Seeing the Elephant: Defragmenting User Research · An Article by A List Apart

Came across this great article for my class this week —

One team may rely upon behavioral data—like a shopping cart’s conversion rate—to diagnose a major problem with their site. But they can’t come up with a solution. Meanwhile, just down the hall, another team has the tools to generate, design, and evaluate the required solution. Unfortunately, they don’t know about the problem. How come?

Because these two teams may not know that the other exists. Or they aren’t encouraged by their organization to communicate. Or they don’t share enough common cultural references and vocabulary to have a reasonable dialogue, even if they wanted to. So synthesis doesn’t happen, the opportunity for game-changing insight is missed, and products and services continue to suck.

Source: Seeing the Elephant: Defragmenting User Research · An A List Apart Article

Stop reusing designs without considering the user

Form follows function.

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Just because you can reuse a tablet-optimized design on your desktop website, it doesn’t mean you should. Here are some reasons I can identify right off the bat:

  1. Large tap targets are great for tablets and mobile because the primary input method are fingers. However, with increased real estate comes an egregious use of precious screen space.
  2. With the title of “filing cabinets” just as large as the “filter results” section, it’s difficult to understand exactly what is important here. According to the design, they are just as important as one another.
  3. A gridded gallery view is elegant, but depending on the amount of desktop screen real estate it may not provide all of the information and breadth of results as it could.
  4. Has the design of this page followed the understanding of utility of desktop searching? Do users on desktops look for more in-depth results or do they prefer browsing through product possibilities? Which use case does this particular design support, and does it match up with the users’ objectives?
  5. User research has shown that shoppers use tablet technologies as a way to browse and collect potential purchase data, but that the majority of users use desktop technologies to thoroughly identify pieces of information that help inform shopping decisions. Based on the research, tablet designs should not be reused for desktop experiences but should instead be responsive to the users’ needs, as well as hardware. How does this current design support the users’ needs at this stage?

These were just a couple of casual points of consideration while I was spending my morning looking for a nice filing cabinet for my desk:

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