Word: Touch target
Definition: The UI element or object on a touch screen that a user is expected to interact with for the purpose of completing a task.
Thoughts: Target areas should not be taken lightly because usability should always be top of mind. Nothing is more frustrating for a user than a button she has to tap over and over again because it isn’t responding to her touch.
Target areas should be large enough for a finger to tap it in one try. If you’re unsure (and even if you are sure that matter) here’s some free advice… do some usability testing!
For an example of what not to do, let’s take a look at the new iOS Podcasts app update. I don’t know about you, but the play button is the most important element I need to access here. So I’d love to know what Apple designers were thinking when they put this TEENY TINY touch target in the bottom corner. I don’t like to play hide and seek with my apps thank you very much.
This touch target is directly above the app navigation (across the bottom) as well. I can’t tell you how many times I tapped the “unplayed” item instead of the play button. See the irony here? I wouldn’t have any unplayed podcasts if I was actually able to tap the play button with ease! Sheesh! End rant.
Word: Moderated usability testing
Definition: A moderator asks questions, instructs and directs a participant through a set of tasks while ensuring that the respondent is guided in such a manner that the goals of the study are accomplished.
Thought: In a moderated usability test the moderator has specific tasks for the participant to complete and she will track these questions herself alongside the participant. The plus sides of this method is that it can can be more engaging than unmoderated testing and it leaves room for the moderator to ask followup questions and observe subtle body language clues. It is also a preferable method if the design test is complex in nature or the prototype is rough or in early stages. This way the moderator can provide advanced guidance and instruction.
In my opinion the best resource to get you started on moderated usability testing, bar none, is Steve Krug’s book “Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems.” If you have not read this book then stop reading this post right now and go do it! Seriously… do it!
On the flip side, moderated usability testing requires time and coordination. These types of tests also prove more difficult to recruit participants. It is important to remember that data could be effected by the mere presence of a moderator as well.
Question: In what types of situations have you found moderated usability testing to most effective?