Walkthroughs - Lessons Learned

Last time I presented new AMY functionalities to some AMY users. The goal was to make improvements based on users’ feedback. In this post, I describe what I have learned during these walkthroughs.

1. Other people may use different browser

Do you know that autocomplete fields don’t work under Safari? I would never discover that if I didn’t do walkthroughs, just because I don’t have any access to a Mac.

2. Do not use database nomenclature

In our database schema, there is Person model representing AMY accounts. Therefore, I used “person” word in a lot of places. For example, when you accept an application from a wanna-be SWC/DC Instructor, you need to:

  • create an account for this person or

  • choose an existing account, if this person has already an account.

In the first version, the buttons to do this were labeled:

  • accept & match to selected person

  • accept & match to a new person

It wasn’t clear what the buttons are for. It’s much better when you name them:

  • accept & match to selected trainee account

  • accept & create new trainee account

3. Workflow must be described

You may be tempted to think that if you design interface in a clean and elegant way, users will know what they need to do from the first glance. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work like that. You need to describe the workflow, that is what they need to do in a particular situation. You can explain it in a manual or during a demo.

4. Users often do not read

If a field should be ignored in some cases, it’s not enough to add help text “leave this field blank in such and such situation”. Just hide them. Some people are really fast and want to make their work done quickly.

5. Interview a lot of users

There were no big room for improvement pointed by everybody. Instead, I’ve got a lot of proposals of small improvements. Every user noticed something different, so it’s better to interview a lot of users.

Let me enumerate three small improvements that were proposed, so you get the idea that they’re minor (but important!) issues:

  • It matters where do you redirect users after successful form submission. They usually want to go back to the page where they came from.

  • Using double negation is a bad idea. If you have a filter labeled “Has unevaluated option?”, don’t force them to guess which option (“Yes” or “No”) they want to use. Instead, make a checkbox like this one:

  • When you have two buttons to send a form, put “or” between them:

About Krzysztof Chris Mędrela

I'm a Python Trainer. I deliver risk-free customized workshops on testing, Python, Django and Data Analysis in Europe.

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