Article: “UX testing that works” in GCN

Today I was referenced in “UX testing that works“, a story about the success of the CUTGroup, a user testing methodology I invented in February 2013. Here’s a snip:

The CUTGroup meets both to look for errors in the performance of an app and  to check “classic human interface design in term of the presentation of information and workflows,” said Daniel X. O’Neil, a founder of Smart Chicago and author of a bookabout the CUTGroup project.

The CUTGroup program has become part of a trend in digital systems toward user-centered design and development, according to O’Neil, now director of product development and business strategy at Ad Hoc, LLC, a software development firm with a focus on government apps.

“The move toward user-centered design, user-centered systems and the increase in the number of user researchers in government contracts is profound,” said O’Neil, adding that the “CUTGroup has provided concrete ways for designers to listen to real people for whom they are creating.”

The trend also fits the focus of the General Services Administration’s 18F and U.S Web Design Standards initiatives, which gives developers plug-and-play design and code that GSA claims set “a new bar for simplicity and consistency across government services.”

To support demand for the data and testing necessary to support a user-oriented approach to programming, developers are turning to methods like the CUTGroup.  The group aims to find people whose characteristics make them target users for a particular project. For example, testers can be sorted by the devices they use to access the internet, their familiarity with 311 services, whether they’re veterans, of whether they’re about to lose health insurance benefits.

“That kind of specificity is actually very difficult to get, and the CUTGroup allows for a really good method for recruiting regular people so they can be contacted and segmented on a moment’s notice,” O’Neil said.

ux-testing-that-works-gcn

CUTGroup Named one of 15 “bold urban policies with a proven record of success”

Today the Center for an Urban Future published a report, Innovation and the City, that lists the Civic User Testing Group, a community-based UX test ing methodology I invented in February 2013, as  one of 15 “bold urban policies with a proven record of success”. Here’s a snip:

What most civic tech projects have lacked, how- ever, is an active role for city residents. Dan O’Neil is one of the founders of the civic tech movement. As founder and executive director of Smart Chicago Collaborative, an innovation incubator sponsored through a public-private partnership, he has played an instru- mental role in Chicago’s tech endeavors. But at a certain point, O’Neil became disillusioned with the lack of public engagement in the ingenious parade of apps and special-purpose websites that have garnered so much attention and praise. He observed a lack of interest in meeting the needs of ordinary people, or even finding out what they considered their own needs to be.

Smart Chicago addressed the participation gap by shifting their focus from software development to software testing. Applications can be written by a small group of coders in a windowless room, but that’s only the beginning. In the private sector, companies convene user-experience (UX) groups to try out appli- cations or websites and report their experiences. UX groups are less common in the public sector, and O’Neil had the idea of creating one that would also empower and connect its participants.

Here’s the CUTGroup section of the report: