Archive for July, 2009

30 / 07 / 2009Une prescription ergonomique docteur?

(1) Easy I.D.
(2) Code red.
(3) Information hierarchy.
(4) Upside down to save paper.
(5) Green is for Grandma.
(6) An info card that’s hard to lose.
(7) Take “daily”.
(8) Clear warnings.
[from The Perfect prescription]

En bons occidentaux que nous sommes, quand on est souffrant (et pas avant), on va chez le docteur qui nous examine et nous rédige une prescription dans la majorité des cas.

Le paradigme de santé asiatique centré autour d’un processus continu qui évite la maladie au lieu de ne servir qu’à la guérir diffère avec celui-ci, je vous l’accorde, mais la santé comme telle n’est pas ici tout à fait le but premier de mon propos…

En mêmes bons occidentaux que nous sommes également, “nous” développons pour la très grande majorité de nos diverses et belles industries, des sites Web…(et après seulement) on se demande s’ils sont ergonomiques…sauf les sites de mes clients bien entendu dont celui d’Agentsolo.com (c’est pas parce que c’est la compagnie de mon mari à qui je ne laisse pas le choix!) mais ces sites constituent des exceptions ;-)))…allez, rassurez-vous, je plaisante et vous invite à ajouter vos exceptions dans les commentaires de ce billet!

Le paradigme du développement centré-usager ou DCU diffère avec celui-ci et s’apparente plus à l’approche de la médecine orientale, je vous l’accorde, et c’est tout à fait le coeur de mon propos! :)

En effet, voilà quelque temps que j’ai relu un article relatant qu’un étudiant de l’École des arts visuels de NYC, a proposé une refonte ergonomique de l’étiquette d’une prescription dans le cadre d’un de ses projets étudiants! Et devinez quoi? Cela fait toute la différence! Et ce n’est pas parce qu’il vient d’une famille de médecins!!!

Je vous laisse lire l’article intégral par Sarah Bernhardt du New York Mag (11 avril 2005), car je préfère vous partager ici de la réflexion que cela a suscité pour ma part.

Vous avez tous bien vu la prescription ergonomique en introduction de cet article n’est-ce pas? Voici maintenant une photo d’exemples de prescriptions ‘avant’…c’est à dire celles que nous connaissons tous sans être capables de les déchiffrer…


En effet, je suis peut-être biaisée en tant qu’ergonome des interfaces qui comprend les critères ergonomiques à l’oeuvre dans cette refonte d’étiquette, mais je tiens à souligner néanmoins qu’il me semble évident, et ce très sincèrement, que lorsque l’on compare l’avant et l’après ‘redesign’ de la prescription, la démonstration de l’efficacité et de la nécessité d’une telle approche dans la vie est plus que flagrante!

Et quand je pousse ma réflexion, je me dis que l’on se demande encore vraiment pourquoi l’ergonomie cognitive (et même physique d’une certaine façon si vous voulez mon avis), demeure encore si souvent une dimension négligée et au mieux, une forte recommandation et pas encore assez souvent une prescription...pour profiter du jeu de mots trop facile.

Pour justifier d’éviter la dépense, un des arguments qui est souvent émis en ce qui a trait à l’utilisabilité, est celui de la ‘non-criticalité’. On comprend que l’ergonomie cognitive soit essentielle au design du cockpit d’un avion car c’est essentiel à la sécurité des passagers…On comprend que l’expérience usager peut permettre de vendre plus, de renforcer une bonne image de marque et surtout de fidéliser une clientèle qui n’obéit qu’à la loi largement popularisée par Steve Krug du “Dont’ make me think“…mais de là à dégager les budgets -temps, argent et ressources- pour le faire…faudrait qu’il y ait mort d’hommes les amis! Pensez-y, même une prescription médicale, ce qui peut être assez critique merci dans certains cas de maladies, cela prend un projet étudiant pour proposer le concept d’un redesign ergonomique de la chose!

En cette nouvelle ère où on voudrait tant tous croire que la société de consommation dont on fait partie est en train de se réformer (ou essaye de l’être), qu’elle n’a plus le choix d’opter pour des pratiques plus éthiques, que même nos compagnies les plus commerciales songent sérieusement à l’environnement, et que vivre autrement n’est plus seulement le dada des moines bouddhistes mais est bel et bien devenu la préoccupation de tous, docteurs, chercheurs, et citoyens…je me dis alors tout bonnement, mais à quand l’ergonomie comme valeur culturelle, comme condition de santé, comme partie intégrante de notre qualité de vie finalement?

