We got in to class this week to find a moleskin notebook and a candy cane as a Christmas gift from GA, which was nice!
This was a really packed week! We started out by chatting about the homework from last week, which had been to define a problem statement and project brief.
Seems like other people had found it tough too. It’s hard to define a brief for yourself and to nail it down to a MVP. At the end of the class we looked through a good example from a classmate who had used the persona quote template to define the problem statement, and created a list of features the site would need.
Business Analysis & Product Management
The first half of the main class was Business Analysis & Product Management. We learned what is involved in each of these roles. One of the guys in my class is currently a Business Analyst so we got some insight from him on how these roles relate to real world company structures.
We talked about scoping, working out requirements and business goals vs user goals. We looked at a few websites and talked about whether we could easily identify user/business goals from their homepages.
Then we got into groups for an exercise. Looking at the goal of “get to work”, we broke down the series of tasks that need to be done to complete that goal. We learnt a lot about the classmate whose routine we used!
When we were breaking down tasks, it was interesting to think about how detailed to get, . Ideally I wanted to define stages, like “top level” tasks. Such as “1. Wake up” “2. Get Ready” “3. Travel to work” and then split those down further. So “Get Ready” would include “Get Dressed” and “Eat Breakfast” and those tasks could be divided down further, for example “Make Coffee” and “Have Cereal”… then you could go even further and define each step of the coffee making process. As a group, we went about it more casually, and wrote down each stage of the process we were told.
Next up we looked at feature prioritisation. This will be really useful to apply to my (currently quite cumbersome) project brief. We looked at two different methods, MoSCoW and Kano.
MoSCoW is pretty simple, you just divide your features into:
- Must Have
- Should Have
- Could Have
- Won’t Have
With Kano, your put your features into a chart like this:
I like this two dimensional approach, enabling you to think about importance and effort at the same time.
Usability and User Testing
In the second half of class, we looked at some usability basics. We talked about the pros and cons of various different methods of user testing, like usability labs, cafe tests, remote testing, unmoderated tests (like usertesting.com) and face-to-face testing.
Face-to-face testing would usually be the preferred method and we had a go at it, in pairs. We gave our partner a task to complete on the General Assembly website and made notes while they worked through it. I wrote down the things my partner said and her actions, with little arrows next to the actions, to help differentiate them.
We also learnt about a test called SUS (System Usability System) (PDF) which is a series of 10 questions to give your users once they have completed testing your service. Users are asked to rate statements from 1-5 depending on how much they agree with them. The statements are things like:
I think that I would like to use this system frequently
I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly
I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system
I love the idea of this! The test creates a benchmark, because it has been used since the 80’s to evaluate systems. Obviously its important not to get tied down with numbers and fail to see the bigger picture, but I think it would be really useful to have some quantitative results from testing.
We also looked through the 10 usability heuristics which include things like “visibility of system status” and “help and documentation”. Basically it’s like 10 “things to look out for” when you’re evaluating a service.
Homework this week is to define some goals users would have with my service, and to break those goals down into tasks, like we did with the get to work goal in the class exercise. We have all of Christmas to work on this!