Jared Spool: The InfoDesign interview

Jared Spool: The InfoDesign interview. Jared founded the world's largest research, training and consulting firm specializing in website and product usability.

We ignore the evidence, such as Rolf Molich's amazing CUE tests, where he asked different usability teams to simultaneously evaluate the same design. Not surprisingly, every team came up with completely different results with surprisingly little overlap. Yet, nobody is questioning this and asking why we're not consistent in our output.

If we want people to believe what we do isn't just people's opinions, we better come up with consistent results. How would you like to find out that your chest X-ray, when read by ten different radiologists, had ten completely different diagnoses with virtually no agreement? Which one should you act on?

We ignore the evidence that, in the last 10 years, there has been no discernable relationship between corporate investment in user-centered design practices and the regular production of usable products from those corporations. The companies that spend the most on UCD, such as Microsoft and IBM, are notorious for regularly producing unusable products, while companies that are wowing us, such as Amazon, Dell and eBay have very small UCD investments. To put things in perspective, Microsoft has more than 120 UCD professionals on staff, IBM has more than 200, Amazon has five and Dell has two, last we checked. One of Amazon's UCD people just went on maternity leave, so they are actually running at 20% less than normal for now.

You can make a list of the 10 best designed products you can think of. If you don't want to make a list, you can use Don Norman's (http://www.jnd.org/GoodDesign.html) – who, apparently, is now the self-appointed guardian of good design. Did their design teams follow the standard processes that we promote? Nope, apparently not.

It's ironic that I found the font on the interview page hard to read and impossible to change or resize. Usability is harder than you think.

Thanks to Feedster for the link.  [PHP Everywhere]

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