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There is an erroneous perception in the UX community that if your method is qualitative, then numbers somehow cannot or should not be used.

These perceptions come from an informal practice that stems back to the beginning of the usability profession and continues through training programs and some UX experts.

prototype-techved

Unfortunately, this perception is misguided and can prevent perfectly good data from being used to gain accurate views of the user experience.

Qualitative data can in fact be converted into quantitative measures even if it doesn't come from an experiment or from a large sample size.

The distinction between a qualitative study and quantitative study is a false dichotomy. It doesn't cost more money to quantify or use statistics. It just takes some training and confidence--like any method or skill.

Here are five examples of how you can take common qualitative approaches to assessing the user experience and convert them into numbers which can then be treated with a range of statistical procedures.

 

  1. Converting a usability problem into a frequency: The quintessential usability activity is watching users attempt realistic tasks and identifying what in the interface is causing problems.

    Simply categorize the problems, count the frequency, then use confidence intervals to estimate how common the problems likely are in the entire user population. For example, if 3 out 11 users had a problem downloading the correct software product from a website, then we can be 95% confident at least 9% of all users would also have the problem (use the free web calculator or download the problem frequency calculator).  It doesn't cost more money to generate those confidence intervals. This process also allows you to generate more accurate sample size estimates.

  2. What problems are customers having?: It is sometimes difficult for customers to identify what they need in a product and where the shortfalls are. One effective approach is ethnographic research (a qualitative method), observing customers in their own setting encountering and solving problems.

    Observe the problems customers encounter, categorize and count them. Then estimate the percent of all customers that likely share this behavior or problem to help prioritize product features. You can then estimate how many customers you need to visit based on the frequency of these issues.

  3. Why is the product not being recommended? When using the Net Promoter Score, it's valuable to ask open-ended, follow-up questions, especially for Detractors, such as, "Briefly describe why you gave the rating." Take the list of open-ended comments and group them into categories (content analysis). Count the occurrences, create a percentage of all comments, graph them and throw in some confidence intervals for good measure.

       4 . Why was that task so difficult?: I recommend asking just a single question after users attempt a task in an informal Steve Krug usability test. If a user provides a low rating (below a 5), ask them to briefly explain why they gave a low rating. Take these open-ended comments, categorize them and add up the frequency in each group. This process can help you and your stakeholders make more informed decisions about the likely causes of the trouble. Figure 1 below shows an example of the comments from a recent usability test.
         

         

            
5.Combining Net Promoter Scores and comments: A powerful way of making qualitative, open-ended comments more actionable is to combine them with a closed-ended question, like the Net Promoter Score. For example, quantify what users say they would improve on a website, then show what these customer's Net Promoter Scores are.

An example is shown in Figure 2 below. There were 110 comments in total, but to quickly identify what to focus on, we can see that comments related to website navigation and product filters are both high in frequency and come from users that are likely generating negative word of mouth (notice the negative NPS). In contrast,  design/layout comments and advertisements while high in frequency appear to be minor issues for the users.

 

 

I'm not advocating quantifying data for an exercise in counting. There are of course many software applications and websites which have never been exposed to any input from users. In such situations there will likely be many obvious problems that just need to be fixed, regardless of how many users encounter the problem.

But once you've picked the low hanging fruit of a neglected interface, the benefits of structuring your activities and results lend themselves to quantification, where you can derive more meaning from your methods.

The advantage of converting qualitative data into quantitative data is that the source of qualitative data--a direct encounter of the user's experience--can reveal nuances in usability, perhaps otherwise missed in more formal quantitative experiments and surveys.

Not only can qualitative data be categorized into quantities, but it can prompt further questions and discovery for usability improvement.

  1. Converting a usability problem into a frequency: The quintessential usability activity is watching users attempt realistic tasks and identifying what in the interface is causing problems.

    Simply categorize the problems, count the frequency, then use confidence intervals to estimate how common the problems likely are in the entire user population. For example, if 3 out 11 users had a problem downloading the correct software product from a website, then we can be 95% confident at least 9% of all users would also have the problem (use the free web calculator or download the problem frequency calculator).  It doesn't cost more money to generate those confidence intervals. This process also allows you to generate more accurate sample size estimates.

  2. What problems are customers having?: It is sometimes difficult for customers to identify what they need in a product and where the shortfalls are. One effective approach is ethnographic research (a qualitative method), observing customers in their own setting encountering and solving problems.

