The dev team recently got showed up by the newspaper iPad team. Their usability testing was awesome.
Firstly, they actually did some usability testing.
Secondly, the subjects were from a range of teams and “ranks”.
Thirdly, the tests were with one subject and one observer at a time. As a subject, i found that this approach made it easy to have a proper conversation. It was open, engaging, enjoyable and didn’t take up much time.
It was a contrast to product meetings which i find can be riddled with groupthink, politics and, i confess, boredom. (For more on groupthink check out “Irrationality” chapters 3-7).
Maybe we can take the awesomeness to the next level. Usability testing is late in the process… what if we applied a similar approach earlier? To mockups. The ideas/concept stage. Work in progress.
On the dev team we do seek feedback. But usually only from the relevant stakeholder, not from elsewhere. Maybe we can recruit people via Chatter (especially if they say in their bio what their pet projects are).
And we should seek out opinions from the frontline such as the developers implementing the feature or the writers who will be using it day-in day-out.
I suspect we often look for validation, not a fresh perspective. Maybe getting just one or two other people’s views could make a difference.
Maybe we could stick a mockup/concept/screenshot on the kitchen/toilet wall with a space for feedback.
Feedback is good. Engaging other teams is good. It might just conjure up some innovation along the way. I intend to find out 🙂