Ceci va peut-être sonner comme un plaidoyer pour ma discipline au sens large, et les psychologues du travail vont me dire que cela fait longtemps que ce que j’énonce est le cas dans leur domaine professionnel (en théorie du moins), mais au diable la forme et les guerres de clochers, je me concentre sur le fond et je vais vous le lancer haut et fort!

Concentrons-nous tous ensemble SVP à se demander aussi candidement que franchement: à quand donc enfin le jour où les docteurs vont nous prescrire une dose d’ergonomie dans la vie??!! Et pas besoin que ce soit couvert par l’assurance-maladie ou la sécu…;-))

P.S.: En écrivant ce billet, je ne peux m’empêcher de penser à un parallèle avec le contexte commercial un peu plus large que celui de la santé, et plus spécifiquement à l’excellente étude du professeur Éric Brangier de l’Université de Metz, qui porte sur la l’application des principes ergonomiques au design des étiquettes de bouteilles de vin.

Éric Brangier était généreusement venu présenter son concept d’ergo-marketing et les résultats de son étude à une conférence d’Utilisabilité Québec en 2007 que j’avais organisée avec mes collègues Aude, Julie, Stéphanie, Nathalie et Pierre-Alexandre cette année là dans le cadre de la Journée Mondiale de l’Utilisabilité.

Nous avions d’ailleurs tous profité de l’occasion pour lever un verre à la santé de l’utilisabilité (et de l’ergonomie at large pour ceux qui ne sont pas toujours sûrs de la différence qui existe entre les deux!) J’espère que ceux qui étaient présents et s’en souviennent, en gardent un aussi bon souvenir que moi/nous! Et pour les autres, ne vous inquiétez pas, on remet ça chaque année en novembre! :)

28 / 07 / 2009Mood maps

“The diagram above describes the emotional ups and downs identified by study participants as part of the design exercise conducted during in-home visits with participants. Note that the location of the study is less relevant than the importance of observing the participants in the most likely context in which they will engage in their experience with the brand’s product or service. During the exercise, participants are asked to name each of the phases they went through from framing their problem through exploration and finally (hopefully) problem solving, and to then assign a corresponding emotion to each phase.”

This paragraph describes an ethnographic-based approach to use as an intermediary step and deliverable to building personas.

Remember that Personas are not documents but “the process of engaging with users” (Jared Spool, 2008) itself to understand and develop empathy to their context of use. I love the following analogy to explain the difference:

Read the full article written by Will Evans on July 27th, 2009 in the Johnny Holland Magazine (Johnny is an open collective talking, sharing and finding answers about the interaction between people and products, systems or processes.)

26 / 07 / 2009University of the People


“Together, we can create a free university for students all over the world.”
-Shai Reshef, Founder and President, University of the People

“The University of the People is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing universal access to quality, online post-secondary education and is comprised of numerous volunteers from all around the world. Many of these volunteers are regular members of university departments; others are active professionals – business administrators, librarians, computer programmers, economists and educators.”

Because education should be a right, and not a privilege, they are working hard to share the word to potential students all over the world.

In the spirit of the MIT OpenCourse Ware site, with about 1,900 free courses available nowadays, it is their “fundamental belief is that all people, world-wide, should have the opportunity to change their lives and contribute to their communities, as well as understanding that the path to societal and individual prosperity is through education.”

Discovered via a harsh debate which is now taking place “live” on Mashable.com about the price of future education or the price of education in the future

24 / 07 / 2009Why do you go online?



The Ruder Finn Intent Index is based on a study among Internet users that asks respondents how frequently they go online for 295 reasons.

The Intent Index shows that a person’s intent may be a better indicator for how to develop a communications campaign than demographic formulas.

“Ruder Finn co-CEO Kathy Bloomgarden has said that intent is the new demographic. Delving deeper into the underlying motivations of online behavior is critical to developing proactive strategies. Just being online is not enough to leverage digital channels to drive business imperatives. Audiences must be targeted based upon their intent.

“The important concept here for digital business trends is that marketers need to truly connect with their audiences, and not treat their online communications like a checklist of tasks.”

You can filter results for men, women, youth and senior! Very interactive and addictive info! :)

Read the full Press release.

22 / 07 / 2009HEC Montréal : Qu’est-ce qu’être entrepreneur?

