A List Apart

Menu Issue № 294

Learn what usability testing is and isn't good for; discover the five warning signs of a bad client relationship (and what to do about them).

Getting to No

by Greg Hoy · 38 Comments

A bad client relationship is like a bad marriage without the benefits. To avoid such relationships, or to fix the one you're in, learn the five classic signs of trouble. Recognizing the never-ending contract revisionist, the giant project team, the vanishing boss and other warning signs can help you run successful, angst-free projects.

The Myth of Usability Testing

by Robert Hoekman Jr. · 29 Comments

Usability evaluations are good for many things, but determining a team's priorities is not one of them. The Molich experiment proves a single usability team can't discover all or even most major problems on a site. But usability testing does have value as a shock treatment, trust builder, and part of a triangulation process. Test for the right reasons and achieve a positive outcome.

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Columnists

Rian van der Merwe on A View from a Different Valley

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The people who determine product strategy move through a world of analysts, media, division leads, shareholders, stakeholders, monetization, and marketability. They seldom get a chance to come back to the corner where users and designers mingle. Rian van der Merwe suspects that increasing the communication distance between the decision makers and the product’s builders and users leads to a loss of perspective—and the results are products with marketable features that no one really needs.

From the Blog

On Our Radar: Pretty Advanced Machine Learning

Between bots and blogging, newsrooms are getting into Slack in some very cool ways (take some inspiration and apply for a Knight-Mozilla Fellowship!). Plus more recommended reading: revisiting Cameron’s World; the joy of generalists; the finer points of faving; and one really excellent gif of cats.

Building to Learn

Whether you're just getting started on the web, or trying to pick up a new framework, Susan Robertson has a radical idea: build something that interests you. Sure, there are courses and tutorials out there to walk you through it, but a project you're actually excited about will help you solidify those skills and make them easier to recall when you need them most.