User Interface Design
User Interface (UI) Design Services
All of our website and application development includes the application of user design principles throughout our process. However, there are times, when a client may request design guidance on an existing application interface (e.g., website, portal, or software product) or assistance in the design of a new user interface. Dannay Consulting offers: User Interface Design, Expert Review and formal Usability Testing services.
User Interface (UI) Design
Dannay Consulting offers User Interface Design services where we join a software development team to insure the application of UI principles, develop the UI design, create UI specifications for a product, and/or establish UI standards across projects. We work with your team to:
- Refine site goals and objectives
- Identify and define user groups and user profiles
- Collect user data (analytics, traffic reports, surveys, feedback, etc.)
- Understand the business and end user requirements
- Understand (as applicable) the competition through a brief competitive analysis
- Prioritize requirements and identify specific functionality
- Develop user task scenarios and sequences
- Identify, group and structure content (resulting in site map and information architecture)
- Illustrate initial concepts via wire frames and HTML mock-ups to validate design structure, navigation and information architecture
- Work with business and marketing representatives to create a visual design appropriate for the end user that extends and/or incorporates the brand
- Build out XHTML templates and CSS, cross browser test, and work with developer team for integration
- Develop or extend style guides,
- Create product documentation (User Manuals and Administrative Guides) as applicable
Deliverables from this process may include: Site Map, Information Architecture (as represented in a site map and wireframe), Content Inventory and Plan, User Scenarios (that may be used later for to support site or application testing); Wire frame, working prototype, Page Templates, Style Guide, User Manual, and Administrative Guide.
Dannay Consulting offers an Expert or Usability Review that provides the first step in improving your customer interface or website by identifying issues and providing specific recommendations for product or application improvement. Usability reviews for software applications evaluate the application against key human factors principles in Navigation, Functionality, Control, Language/Terminology, Feedback, Consistency, Error handling, and Information presentation/layout. Usability reviews for physical equipment or products also include ergonomic and anthropometrical considerations.
Expert Reviews are valuable in quickly identifying potential usability issues that may inhibit the use and acceptance of a web application. The process includes understanding the profile(s) of key users and walking through typical tasks and scenarios. Each website page is reviewed individually and as it supports a task sequence. A usability review can provide answers to questions like:
- Can the user determine where they are, what options are available, and what to do next?
- Is the content credible, authentic, and believable?
- Can the user accomplish required tasks?
An Expert Review is somewhat subjective as no real users are involved. An Expert Review is meant to evaluate the user experience. It is not meant to evaluate the site content or the technical implementation.
The deliverable for a Expert Review is a detailed report that reviews the application in general and by each component. The report identifies specific issues, explains the context for each issue (as applicable) and makes recommendations.
Usability testing is a useful tool to validate design concepts and prototypes during development, thereby insuring an application is usable as intended. If done early enough, the feedback can be incorporated back into the design to insure greater user acceptance during rollout. Usability testing is also valuable to highlight design flaws with existing products. In either situation, Dannay Consulting works with your team to plan and design usability test sessions, including task sequencing, supporting materials, release forms and questionnaires. Dannay Consulting also acts as an unbiased facilitator, insuring objective results. All usability testing is followed up with a written and oral report of the findings and recommendations.
Formal usability testing encompasses having 6-8 participants each complete a 60-90 minute session on the application with specific objectives in mind (e.g., specific tasks to accomplish). The facilitator provides an orientation to the user, obtains signatures on NDA(s) and may insure the user completes a Pre-test questionnaire usually focused on identifying profile information (e.g., experience levels, background). The facilitator observes the user through pre-determined task sequences and guides the user to “think out loud” obtaining valuable information on how components of the interface are perceived. The session is completed with the facilitator providing a participant debrief and usually requesting the participant complete a detailed questionnaire relating to the tasks they just completed.
Usability testing provides the following advantages:
- Observation data is key to understanding design elements that work and don’t work (few users are able to accurately articulate the issues they encounter – even if they recognize that something is not as it should be). A trained usability person facilitates the session and observes key behavior that cannot be captured by any other method.
- It uses real users, on real tasks to obtain realistic and un bias feedback
- Provides both visual, oral and written user feedback on the application
- Testing is completed and key issues are identified in one to two days (depending on scheduling)