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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: [Sigia-l] Research then prototype OR prototype then gather user feedback

Re: [Sigia-l] Research then prototype OR prototype then gather user feedback

From: Stewart Dean (stew8dean_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Dec 20 2005 - 04:49:28 EST


On 19/12/05 9:34 pm, "Trenouth, John" <John.Trenouth_at_cardinal.com> wrote:

> I'm interested in hearing people's experiences with two different
> approaches to design (whether it's a product, service, information, what
> have you).
>
> Is it better to start a project by:
>
> 1. Studying users' workflows, environments, experienced, etc., and then
> develop prototypes based on this knowledge
>
> OR
>
> 2. Just putting something together based on what the organization
> already knows, and then bring it to users in order to gather their
> feedback on what you have.

Research then build.

Why? Simply because testing of an existing site/application will tell you
what's wrong with what you have created, but only the really bad points. It
won't tell you how to create a compelling user experience in the first
place.

In simple terms if I had a choice between cutting budget to research or to
testing then testing would be the one I would look at first (by testing I
mean user testing and not quality control I better add). Research is harder
to do well then testing I better add and is most open to bad practice (like
using focus groups to determine user needs).

I also view user testing an existing site for that company less useful than
user researching several comparative sites. After all if you're working on a
project to redesign a site (or other project) then you already know the
existing site isn't working that well and can get meaningful data on that
from the company/usage and what ever metrics that caused them to want to
rejig things in the first place.

Stew Dean

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