Rocket Surgery Made Easy – Looking back

Today is the day I had to finish Krug’s “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” by, but if you follow my blog you know I finished it months ago. In the spirit of being knowledgeable and well prepared I am going to look back at the book this morning. As mentioned by Joe Seeber, each time you look at a book you are a different person that will take away new things…

By the end of the first chapter when I initially read the book I wrote down, “I am a bit weary of the journey I am about to take; how will it change me and my approaches toward developing sites? I feel like I need to take this book “with a grain of sand” so to speak. ” Now however I swear by the book, and could not recommend enough that you read it! It is certainty the goto guide to user experience testing, capitalizing on simplicity and use of  accessible tools.

Early in the book there is a link to a demo video of a UX test being done and throughout the rest of the book it is broken apart into modular parts. It becomes clear watching the video that UX is easy, and if a handful of rules are followed there is no way to really mess things up!

That being said, the first rule given was to simply do the testing and not make a big deal of it, “A morning a month, that’s all we ask” was the Krug left to embody this concept. Before the book ever said how to test it said test, test, test, and test some more!

I was excited both the first and second time reading the book to get to the actual testing. We of course started with the basics by looking at who we would be testing with and what we would be testing for. It turns out that about 3 people (any 3) and a few specific goals of the site should be used each testing cycle, embracing a broad range of people as well as web site goals.

At this point the book provided an amazing resource, a check list to help you prepare for testing and be sure it runs smoothly. A whole chapter was dedicated to this subject, rightfully so.

On the note of check-lists the book worked its way into performing the actual test which was recommended to have just as much (more!) structure as our prep. Each test participant should feel welcome and encouraged to share during testing, getting them to and keeping them in that state of being is the administrator’s job.  These responsibilities were best summed up by Krug in 4 bullet points

  1. You’re trying to get them to externalize their thought process
  2. You’re trying to not influence them
  3. You will say the same few things over and over
  4. You have ethical responsibilities (respect them, and know there limits)

On top of testing there comes a responsibility to make a difference by fixing what you learned was not working. Before this comes you need  the support and collaboration from your team.  This means you need to get them in and see the test, understand what should be taken away from it and then…

Do the least you can do.

Fix things, but don’t kill yourself by making it a huge project. Just get it done! This is the whole approach that the book took to every aspect of UX, embrace it!

The book ends by looking at how to ensure your work does not go to waste, basic management of goals, tasks, and coworkers mostly…

 

I am excited to do some really UX testing in the next few weeks and share how it goes with you!

*if you made it through this whole post and find yourself wanting the book, I would be happy to lend it out too you!

 

 

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Make your blog work for you

I am just amazed to see what blogging as capable of… did you know that I created this article in my spare time, along with many others, and set when I wanted it to post? I can create enough material in one sitting to successfully keep my blog active for a whole week! Not only that but I can reference several of my other posts to maximize both the efficiency and traffic with in my blog. I have made countless connection through it, foresee things only getting better, and can not get enough of it! If I could do nothing but blog all day I probably would!

I highly recommend investing in blogging!

What I put in versus what I get out is almost unfathomable… It seems as if each article I put out and each new thing I learn serves to make my life that much better! I can not wait to learn more!

A WordPress tip – automated posting

A few days ago I let out a post sharing that not only do I love blogging, but that have started using the timestamp feature to get out my posts on a regular schedule. If you do this already or want to start doing it (or interested regardless?) I have made some great headway in doing so and would like to share my takeaways!

If you don’t know what I am talking about, this is where you will find the timestamp…

timestamp area screen shotClicking edit located next to “Publish immediately” expands to show this amazing new text field. You are to set the date and time (military time) then select ok to lock in your “to be posted” time. If done successfully you will notice the “Publish” button below now displays “schedule”, which is what you will click when you are ready to finally commit to your posting time/date.

An issue I ran into…

After getting all excited I planned out days worth of posts, only of course! If you are using this same feature you will quickly realize (like I did) that keeping track of every “post to be”. How do I not overlap posts? How do I know when what is posting! I found myself crawling to my professor asking if there was a hidden calendar in WordPress that would help me. No such luck, but given the fact that she has posted literally thousands of times using this feature she was able to give a little “method to the madness”.  She recommended that I record what post, blog used, and time into my calendar. A great solution, but one I would certainty struggle to commit to. Posting as much as she does, it may be the only way to go… but I found a much more intuitive solution myself and it may help you out too!

