used as you apply your new skills to real web projects. The course includes about 3 hours of lecture, and roughly 1.5 - 2 hours of hands-on exercises. Both quick (a couple of minutes) and more comprehensive (roughly 45 minutes) optional hands-on exercises, followed by sample exercise solutions, help reinforce your understanding of the guidelines.

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Introduction to Web and eCommerce User eXperience Design

Scroll down to enroll. This free, 30-minute course provides an introduction and overview to a track of related courses being developed by The Online User eXperience Institute (OUXI), aimed at the small web business owner and other web designers and developers with little or no prior training in web user experience design. It provides the main foundational points you need to know before taking any of those courses, and they are not repeated in those courses, so please start here. The concepts taught in this course are expanded upon by other courses in this OUXI curriculum track. The small fee you invest in these other courses could pay off in thousands of dollars in increased revenues from your ecommerce web site. This course explains how. In particular, this course provides an overview of the key elements of the design of a web user interface that will impact the user experience: usability, persuasion and graphic design. It illustrates these elements with concrete examples from real websites. The course also explains why and how the quality of the user experience will directly impact the bottom-line of eCommerce web sites. The mission of OUXI is to provide: · A broad and comprehensive curriculum of training in designing for the User eXperience · Consisting of engaging and interactive multimedia courses · Taught by a consortium of top experts in industry and academia · Affordable and available · To anyone, any time, anywhere in the world · Via the World Wide Web The Institute will thus serve as a universal portal to the current collective knowledge in the field of designing for the User eXperience. We have a long term plan for developing the curriculum, laid out on the Course List page on the OUXI website, and are soliciting votes from you, our potential students, to help decide which courses to develop first. The Institute will also provide a Bookstore, and a portal to other respected professional resources via the Institute Library.

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