Excellente synthèse du profil entrepreneurial…qui a le profil de l’emploi? :)

NDLR: Une présentation sans auteur…?? (trouvée via le profil LinkedIN de Kim Auclair)

21 / 07 / 2009Virtual Social Identity and consumer Behavior

A brand new book Edited by Natalie T. Wood and Michael R. Solomon,
both, St. Joseph’s University Sponsored by the Society for Consumer Psychology (July 2009).

Here is the presentation summary:

“How can corporate America effectively reach and entice the growing flood of consumers participating in online social networking environments? This book by two of the leading experts in the field presents cutting-edge academic research on virtual social identity, explores consumer behavior in virtual worlds, and offers important implications for marketers interested in working in these environments.

The book also provides special insight into the largest and fastest growing group of users—kids and teens. There is no better source for understanding the impact of
virtual social identities on consumers, consumer behavior, and electronic commerce
.”

July 2009 • 248 pp. • Tables, figures, references, name index, subject index.
PB: 978-0-7656-2396-6 List $39.95 *SCP Discount Price: $27.96

in relation to my thesis research on how to support UGC through social usability, I am particularly interested in the two following chapters:

  • “The Technology Relationship Interaction Model of Social Interaction with Virtual Beings: Derivation and Agenda for Research”, by Kathy Keeling, Debbie Keeling, Antonella de Angeli, and Peter McGoldrick
  • “I Don’t Know You, But I Trust You: A Comparative Study of Consumer Perceptions in Real-life and Virtual Worlds”, by James E. Brown and Tracy L. Tuten.

    For those interested, here is the link to the full description with selected contents and the option to buy the book online.

  • 16 / 07 / 2009Social Media and News Consumption: Citizen Journalism’s impact on traditional media

    The citizen journalists of SMCLA met face to face with a panel of professional journalists this week at the Mahalo offices in Santa Monica to discussCitizen Journalism: How Social Media Effects How We Report and Consume News

    I recommend you read the full recap of the event but here are the main topics discussed:

  • Effects on News Consumption and Interpretation
  • Role of Investigative Journalism
  • Guidelines for Journalism
  • Changing Landscape and the Future
  • Role of the Press Release: Is the traditional format and distribution dead?

  • 16 / 07 / 2009Social Network Websites: Best Practices and Design Guidelines from Leading Services

    Here is an excellent ppt to present best practices for designing social networks.

    A good complement to this presentation is the following list of Social Network Design Guidelines, published by Cameron Chapman from Smashing Magazine on July 13th, 2009.

    1. Engage Quickly
    What’s It For?
    Give Visitors Something To Do
    Promote Interesting Content From Friends
    Make It Easy To Find Friends

    2. Let Users Express Themselves
    Profile Pages Should Promote Personal Expression
    Promoting Individuality In Applications

    3. Be Dynamic
    Have Regularly-Changing Content
    Update Content in Real-Time

    4. Allow Friends To Be Grouped
    Let Users Define Groups
    Create Automatic Groups

    5. Use OpenSocial
    Provide More Applications To Users
    Let Users Take Their Profiles Anywhere

    6. Make It Easy To Communicate
    Provide Multiple Means Of Communication
    Foster Conversations

    7. Show Only Relevant Information
    What Really Needs To Be Here?
    Don’t Overwhelm Your Users
    Give Users The Ability To Filter

    8. Make It Easy To Take Action
    Emphasize The Desired Response
    Make It Easy To Find Things

    9. Show Avatar Photos
    People Like Seeing Other People

    10. Include Ways For Members To Connect
    Include User Groups
    Provide A Member Directory

    Further Resources
    Social design best practices

    Applications of usability principles on a social network

    Article twitted by Dr Yuping Liu, Marketing Professor at Old Dominion University, Norfolk VA (to check a list of her publications)

    14 / 07 / 2009Designing for Seniors: the Understated Challenge

    Source: picture from Trends in Cell Phones.

    Mobile interfaces are just like online interfaces…they are human-computer system interfaces.

    Designing Online Experiences For Seniors: A Panel Discussion

    Elizabeth Boehm, Principal Analyst, Forrester
    Mike Paciello, Founder & Principal, The Paciello Group
    Kath Straub, Principle, Usability.org
    From the Forrester Customer Experience Forum: NYC Hyatt, June 22nd 2009.

    NB: Please forgive the point-form-mode-of-expression here as you read my notes as they were ‘jotted on my computer’ during the panel…and which I completely forgot to publish during the conference!!! Too much was going on there at the same time honestly, and I did not want to miss anything! I would guess that our two experts’ insights and tips are still valuable a few weeks later…? ;-)


    What design practices are helping companies in developing interfaces valuable to senior users?