    Observe the problems customers encounter, categorize and count them. Then estimate the percent of all customers that likely share this behavior or problem to help prioritize product features. You can then estimate how many customers you need to visit based on the frequency of these issues.

  3. Why is the product not being recommended? When using the Net Promoter Score, it's valuable to ask open-ended, follow-up questions, especially for Detractors, such as, "Briefly describe why you gave the rating." Take the list of open-ended comments and group them into categories (content analysis). Count the occurrences, create a percentage of all comments, graph them and throw in some confidence intervals for good measure.

Why was that task so difficult?: I recommend asking just a single question after users attempt a task in an informal Steve Krug usability test. If a user provides a low rating (below a 5), ask them to briefly explain why they gave a low rating. Take these open-ended comments, categorize them and add up the frequency in each group. This process can help you and your stakeholders make more informed decisions about the likely causes of the trouble. Figure 1 below shows an example of the comments from a recent usability test.

Smile and Happiness- The World Wants More

Designs are to Delight. Ensuring a memorable journey for the consumers  is our responsibility as designers, believes Neha Modgil, Director at Techved Consulting. She has much more to say, express and share what’s on her mind. Put down on paper, here are some beautiful thoughts straight from our Director’s heart.

When I started Techved, it was passion turned to business. Over the years as I experienced world, Techved is my expression and gratitude to being a designer, woman, mother, CEO, entrepreneur and above all, a human.

With designing seated so close to my heart, I constantly strive to spread laughter and cheer through our designs. At Techved, I complete my desire to ensemble designs and emotions so that we deliver work that stays close to people’s heart too.

All Design Is Redesign

Design is ubiquitous. Everything around us is designed to be the way it is. Design is thus never a beginning; it is always an extension, refinement and distillation.

Design is representing of intent and is generally connected to terms like creativity and innovation or often seen as a form of an art. Every design is basically about revamping an already existing idea or design. It is about innovating and making it more acceptable to suit the needs that change with time.

From Kitchens to Boardrooms- Working Moms Walk the Victory Lane

Women are splendidly kicking it on in all fields today, be it the corporate world or the sports ground,the glamour world or the parliament house; ladies are leading as businesswomen, CEOs, mothers, wives and what not. I don’t have to look very far to find a case in point, as I come across one such leading lady every single day. And I wonder how she balances work and life altogether so smoothly.

Multimodal Interaction

Technology has bestowed us with many comforts and luxuries, and made life way easier for us today. In order to use technology and its various inventions, it is vital we know how to use, accept and adopt it. Human interaction with technology takes place through desktop computers, cameras, mobile phones, internet etc. The interface between humans and system may become problematic at one point when the systems are less useful and usable. An advanced move towards building an enhanced human interaction calls for a close understanding of humans, information and various interactions. Providing the users with multiple modes of interaction with the system and offering various benefits over the conventional unimodal interaction is the step ahead. This is termed as Multimodal Interaction as it refers to the different modes available to the user for interacting. Multimodal interaction has created engaging experiences for users across different systems with multiple modalities ensuring an enhanced communication between humans and systems. Humans interact via a wide variety of modalities for communication in daily life; like speech, gestures, facial expressions, touch etc. The multimodal interaction is an effort towards humanizing the human-computer interface. Smartphone is one universally used tool that offers users with such multimodal interaction experience.

USER EXPERIENCE: AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

User experience is an indispensable part of software development and has an immense impact on the success of the software. The term user experience closely involves the user and his emotions during the usage. Be it a mobile app, website, a software, a game, a product, a machine , a service or system , User Experience is of vital importance.It is directly related to the user’s perception about the experiential aspects , convenience & competence of use and the utility of the system. With changing circumstances, it becomes necessary to keep the user experience constantly updated with time by innovating and amending it; it is beneficial to look after its dynamicity.

Business Leadership Awards 2013

Business Leadership Awards 2013

(News release report)

Source: Worldwide Achievers Pvt. Ltd  
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 11:34 AM IST (06:04 AM GMT)
Editors: General: Entertainment, People; Business: Advertising, PR & marketing, Banking & financial services, Business services, Education & training, Heavy industries, Information technology, Media & entertainment, Real estate, Telecommunications; Technology; Healthcare

Business Leadership Award Winner’s Honoured by Mr. M.S. Bitta and Subodh Kant Sahay

New Delhi, Delhi, India, Wednesday, August 14, 2013 –(Business Wire India)

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