April 23, 2012
At first glance, this has nothing to do with e-Learning or UX, but I came across this study that illustrates what we can and cannot learn from eye-tracking. “Keeping an eye on recruiter behavior” explores what recruiters may focus on when browsing your CV. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that recruiters spent little time with each CV. On average, it took them just 6 seconds to read a resume. Accordingly, their main focus was on the key facts, i.e., name, current position, previous position and the respective dates. Other parts of the CV were merely scanned for keywords.
So, next time you write or revise your CV, think of it as a usability design task. What would make it as easy as possible for the user, i.e., the recruiter, to pick up the message you want to get across? How can you get them to read beyond the name of your previous company? In fact, I would argue that the same principles as for website design apply: strive for simplicity, use effective writing, use white space effectively, provide visual structure, highlight important information, avoid distracting graphics, etc.
Taking this idea even further, consider to do usability testing on your resume. Test early and test often. Remember, just five users will help to identify more than 80% of the issues.
September 19, 2011
This year’s International Conference on Engaging Pedagogy is coming to NCI. One of the themes mentioned in the call for papersrefers to e-Learning: “The value of technology – Are we adopting new technology just because it is new or because it makes a difference?” That’s in fact one of NELL’s main concerns. Does it actually make a difference? Is there empirical evidence that suggests we should use this technology for a particular target group or a particular subject matter?
Submissions are due October 3, 2011. The conference itself will take place on December 16, 2011, here in NCI.
September 8, 2011
You are lecturing in Higher Education. You are an expert in your subject and in how to teach that subject. But you are not a usability experts-of course not. Nevertheless, you are required to create course pages in your institution’s Virtual Learning Environment for your classes.
If the above applies to you, then we have the solution for you. We developed a Style Guide for lecturers. It is intended as a support for lecturers when creating course pages in Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) such as Moodle or Blackboard. The Style Guide offers a series of solutions of typical problems that can occur when making online materials and learning activities available.
The Style Guide is meant to be a living document. If you have any suggestions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact us or respond to this block post.
The Style Guide was developed in the context of the How do you Moodle? project and was supported by a grant from the National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL).
Just download the Style Guide and improve the learning experience of your students.
July 7, 2011
We are currently developing a new MSc in Cloud Computing. This is next big thing, I am told. It’s everywhere. Even this blog is in the Cloud if you like. There is quite a bit of confusion on what Cloud Computing really is. These days everyone wants to be in the Cloud and so naturally people just interpret the term as suits. More often than not, people seem to confuse Cloud Computing with Software as a Service (SaaS). Sure, that’s an important aspect, but as far as I can see, changes on the software side are triggered by advances on the infrastructure and platform side. Hence, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). If this trend continues, we might have UX as a Service soon.
What does Cloud Computing mean for UX? Well, at first glance there is nothing new. In fact, the user in many cases doesn’t see whether an interface is cloud-based or not, and most of them frankly don’t care either. But before you turn away, have a closer look. Here are three trends that will have an impact on UX design and evaluation.
- Thin clients: We have seen thin clients before and we will see many more of them. Whether it’s a virtual desktop or a chromebook. Thin clients come with a number of advantages for UX design: We don’t have to care as much about hardware configuration and maybe even software configuration. Things are managed and updated centrally, the user can focus on the tasks at hand. But the thin client may (potentially) come with less computing power for say some graphical effects, real-time simulation or modelling.
- Variety of devices: Even more so than now, we will access our data through an ever increasing variety of devices. Your laptop just ran out of power? Why don’t you use that plasma TV screen over there. Just login and you can continue working were you stopped. The idea is that it doesn’t matter any more where or how we access our working environment, you’ll get a comparable user experience on any device. Well as I said, that’s the idea. There is actually still quite a bit of research and development to do, before we get there. System metaphors that work on the desktop may not work on a mobile device. Layouts that work on the mobile device may be a waste in kiosk mode on a large screen.
- Mash-ups: Already now, many websites provide much more than their own information. They combine existing services and information streams into a new offer. From a software development perspective it is quite straightforward now to stick in yet another news stream, search box, video, you name it. That’s great in terms of breaths of functionality, but bad in terms of consistency. UX designers need to take care that all components have the same look & feel, behave in the same way and support the overall structure of the site. A lot can be achieved by simple CSS, but if you cannot tweak the behaviour to make it conform with the rest of your site, I would recommend to leave it out.
None of the above is revolutionary. Nevertheless, the shift towards public and private clouds, mainly driven by cost considerations, will facilitate developments such as the above. This will bring new challenges for UX. Let’s make sure UX doesn’t end up out in the rain, but up in the cloud.
June 10, 2011
We had another fantastic dot conf last week and met lots of great people and heard some interesting talks ~ I for one, will never look at My Little Pony in the same way again:-)
For those of you who missed our Deep Dive, you can access the presentation by clicking the link below:
Brought to you my Prezzi, a great on-line presentation tool.
May 27, 2011
Yes it’s back! Due to popular demand the dot conf will be running for a second year on Thursday 2 June in NCI. We had great fun last year and at the same time managed to learn a useful thing or two along the way. And once again, the team in NELL are delighted to presenting a deep dive session entitled:
The eYe Factor; how to improve your website through eye-tracking
Why come to this event?
Did you know? Vision dominates and uses 50 per cent of the brain’s cerebral cortex, which plays a key part in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness
Eye-tracking is based on the Eye-mind hypothesis that says that people look at what they are thinking about. Eye-tracking data is a useful part of UX research in that it allows us to better explain elements of people’s behaviour when they are engaging with on-line applications.
So come along and find out more about how eye-tracking works and what lessons we have learned here in NELL and how these can be used to improve your own designs.
But be warned! this is a participatory event – you might just become part of the show…