Usability, Design & Business Quotes

by May 27, 2004

One from Mark Twain: "The best swordsman in the world does not need to fear the second best swordsman, but the man ignorant of swords and knowledgeable about gun-powder."

Several from Debbie Millman's experience (PDF) at AIGA’s Business Perspectives for Design Leaders:

The heart of marketing: knowing customers and their problems better than they know themselves.

The heart of a brand: Risk Reduction. The brand name gives us the reassurance that we will risk less by buying it. Ultimately, brands are assets that create value by shaping marketplace decisions. Present value includes the ability of the brand to generate economic returns on current markets. Future value includes the ability of the brand to create a platform of opportunities in either existing or new markets.

Two biggest secrets to a high-performance organization:

  1. Peer pressure
  2. Self-selection system

Success is about three things:

  1. Pattern recognition (intuition)
  2. Story telling (hypothesis generation)
  3. The ability to charge a lot

Last but not least, Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering recently offered the following tips for usability testing:

  1. Do your own recruiting. The recruiting process is *very* educational. You learn a lot about your users when you talk to them. More importantly, you learn a lot about people who you don't want as users. User-hours are the most expensive part of the project. Wasted user-hours, because of no-shows or poorly qualified users, throw away a lot of money.
  2. Don't use a lab. Conference room testing is more effective, less expensive, and can get the development team closer to the users. There is no evidence that labs are anything more than a waste of nice furniture and glass.
  3. Avoid reports. We have a rule of thumb in our work: If the team reads anything in our report that they didn't “already” know, we've failed. The team should know everything that happens in the test long before any report tells them. Reports are good for archives and the few people who can't be at the test for really good reasons. Other than that, they should get the results directly from the tests themselves or from quick summaries and email discussions that follow each test session.