Design by Testing (was Usability Budgets)

27 Oct 2004 - 10:23am
447 reads

Ziya wrote:

> I'M NOT AGAINST TESTING. I'm against 'design by testing'.

Great. I'm not for 'design by testing' either -- I'm not even sure it's
possible to do. I'm just not sure how you make Nielsen's 10% figure
equivalent to (or even related to) design by testing. It seems a huge
leap to me.

Maybe we can clarify what you mean by "design by testing" - the post you
linked to doesn't relate to my experiences, so I'm still unclear on your
meaning. I get the "testing on paying customers" story, but to me
that's not a design process, nor is waiting for customers to scream a
valid test process, even though it IS a way to get feedback on your

I AM for testing during design (i.e. iterative design with user centered
testing/feedback/eval between iterations) - you say your not against it,
but that's not the same as being FOR it or practicing it. It's in this
way that evaluation (e.g. testing) informs design.

Here's an example:
On a recent application redesign project, an evaluation of the current
version was done (multi-faceted, including a heuristic evaluation). We
then constructed a paper prototype that was tested to check bigger
application concepts and information architecture. The design was
revised and then a high fidelity prototype was constructed and tested to
check the revised concepts and visual design and interaction. Then the
design was revised and version 2.0 was launched. I consider all of
these activities part of "design", and testing and evaluation played a
key role in creating a far better design for version 2.0. I'm not sure
if that's what you call "design by testing" or not...most folks I know
call it a User Centered Design approach.

What gets tested when and how and by who are also critical



Lyle Kantrovich
User Experience Architect

Croc O' Lyle - Personal Commentary on usability, information
architecture and design.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
- Leonardo da Vinci

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