QUANT: The “Other” Analysis.

In todays world, Digital products are interwoven into the functions of daily life whether for business, social or personal purposes. The quality of these digital platforms or products go along way in the total experience for the intended audience. User centered designed digital products are needed and are growing in demand, hence a measure of the usability is an important but sometimes overlooked or dreaded activity for the caretakers of these platforms. However, for a platform to continue to engage its users and lure in new users, it is imperative timely and efficient quantifiable measures of the usability need to be taken into consideration for the insightful upkeep and continual use of any such digital product.

Introduction

In life when problem solving, there are usually two parts to every problems equation, the question being one part and the answer the other. Both parts to the equation are relatively important as for some, the more important part is what the question is and others what the final answer is. This is somewhat the unspoken conversation in Usability research. For User Experience experts there are two common types of analysis done in the field namely, qualitative which is more subjective and the other quantitative, the boring yet other important fact grounding part. Depending on what is more important to the UX expert or organization attention is paid to one or the other, with qualitative being the more favored most of the time. With increasing methodologies and theories popping up in the growing User Experience field, it is important to be able to accurately identify and quantify any assumptions made about platforms and its user. Many leaders in the field propose that qualitative data alone lacks substantial validation without being applied in a quantitative manner, and quantitative data cannot exist without qualitative data. In recent times, there are growing number of platforms and books dedicated to such studies, like Quantifying the User Experience by Jeff Sauro, a thought leader in the UX Quantitative analysis field. The idea is for these conversations to help in making the case for quantitative analysis during usability research amongst audiences.

Definition

So what is Quantitative or Quant analysis in UX design and why is it relevant in digital platform usability? According to JAKOB NIELSEN,  Nielsen Norman group, “Quantitative analysis is a process that gives an indirect assessment of the usability of the design”(Nielsen, 2006).It can be based on users’ performance on a given task, for example task-completion times, success rates, number of errors or can reflect participants’ perception of usability, satisfaction ratings (Nielsen, 2006).While quants can factor and give us an idea of the level of usability of a site, it doesn’t go into the details of what makes it so usable. It is like the yin to the yang of qualitative or qual analysis. quant studies usually focus on the  numbers or “how many” types of questions focusing on the users performance rate and when properly gathered from a sizeable amount of a sample, such research can then be converted into qualitative.

Application

So is Quant analysis really necessary and is it really time consuming? There are a lot of misconceptions and studies associated with quant usabilities which contributes to the reason most people avoid it or are intimidated by it. One of the more popular misconceptions is that you need a super larger set of data to sample. Quant is not that complex and not always time consuming, however there are a few concepts that need to be taken into consideration during Quant usability that past research/ers recommend.  According to Sauro, concepts to be mindful of are the power, the confidence level of detecting a difference, the probability value, sample size and the confidence intervals(Sauro, 2012). Confidence intervals is the one area where most User Experience experts get overwhelmed during quant usability research but there is hope as more efficient methodologies are being introduced to the field. For example methodologies like the Adjusted-Wald Binomial confidence interval, a promising emerging trend. The adjusted Wald Binomial interval is different from the traditional Wald interval, because in the equation x and n values are adjusted to get an adjusted value of P. According to Jeff Sauro, the amount of inaccuracy of the analysis really depends on the extent to which the sample fails to represent the population, so exercising care when selecting samples is important(Sauro, 2012). 

Conclusion

In summary, Quantitative analysis is important because it helps ground research and recommendations in facts. While quantitative usability is important, it is not important because of the numbers associated with it but rather the insights that are garnered from overall usage. This quantitative analysis statistical significance helps in the process of making more informed decisions, which reinforces and ultimately contribute to great design.

