7 Controversial Usability Predictions Results


So How Did My Earlier 7 Controversial Usability Predictions Turn Out from 5 Years Ago?

Results-7-Controversial-Usability-Predictions-2010-326x235-UsefulUsabilityFive years ago, I published a post of 7 controversial usability predictions for 2010. So what were the results? Did my prognostications come true? Did I get them right?

So with 100 percent transparency, and a small amount of trepidation on my part, let us review how my predictions turned out.

For those of you who need may need a refresher on my 2010 controversial usability predictions, here they are with a brief update on how I did:

  1. The cost of conducting usability testing will decrease by a factor of 10.

I think I nailed this one (means I got it correct for those of you not up on U.S. slang).

Costs for conducting usability testing are a fraction of what they were five to six years ago. Why? Primarily because more and more firms and consultants are using remote moderated and un-moderated usability testing in place of expensive in-person testing at remote locations.

Remote moderated and un-moderated usability testing tools enable research to be conducted for a fraction of what it costs to fly a team to a remote location, rent a facility or hotel room, schedule and conduct the tests, pay for food, travel and lodging for the team, fly them back, and wait for their results.  The savings easily beat the factor of 10 prediction I made.

Add to that that there are now a plethora of low cost remote moderated and un-moderated usability testing tools available, and the savings are even greater.

  1. There will be a dramatic increase in the use of low cost web-based usability testing tools.

Again, nailed it!

Looking out at the tools available today, (you can see a recent list in my 14 usability testing tools article), it’s clear that web and mobile based solutions are plentiful, and seem to be added to daily.

  1. True usability ROI will continue to elude usability practitioners

I think I mostly got this one right, and that this statement is still mostly true, as I have witnessed some firms who have become able to accurately predict their Return On Investment (ROI) for usability. But, sadly, I’ve seen plenty of other firms that are still clueless about usability and ROI.

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It helps to have people like Jeff Sauro of Measuring Usability providing helpful information on how to measure and estimate ROI for usability. But I am going to go out on a limb here and state that there are still plenty of organizations and consultants who have no idea how improved usability adds to their bottom line.

  1. Use of remote moderated usability testing will increase by a factor of 10

This one I think I missed. Firms that provide remote un-moderated usability testing like UserTesting, UsabilityTools, Loop11 and plenty more have experienced tremendous growth in utilization. But to a certain extent, that growth has I believe come at the expense of conducting usability testing sessions using remote moderated methods.

I have to admit that even for myself, it is sometimes easier, faster and quicker to conduct un-moderated remote usability testing versus moderated remote sessions. The allure of obtaining results in 10 minutes sometimes pulls decisions to use remote un-moderated, when in fact remote moderated would have been equal to or potentially better for a particular test.

Remote moderated will never go away, but because it takes more leg work to set up and administer it will probably never see utilization increase anywhere near remote un-moderated utilization.

  1. The UK will become a major source of usability expertise

Nailed it! Have you seen the huge number of UX and Usability conferences in the UK? Here’s a list of the UK’s past 337 UX events from Lanyrd. Yes! 337 events!

There are also scores of UX, Design and IA shops in the British Isles. The UK is no slouch when it comes to usability expertise. Our friends over the pond have embraced all things usability and UX and have used it to great extent. Is there room to do more? Of course, but considering the number of full time usability and UX shops that were there five years ago versus today, there has been tremendous growth in this area. So raise a hefty pint of ale, and three cheers in celebration of usability expertise in the UK!

  1. The phrase User Experience Design will become overused and almost meaningless

I’ll give myself a partial correct on this one. True, UX is now a far more common term than usability and in some ways UX has killed Usability. And true, most business folks or non-techies may not know one from the other, but still, there has been some consolidation and standardization of the term user experience design that most in our circle understand and use. It’s far from meaningless, so although there are still multiple ways to define ‘UX,’ the common theme of the experience a user has with a product, website, application or whatever seems to be fairly well understood.

  1. Without professional certification being required, more and more charlatans will be attracted to usability

I’ll give myself a partial correct on this one. A Certification course, test and certified practitioner list still eludes our ranks. I would have hoped the User Experience Professional’s Association could have made some progress on this in the past five years, but sadly that is not the case.

I have seen plenty of suspect ‘UX Audits’ and ‘Usability Reports’ floating around that seem to be very sub-standard in terms of actual UX and Usability expertise. Still, for the most part the players continue to be the players, and new consultants that pop-up for the most part seem to be interested in doing the right thing by their clients and providing real value. I may have been a bit negative in my attitude on this one. But still, until there is an official Certification and evaluation of practitioners, it really is a ‘buyer beware’ world for our prospective customers.

Conclusion: How I did On My 7 Controversial 2010 Usability Predictions

So overall I scored myself with:

  • 3 Correct
  • 3 Partially Correct
  • 1 Incorrect

How would you score my predictions? Do you agree with my scoring? Be sure to leave your comments below!