How to get MORE (and faster and cheaper) USABILITY TESTINGAs I have mentioned before, there are a few good options for remote usability testing, and all of them are more affordable than xxOf course, we do regular usability testing at Cisco. But one of the challenges we have is that it takes time to recruit users and set up tests, so we can only test functions in big “batches” a couple of times per quarter. Other companies are in the same boat: They continue to do usability testing (well, except for Apple), and remote usability testing via tools like WebEx is definitely a trend. The challenge is this: As the demand for more scientific designs increases, companies need to turn around tests faster and do more of them. Fortunately, newly emergent on the scene are extremely inexpensive services that allow you to test multiple users quickly with a video as an output. “UserTesting.com” offers this service for 15 minute tests at $19/person (see caveats below). Colin Hynes from Staples, which has a research and testing staff, has started using these quick inexpensive tests to answer quick questions and settle debates. He told a story of how Staples hosted some new designs to test on UserTesting.com at 5 PM and videotaped tests from 25 users by 8 PM that same day. Someone on the Staples.com user experience staff had to analyze the videos, but it still cut about 2 weeks out of the typical recruiting and testing cycle. You can also use this as an easy way to test other sites (e.g. Cisco could test users reactions and impressions on HPs networking and data center areas, for instance). Here are some slides that Colin Hynes provided to us about this and other alternative testing possibilities: http://ework.cisco.com/Livelink/livelink.exe?func=ll&objId=36984308&objAction=Open Cisco take and next steps: Janet Wallin is going to experiment with a couple of fast-turn remote tests like this. These by no means replace our traditional lab-based and WebEx-based testing, but might provide faster results to simple questions and may save money on facilitation time. http://www.usertesting.com/index.aspx?Price=19Caveats for UserTesting.com:· You still need to hire an expert to analyze the tests. For instance, since we don’t have a dedicated user web usability research staff we would rely on Abbot Usability or a similar firm. But it would still save many days . · Users still need to be recruited, so there can be recruiting costs. Generic recruiting is available from an existing large pool of users at the site. If you want special users types (e.g. Cisco Partners) you have to recruit these yourself. For the Mac: Silverback for the Mac… http://silverbackapp.com/
Cisco Live in Second Life TechChat: “Learn How to Keep Your Network SAFE”This TechChat featured Bill McGee, Manager, Security Solutions and Calvin Chai, Security Solutions Marketing Manager, both from Cisco. During this TechChat our speakers discussed how a solutions-based approach to security, based on the SAFE architecture, provides more comprehensive security, better risk management, and tighter visibility and control of your network than traditional, siloed security products.
Watch this archived discussion to hear how the SAFE architecture-based solution can address some of the critical threats for each place in the network (PIN), including:• Data and identity theft• Financial fraud• Compliance• Virtualization and cloud computing security • Network abuse• Service availability• Security management and operation• Cost• Lack of consistency and collaboration across products Read More »
Those Web analysts at SiteIQ, who do an extensive 2,400 point evaluation of IT Web sites, just rated Cisco.com #1 among 23 IT sites: Congrats to everyone who works so diligently on our online presence!Of course, we continue to work on and improve the site every day, and have some great new things ahead.You can read SiteIQ’s full article on their site.
This TechChat featured Sriram Balasubramanian, Technical Marketing Engineer, LAN Switching Business Unit (LSBU) and Rik Irons-Mclean, Systems Engineer, UK Public Sector “green” lead. During this TechChat our speakers will discuss how going green is good for your business and the environment and how Cisco is uniquely positioned with the only innovative technology in the networking industry that directly targets energy consumption by expanding the role of the network to measure, reduce, and report energy consumption of IT and non-IT devices, including IP-enabled building field controllers.View the archive of this discussion to understand how Cisco EnergyWise enables you to:• Optimize business operations and cut costs• Comply with government directives• Create competitive differentiation• Address the 98 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that are not directly under the control of IT• Affect companywide energy usage Read More »
Being that we’re #17 on Interbrand’s “Best Global Brands” list, you can bet Cisco has all kinds of brand guidelines, page templates, wireframing kits, component documentation, and other tools to keep our presentation looking consistent and our online experiences well designed.But perhaps the most useful and effective tool we’ve created for our online designers and design agencies are some simple “cheat sheets” that serve as a quick visual reference for the style we’re creating with web pages, Flash, and other online experiences. Here’s an example:These simple style sheets have been a big hit with everyone who’s used them; they can hold them up against their own work in progress, and instantly judge whether their creative work “looks like Cisco.” If you don’t have something like this in use at your company, I heartily recommend creating one that captures the essence of your organization’s brand identity and style, and making it widely available.