Usability Consulting Services

Overview

Requirements Gathering

Customer Interviews
   and Profiles

Competitive Analysis

Design

Whiteboard Design Sessions

UI Guidelines and Standards

Evaluation

Expert Reviews

Usability Testing

User Acceptance Testing

Usability Staffing and Usability Management Services

Remote Mentoring

Team Management

Adjunct Staffing

How We Do Business

Useful Products

Terms and Conditions

No Risk Usability

About The Usability Team

Staff

Testimonials

History

Contact Us

The Usability Team, Customer Extranet

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Overview, Usability Consulting Services

Selecting a service provider can be difficult. Experience, approach, price, and fulfillment all play a critical part in evaluating the many consultancies. The Usability Team wants to make this process easier. As you read through our service offerings, we classify each service based on three parameters:

  • Which phase of the product development lifecycle to deploy the service in.
  • What critical business questions a service can answer.
  • How a service can make your product or solution more useful.

At the risk of appearing to advocate a one-size-fits-all approach to services, we have mapped some services to the above three questions. The take-away from this matrix is that some activities should be done early in a product's lifecycle and that some can be done any time. It all depends on what you want to accomplish.

  Plan Develop Deploy
Where are we losing money or opportunity? Customer Interviews and Profiles  
Competitive Analysis  
Usability Testing  
I want some UCD help, but I don't know what I need. Expert Reviews
UI Guidelines and Standards
I'm about to start a new product development initiative; how can I build usability in? Whiteboard Design Sessions
I've got a usability hiring or management challenge. Remote Mentoring
Team Management

Questions You Might Ask Yourself

If you've read this far, you likely have some questions about the usefulness of your company's products, websites, internal applications. We'd like to help you answer these questions, and we think they probably sound something like this:

  • Where are we losing money or opportunity?
  • Why are people leaving my website without buying?
  • I've read about some usability methods and want to implement them, but which ones should I choose?
  • Why is customer support so inundated?
  • I'm about to start a new product development initiative; how can I build usability in?

These seem like simple questions, but sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. Often, evaluating what's wrong with a product can be answered by a few customer interviews. Determining how to fix an issue can be accomplished through a competitive evaluation, whiteboard design sessions, or basic task analysis.

For each service we provide, we can help you answer the pressing questions you have about your product's success. Look for "Questions Answered" in the description of each service.

Product Development Lifecycle

We do not specifically advocate any specific development philosophy: Agile, XP, waterfall, and MSF are all appropriate ways to architect a product, given that specific attention has been paid to the culture of your developer organization, your development goals, and the type of product you are developing.

We align our services with three basic phases which you should find parallels to in any development lifecycle: Plan, Develop, Deploy. 

  • During the Plan phase, we take baseline measurements from any existing versions of the product, set goals for usability, quality, and market fit, and do upfront customer research and analysis. 
  • In the Develop phase, we work with your developers and product managers to iteratively design the product, while testing prototypes with customers and validating requirements throughout. 
  • During Deployment, we evaluate quality, validate usability and market fit, and address launch and support issues such as development of documentation, final testing, and compilation of requests for future enhancements.

As you browse our services, you can identify where in your lifecycle we'd ideally deploy each service we offer. Look for this information in "Phase" for each service.

Usefulness Realized

We believe that a product's usefulness drives its adoption. No matter what sort of product it is: hardware, software, web site, device, service, it needs to possess three fundamental characteristics:

  • Usability: the product must be designed in such a way that it is immediately intuitive, doesn't impede the user's ability to use it, and allows for efficient and productive usage.
  • Quality: the product must be developed free of bugs, must have an adequate support system, and must be deployed in such a way that users don't experience any overhead as a result of infrastructure issues. 
  • Market Fit: the product should serve the needs of its target user. It should be available at the right time, in the right place, and at the right price. It should do everything the target user needs, and nothing they don't need.

This "Usefulness Characteristic" drives everything we do, and it is a true triumvirate: no product will survive without some of each aspect. We can help you determine what the appropriate blend of usability, quality, and market fit is for your product. As you look through our catalog of services, you'll notice the "Usefulness Characteristic" section, where we share how these services will augment your capabilities in each aspect of the usefulness characteristic.

Usability consulting, usability testing, customer profile, and paper prototyping services from The Usability Team.

It's hard to find good help.

The Usability Team finds solutions to your business problems by using proven user-centered design methods in pragmatic and efficient ways.

The Usability Team - Usability Consulting Services

Copyright © 2007 - Randolph Bias, Scott Butler, and Richard Gunther. All rights reserved.