I think user centered design is really important and I normally enjoy doing user testing and working to make designs that focus on user needs and desires. In fact, if I were going to write a step-by-step guide to interface design “know your users” would be at the top of my list, followed closely by “define functional goals based on user needs.” However, in the last few weeks I have had the nagging feeling that I have been ignoring my users. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have this experience but I have realized a little late that I don’t really know what my potential users want, or how they will be using the content we are providing. This post on TechEssence was a good reminder for me.

So, I apologize to my (potential) users, and although I feel like I’m in a time crunch, I will be changing gears around here for a while to focus on a usability testing. First on the list: Heuristic evaluations and focus groups to facilitate conversations with potential users about the site as it is, and the kind of functionality they are looking for in an online research application.


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