Posts Tagged ‘Ergonomics Society’

The Ergonomics Society is about to embark on a redesign of its website, and ealier this month I posted out the initial user segmentation model, along with the draft user profiles and the prioritised scenarios. Now, following  conversations with various folks including Tina Worthy and Richard Bye, we have an updated plan for user research.

In summary, what we plan to do is:

  1. Establish some baseline data for the existing site experience (so that we have something to compare with after the redesign). Richard Bye has kindly offered the use of his analytic tools in assessing this.
  2. Perform depth interviews with participants from the 1st four priority segments, as follows:
    • Information Consumers (times 3)
    • Society Members (times 3)
    • Society Customers (times 2)
    • 3rd Party Service Consumers (times 2)
    1. Note that the breakdown here is designed to reflect both the relative priorities of the segments and what we feel is realistic given the resources available.
  3. Hold a focus group for the Staff Information Consumers.
  4. Run a formative IA exercise (such as an open card sort) to establish the key organisational principles for the site content. Participants to be segmented as in (2).

Evidently, there will be a fair amount of prep involved in all of this, notably the preparation of recruitment screeners, interview protocols, scripts, etc. Note also that the analytic tools that Richard has offered will also need configuring; no doubt a key part of this will be determining precisely what metrics to measure as a baseline. I suspect we’ll need to adopt a pretty lightweight / agile approach, especially considering that most if not all of this will need to fit around existing work commitments. And we shouldn’t underestimate timelines either – it is one thing to manage delivery of a web project when everyone is directly accountable to you; quite another when everyone is lending their time on a voluntary basis.

Looking further ahead, we will also need to consider the choice of development platform.  At the moment we are using phpMyAdmin, but it is likely that we will want to migrate to something more scalable and usable by a wider cross section of people (i.e. nominated content editors) in future. Lauren Morgan is currently evaluating alternatives such as Joomla and Drupal, and should be in a position to report back soon.

So, as a rough estimate, I’d say the timeline will pan out something like this:

  • August: user research
  • September: user research + data analysis. Output = refined segmentation model + profiles + scenarios
  • October: Interaction design + visual design (proceeding in parallel in so far as that’s practicable). Output = wireframes (which could be fairly simplistic, depending on the build approach) + visual design spec. (NB we should also consider producing a style guide for the site, but I am not sure we can deliver that as well within the scope of the exisiting project)
  • Nov + Dec: build. Output = CMS templates + associated tools & resources, etc.
  • Jan: UAT + soft launch
  • Feb: full launch

Note that I’m assuming we will interveave user feedback at suitable iteration points throughout the above timelime – as UCD specialists we should know this better than any 🙂


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The Ergonomics Society is about to embark on a redesign of its website, and earlier this week I posted out the first and second deliverables from the stakeholder kickoff meeting: the user segmentation model and the user profiles. Now, we follow these up with the final deliverable from that session: the user scenarios.

First, a caveat: actually, these aren’t really user scenarios, at least not in the text book sense of being a rich narrative weaving together users, tasks & artefacts into a coherent, goal-oriented context. Instead, these are more like nominal placeholders, representing the key goal-driven activities of each of the segments, ready to be further refined and expanded through user research. These scenarios, generated during a 30-minute breakout session, are listed below (grouped by segment):

As an Information Consumer, I want to:

  • Source an interviewee today to talk about <specialism>
  • Find a practical solution to a <ergonomics topic> problem in my workplace
  • Find diagrams to demonstrate <ergonomics process/service>
  • Find current research on <ergonomics topic>
  • Find out what ergonomics is

As a Society Member I want to:

  • Find out how to join
  • Pay my membership fees
  • Understand the rules to become registered
  • Avoid the conference late fee
  • Find an ergonomist in <region> working on <specialism>
  • Find out when my CREE accreditation expires
  • Understand how to take a career break

As a Society Customer, I want to:

  • Register for an event
  • Place an advert
  • Find out where the ads are placed on the site

As a 3rd Party Service Consumer I want to:

  • Find a consultancy service that matches my needs
  • Find an educational course that matches my needs

As a Staff Information Consumer I want to:

  • Talk an enquirer through finding an ergonomist
  • Direct someone to a page on the website
  • Check details on awards
  • Check details of events

As a group, we then prioritised the scenarios according to business and user value, as shown below. There shouldn’t be too many surprises in this – if we got our segmentation right, and our profiles prioritised appropriately, then what comes out as the high priority scenarios should really be consistent with that. Nonetheless, I’m a but surprised that only one Information Consumer scenario made it into the top right quadrant. They are all pretty high on user value – it’s just that the business value of those scenarios isn’t as high.

