Alongside the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) annual conference taking place in Atlanta next week, there is a separate meeting of invited usability experts taking part in the latest Competitive Usability Evaluations (CUE) study, and User vision is proud to be talking part in this.
The CUE studies are organised by Rolf Molich of Dialog Design in Denmark as part of a structured investigation into our industry, how we conduct research, outlining (and challenging) best practices for the usability profession.
In each CUE study, several professional usability teams independently and simultaneously evaluate the same website or application, and the differences in findings (or methods applied) are rigorously analysed and compared.
It is a very valuable exercise and a great chance to compare and contrast the methods used by different professionals and outcomes from their research into the same interface.
I took part in CUE 4 where the crux of the research was comparing the results discovered through expert / heuristic evaluations and those from a more empirical approach of usability testing. We all examined the same hotel reservation system, and the differences in the number and type of findings were very interesting, as documented in the subsequent report on the study.
In the latest study, CUE 9 the focus is on the Evaluator Effect. Several experienced usability professionals, including Stephen Denning of User Vision, independently observed five usability test videos and reported their observations.
In the follow up meeting next week they will discuss the similarities and differences in their observations and no doubt Rolf Molich and his team will apply the forensic level of analysis on the many parameters investigated and deliver a detailed and informative insight into the best practices for usability testing and research.
The CUE studies are a great chance to work with some of the leading user experience researchers from around the world, and User Vision is very much looking forward to taking part in the summary meeting next week.