Types of Usability Consulting

Most commonly The Usability Consulting Service is asked to look at user interfaces for web or software applications. We use a number of methods to evaluate user interfaces and provide feedback on how to improve them. Some well known methods we employ include:

Card Sorts
Open and Closed card sorts are excellent for evaluating taxonomies and developing navigational strategies.

Paper Prototypes
Paper prototypes allow for quick changes to interface designs through the use of “sketches”. They are extremely flexible, cost effective, and an excellent means of evaluating page layout and design before implementation.

We use Morae software to capture the user, audio and the computer screen which allows for further review and the creation of video “highlight” reels. This type of evaluation is well suited to reviewing existing web sites and user interfaces.

Client Coaching

We can also coach clients on how to perform their own evaluations, because usability needs to be an iterative, progressive, integral part of the workflow. A Usability Expert works with unit staff demonstrating how to plan, facilitate, and run evaluations, as well as how to recognize issues and suggest improvements.

What is a Typical Engagement Like?

A Usability Expert sits down with the client and assess the project to determine:

  • Scope of the project
  • Major audiences
  • Interaction needs
  • Best Evaluation Method(s)

We then run a primary and secondary round of usability evaluations with users from each major audience. After each round of evaluations, we analyze the results and provide feedback. We strongly encourage active participation from our client's department to experience the process and feedback firsthand.

To contact a Usability Expert, email: usabilityconsulting@illinois.edu.