Scenario prioritisation

Scenario prioritisation

So – what’s next? Well, we now have our basic UX framework / requirements which will form the basis for iteration planning and a reference point for design decision-making. Our next step is to use this and start on all the PM stuff, e.g. clarifying scope, timelines and budgets. I’ll be setting up a meeting shortly to kick this off. If you want to contribute, to either the process or the outputs, just let me know.

Slide 34

A Find out how to join
B Pay my membership fees
C Understand the rules to become registered
D Avoid the conf late fee
E Find an ergonomist in <region> working on <specialism>
F Find out when my CREE accreditation expires
G Understand how to take a career break

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The Ergonomics Society is about to embark on a redesign of its website, and earlier this week I posted out the first deliverable from the stakeholder kickoff meeting: the user segmentation model. This deliverable, like the others, is assumptive in the sense that it has been drafted by SMEs and other proxy users, rather than through primary user research. Well, you gotta start somewhere.

Now it’s time to review the second deliverable: the profiles for each user segment. Note that I call them ‘profiles’ rather than personas: at this stage they are too elementary and skeletal (and anonymous) to really be considered anything more than notional profiles. Ideally we’d now flesh these out via a programme of focused user research, and we have available a modest budget which could be applied to support such an undertaking. I’d be interested in folks’ opinions on how to best use that for this kind of activity.

Now, let’s look at the profiles themselves. These were created during a 20 minute breakout in the stakeholder meeting, so they’re far from the finished article. Also, there was only time to cover the 5 highest priority segments, i.e.

  • P1. “Information Consumers”
  • P1a. Society Members
  • P2. Society Customers
  • P2. “3rd Party Service Consumers”
  • P2 “Staff Information Consumers”

But as I said above, you gotta start somewhere. They’re included inline below as png images. Alternatively, you may wish to view them in pdf form (which I’ll upload shortly).

Coming soon will be the scenarios for each segment – for those to be meaningful, we need these profiles to authentic and believable. As before, comments on both these deliverables and the process are more than welcome.

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The Ergonomics Society is about to embark on a redesign of its website, and on Thursday last week we held the stakeholder kickoff meeting. The purpose of this meeting was threefold:

  1. To bring together the key stakeholders to establish a common vision for the project
  2. To develop a basic UX framework upon which subsequent design work would be based
  3. To establish a baseline for subsequent project planning and resourcing (including any user research requirements).

We had only three hours to achieve all this, so there wasn’t much time for prolonged discussion. Present at the meeting with me were Dave O’Neill (CEO), Sue Hull (Conference Manager), John Winter (Membership Development Manager), Kia Horrocks (Conference & Membership Administrator), Tina Worthy (Web Editor), Lauren Morgan and Lauren’s colleague Maya (student rep).

First, we took a minute to write down what we thought should be the vision for the Society website, before sharing these as a group. It turns out that our individual visions were remarkably consistent, with most including some notion that the site should be both a comprehensive information resource for the profession as well as an advert or showcase for UCD. For example: “to be the information resource for ergonomics and human factors profesionals and to be a showcase for great UX design”.

The next activity was a group session to establish the key audience segments for the wesbite. It transpired that there is little in the way of previous user/market research available, so we had a fairly blank state to begin with. After  considerable whiteboarding and iteration, we finally identified the following key segments with their respective priorities (where P1 is highest, P3 lowest):

  • P1. “Information Consumers”, e.g. researchers (both individuals and corporate), academics/teachers, press, advocates of ergonomics / human factors, etc.
  • P1a. Society Members, i.e. anyone who is currently classed as a member (on any of the grades)
  • P2. Society Customers, i.e. anyone paying for Society products & services, such as conference delegates and advertisers
  • P2. “3rd Party Service Consumers”, i.e. agency clients, short course attendees, and prospective ergonomcs students (i.e. anyone engaging services via the paid listings)
  • P2 “Staff Information Consumers”, i.e. same as the first group but employees of the Society
  • P3 Website Editors, i.e. Society staff responsible for web content, such as PR / Comms, membership etc.
  • P3 Website Developers. i.e. Society staff responsible for web development

You might be wondering why “Information Consumers” was given a higher priority than “Society Members”. The answer lies in the Vision statement, which suggests that the primary purpose is to serve the profession more generally, rather than those individuals who happen to be members at any given time. (On reflection, this decision – or my interpretation thereof – may benefit from a little further examination.)

BTW, during my time as a UX PM at Microsoft we used the expression “eating your own dogfood” to describe the practice of adopting the products or techniques that you promote. Likewise, I am keen that we “eat our own dogfood” in this exercise, and are seen to be applying UCD best practice within our own web design & development project work. Comments and feedback on both the process and the deliverables are therefore more than welcome.

In the meantime, I’ll be working on transcribing the draft profiles we developed for the priority segments above. More soon – watch this space.

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