Here is my solution…

Looking at your posts in the back-end of WordPress, as you surely have done before, you will notice many ways to filter what kind of posts you would like to view. If you are anything like me you have a good hand-full of to be posts under “drafts”.

screen shot of post section in back end
Look carefully and you will see “Scheduled” as one of the filter options, click it!

schedualed tab in page viewI discovered through experimentation that the hierarchy in which these are listed is relative to the time it is scheduled to post! Sadly this does not show the exact time (even in quick edit), but you can get a great idea as to when things are going out.

Currently I am getting out one post in the morning and another in the evening, so it’s quite clear to me that if I have two with the same date that the lower post is the morning one and so on through out the day. Furthermore I feel like a very post thick day would not be hard to make sense of.

I hope I was able to help you out! Feel free to leave a comment if you want to learn or talk more!

Are you interested in web development?

For any one thats looking at getting  into web development I have some advice. In watching a video today I saw this in the comments…

i want to be a website desinger i am 19 turning 20 this year, i really wanna be a website designer,my brother advised me to go take classes, is it worth it?

I had been in this exact position before, so I left the following response.  I shared with him what I wish others would have shared with me as I stepped into coding.

Yes! Way worth it! I have some great insight give your situation. Im turning 20 this next month.

I was going through the standard 4 year business degree process, and not really liking it. I took an HTLM class (just because I was interested) and I am so happy about it. You should really do it!

Don’t be intimidated by everything, its not only easy to learn but also a very accessible field! You can get a start by doing one simple thing; learn HTML.

I would recommend taking a good class if possible of course. On top of that there we have a great you can get help from. Continue reading

Designing in the moment – Ch1

This chapter started out by reiterating the simple fact that,

A first impression lasts a life time

Every one knows that a first impression is important, and this holds especially true in regard to a website. I have heard many numbers in attempting to figure out how long users take to decide if they are going stay on your site. Who cares if its ten seconds or less than one second, the fact of the matter is that its important. So that being said let’s jump into looking at the books first few tips that will work to keep users on your site.

First and foremost the layout of the site comes into play. Every one knows that layout makes a huge difference in experience and that cluttered of confusing layouts are dreadful. In the book we start by looking at a sites layout and critiquing it so that important fields were properly sized for their content. The most important parts of the site were then capitalized on, every site has something its trying to promote, from products to site subscription; these are the calls to action. We can accent those by doing many things, namely making them large, repetitive, and/or having a accenting color. On top of those ideas there was one last concept introduced… that our eyes naturally work through the site from the top to the bottom and left to right simultaneously. A layout that compliments all of these aspects is sure to bring good results.

Conductive

Fascinated with conductive materials found in every day things Daan Spanjers took on the task of giving function to these un-utilized materials.

Conductive is a combination of a several lights with prongs and a special table. The table has copper wiring running just beneath its surface as electricity runs about it. The prongs on the light can be matched up with the copper lines to make the light work. It is a very unique and clean looking deal.

I love this idea, the first thing it reminded me of was the charger for macbook’s. They primarily use a magnet to stay connected, minimizing the amount of moving parts. This really embraces the rule of KISS and works to ensure things work well. This product brings the beauty of apple charges to desk lighting.

Its ok to be excited about a neat way to light a desk, but thats really just looking at the small picture. Looking at the big picture in my mind I am imagining cool new house outlets, innovative ways to run power from place to place, and most importantly a way to get rid of my cell phone charger! If it became standard to use this form of energy transfer, things could get very interesting.

the light in question

Measuring less to feel more

This is a device used to check the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

This product is used to check blood sugar levels, but in a different way. It is argued by its creator that the stress experienced when using standard devices causes almost as much harm as good. In an effort to combat the intimidating number displays and utilitarian design of standard instruments, this product has a welcoming and functional feel. Feed back is given by a change in colors, and the instrument looks more like a piece of art than anything else.

I believe that this would be a very useful product. There was little to back the claims of sugar being released during standard testing, but regardless the concept holds water. Things of this nature need to come about, it just simply makes life more pleasant. I would argue that most medical devices are utilitarian in design. If this product is the first step toward medical instruments becoming more user friendly then I support it!

This may actually be the best candidate for our class to be looking at. I can only imagine   in what ways a full class could apply the idea that this product does. The medical field holds a huge amount of power and importance in society. One of the key elements in my vision of the future surely includes amazing forms of medical tecnology.

blood sugar tester