 

References
JAKOB NIELSEN, Quantitative Studies: How Many Users to Test? ,June 26, 2006. Retrieved from: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/quantitative-studies-how-many-users/
Jeff Sauro, Jim Lewis, A New Formula for Quantitative UX Decision Making. August 7, 2012. Retrieved from http://uxmag.com/articles/a-new-formula-for-quantitative-ux-decision-making
Jeff Sauro, Measuring U, FIVE CRITICAL QUANTITATIVE UX CONCEPTS . September 25 2012.  Retrieved from https://measuringu.com/five-hard-quant/
Jenna Erickson, Usability Geek, UX Designers: Do Not Be Scared Of Quantitative Data. April 10, 2017. Retreived from: https://usabilitygeek.com/ux-designers-quantitative-data/RALUCA BUDIU.  
Quantitative vs. Qualitative Usability Testing, October 1, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/quant-vs-qual/

Design Critique: Capital One Bank – (Website Desktop).

Introduction

The website being reviewed for this critique is a Capital One bank website. The bank provides both app and desktop digital platforms for customers. The platform I will be looking at is a personal user account from a desktop computer. For most financial institutions today customer retention is a tough task and converting new users is even harder. So banks must be innovative in what services they provide to gain and retain customers. Most banks try to provide products of value to their customers, these products must be accessible, easy to understand and use. This platform is designed to give Capital One customers, of which I am one, convenient access to their account. As a current user of the website I will be critiquing two areas I frequently interact with, namely the Landing page and Essential Checking Account page. The ideas I will be using to critique the website are concepts from Don Norman’s “The design of Every Day Things” .

 

The Landing page

My Critique of this website comes at an appropriate time, as the website has just been recently redesigned. At a point in mid 2017 I had 2 versions of the website interface appear on my screen, that was a little confusing(Looking back I wish I had taken a screenshot) I now realize they were preparing me for the final transition to this new interface. 

Visibility

The landing page of the current website is free of excess text, a good visibility practice to reduce overwhelming text to the eyes. The page also only reflects my three account areas (Essential Checking Account, Simple Savings Account, Venture One-Credit card). The use of this one page to reflect all three account areas reduces complexity and the potential of visual overload. This immediate access to the main areas also makes for quick discoverability, closing the gulf of execution in comparison to the old webpage process when searching for the other areas of my account. 

Natural Mapping:

To access the website further you hover over one of the boxes of the three account areas (Essential Checking Account, Simple Savings Account, Venture One-Credit card) Once you click on the box you are led to a new page where more information pertaining to the task you are looking to carry out is visible. This reveals a level of progressive disclosure as you only find out that each box is meant to be clicked when you move to click on the pay bill or view account widgets/buttons.

Signifiers:

This current Webpage has more design signifiers to que the user towards the actions that need to be taken, rather than using text to drive the action. For instance the new webpage has a widget that just says “Pay Bill” compared to the old box that explained “If you would like to pay your bill click here”

Essential Checking Account Page

Once you land on the Essential Checking account page the user notices the top banner has arrows that again act as signifiers to guide you forward towards a new page or backwards towards the previous page you came from.

Constraints:

Another area that was updated on the current website was the ability to edit a payment transfer transaction. On the old account you could not edit the transaction once it had been completed which was a frustrating constraint but now on this new website you are given a pop up box after a transaction has been made.

Feedback:

 At the end of each transaction there is text confirmation that the transaction has been carried out so I see this as helpful feedback, which helps in closing previous disparities in the gulf of evaluation on the old website. In the past on the previous website, the action might have happened after I clicked the send button but there was not a clear indicator that the action had worked. I can remember times I logged off worried if I needed to carry out the action again.

Recommendation

In looking to recommendations I can make for the user experience on this new website, it would be along the lines of user action confirmation which can be achieved through sound, Norman also talks about use of sound in his book. Users want to make sure actions they carry out on a page work and they don’t have to repeat an action twice. While a properly functioning website that responds to actions and clicks is the ideal goal, I believe integrating sound into a click action can be a feedback, a type of additional experience that helps the user confirm his action was properly done.

Conclusion

Altogether I believe this new website has taken into consideration a lot of user experience best practices along the lines of Don Norman’s principle  like signifiers, visibility, feedback and other principles like the gulf of execution and evaluation. While the website still has areas one can argue can be improved, I can feel an easier flow of use as I interact and execute different functions on the update website.

 

Design Critique: Capital One Bank – (Website Desktop).