When to Ask and When to Shut Up: How to Get Visitor Feedback on Digital Interactives

How-to Session
Tanya Treptow, Centralis, USA, Kathi Kaiser, Centralis, USA

Published paper: When to ask and when to shut up: How to get visitor feedback on digital interactives

While it is critical to talk to visitors about their experiences, getting constructive feedback on digital interactives is not as simple as just asking. When visitors encounter usability issues, they may know that they are confused, but not why or what to do about it. In this how-to session, you’ll learn observational and interviewing techniques that go beyond what visitors can tell you to reveal what they know, how they think, and what they need.

We’ll begin by describing common sources of frustration in digital experiences, such as lack of clarity about purpose, difficulty navigating available options, ambiguous language, and challenges with physical manipulation. We’ll use real-life examples from museums and other institutions to illustrate these difficulties and how the causes of the problems may not be evident by only watching visitors or asking them questions.

Next, we’ll demonstrate a series of techniques for observing and interviewing users that enable you to diagnose the underlying causes of their difficulties. Hypothesis testing, just-in-time probing, echoing and progressive disclosure and other approaches can unlock the underlying causes of usability issues. Visitors come in all kinds, so we’ll also share tips for drawing out people who are shy, focusing participants who stray off track, and gathering constructive criticism from those who are overly eager to please.

You’ll leave the session excited to gather feedback from your visitors and armed with new skills to do so!

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