Site visits are a valuable method for creating user-friendly interfaces. Misconceptions and prejudices, however, can prevent the approach from being used, which ultimately leads to solutions that don’t offer a great user experience. This article aims at eliminating a central misconception and at providing an overview of site visits and their goals.
Usability evaluations (such as usability inspection and usability test) are helpful for identifying potentials for usability optimization. They reveal weaknesses that prevent user-friendly solutions, e.g. when user-system interaction is impaired.
There are several aspects that can be taken into account right from the start when designing a user interface, without feedback from usability evaluations being necessary. These “usability quick wins” can thus be realized early for laying the groundworks of a user-friendly solution. This can also be beneficial for potential usability evaluations that take place later in a project, because when certain usability problems are prevented right from the start, the usability evaluations can be focused more specifically on problems that are less easily detected or prevented.
Gathering usability feedback is an important step for creating user-friendly solutions. This applies to interactive systems (software, hardware, services) that are still in development as well as to solutions that are already released and that shall be further optimized. A project team itself can usually not judge usability because after a while, organizational blindness takes hold. – Solutions appear very “intuitive” to its creators after a while, because it is impossible to view them with the eyes of a user who has never seen them before. Therefore, it is highly recommendable to have a professional usability evaluation.