  • Flexible designs (ex.: using style sheets to differ presentation from structure)
  • Pieces of information VS all at once to respect for assimilation time and for cognitive load
  • Make the security and privacy elements of the site stand out
  • Bringing the representatives of these constituencies to understand who they are focusing on their perspective and needs
  • Use deep level interviews (value) to understand the deeper needs of older adults
  • Develop personas using storytelling to explore and discover motivators/blocks holding them back from engaging
  • Proven methodologies don’t change so much with seniors, the problem is to motivate the designers to be proactive and go outside their way to reach out to this group (good reason to get there)

    What characteristics differentiate seniors as users?

  • Patience with things that ‘don’t work’ or ‘are inapropriate’
    This is true of people less used with technology in general, not just seniors, they don’t trust themselves with identifying what is wrong or why it is wrong
    Ex. small characters : young people would think if they would have wanted me to read it they wd have made it bigger
  • Learning differently
    Older people: more cautious vs younger people more carefreeness and the expectations about what they should learn are different
  • It takes longer for seniors to create a cognitive model (applies to a cognitive ability level)…fear breaking need to get them started is more resource intensive process require more guidance and help to put them on tracks to sustain the process themselves afterwards for they don’t know what is on the other side
  • Language is important
    For things as basic as instructions from manufacturers: like USB port (don’t know what it is) or instructions like “plug it into the system” but they only look at the screen and forget about the tower under the desk…
  • They don’t mind being passive users
    Older adults are more than happy to play videos vs to record/create them
    Listening is useful enough for them and they don’t feel passive doing the listening
  • What is useful for seniors
    Connecting them with the rest of the world
    Kinds of interactions which are important are interactions with family members on Facebook for instance
  • Community of older users don’t fully understand what techno can bring to them, the full flavour of it: part of the problem is trust and part is relational
  • The what’s in it for me question is different for them
    People like to engage with companies where people of their kind are engaged too: so use testimonies and other things to showcase the people who are really involved (social psychology language)
  • Find the right combination between self service and assisted service
    Ex: Jitterbug cell phone simplified cell phone targeting senior users
    Kiosks and training center on the afternoons for banking services when they observed that older people were coming: hand holding experience to guide them through the basics
    The banking teller kind of experience is still needed, still is the reference in their mind.
  • Design for HELP! Design to HELP! Design your HELP section!
    ROI from seniors: “You’ve helped me be more autonomous and now my brand connexion with you is very strong”


    Conclusion

    Read on the use of Wii fit in health care and seniors’ houses to understand what you need to target to reach out to seniors…for if you push the effort to make your technology invisible enough, seniors can and will adopt the technologies!

    Je remercie la Chaire de commerce électronique RBC Groupe Financier pour son soutien financier pour la participation à cette conférence.

  • 14 / 07 / 2009Search Interfaces: Usable Guidelines and references

    “Hearst’s brilliant organization, lucid writing, and admirably comprehensive review … are gifts to scholars, implementers, and students who want to contribute to … user interfaces for information search and retrieval.” – Dr. Ben Shneiderman

    When books in a research field can specialize as much as to focus on guidelines for a specific applied context: that’s a clear sign of maturity! Yes! Usability has become a mature field of research and practice! And here are the evidence!

    The kind of maturity I am refering to here -for usability as a research and practice field- is linked to but different from what Jakob Nielsen suggested for the corporate environment with his 8 stages of Corporate Usability Maturity.

    Search User Interfaces
    is a new book by Dr. Marti Hearst, professor in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley (BA, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science). She was a Member of the Research Staff at Xerox PARC from 1994 to 1997.

    Published by Cambridge University Press (50 US$), this book is also sold through Amazon (40 US$), and very surprisingly available for free online. (In the book’s blog, you can read how the author managed to convince the publishor to do such thing!)

    It is recommended to start with the Preface, which gives an overview of the book’s contents which offers two main parts: Search fundamentals (Chapters 1-7) and advanced topics (Chapters 8-12)such as Chapter 8 which tackles Navigation and Search for instance. I particularly enjoyed the chapter dealing with emerging trends in user search interfaces, exploring mobile search and social search.

    Beyond its practical reach, the book is filled with references to human-computer interaction papers.

    I first heard of this book via a post by Alexandre Huete on the Ergo-IHM list on July 4th, 2009. Thanks Alexandre!

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