For those who don’t know you Matt can you please introduce yourself.
My name is Matt Milosavljevic, I’m a Melbourne, Australia based web designer and developer. I’ve been building things online for the last 10 years, most notably I co-founded two companies – BugHerd & UsabilityHub.
UsabilityHub was born from FiveSecondTest, can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
FivesecondTest came about after reading “Designing the Obvious” by Robert Hoekman Jr. In it Robert explained that five second tests were great for measuring the clarity of a design, but trick to set up because they required a large group of participants in the same place at the same time.
Making user testing available online seemed like a great way to solve that problem and a friend and I put together a quick prototype and sent it off to Robert. He ended up loving it so much that he used it to conduct a live usability study with the audience at the An Event Apart conference and things kind of took off from there. Over the years we’ve added other tests to the platform and the ability to order dedicated testers and we eventually turned the service into usabilityhub.com
We recommend Usability Hub to our students but can you tell us your favourite parts of your platform?
My favourite aspect of UsabilityHub is how fast and easy it is to get results. You can quickly sketch up a design on paper, take a photo and get 20 people giving you feedback on it in just a few minutes. It works particularly well in an educational setting as you can set up and run a user testing study, and be analysing your results in the span of a single class period.
What type of projects benefit most from your system and why?
The typical use case on usabilityhub.com is testing interface designs. More and more of the interactions we make during any given day are done via a user interface so it makes sense that those are most commonly tested but people also use the platform to iterate on logos and advertising material. We even had a customer use five second and click tests to iterate on a book cover design.
User testing – You invite people to become testers, can you tell us more about how our trainees could get involved?
Yes, we invite people to sign up as testers and anyone can do so here. Participating in user testing allows you to get insights into the kinds of things people are testing and measuring and allows you to earn money as well.
Do you have any success stories that come to mind from your users?
We have a very large variety of customers and use cases so there’s a lot of great examples to draw on. One that has a potentially large global impact is a study by researchers at Harvard and Columbia using UsabilityHub to measure how people interact with Google search pages and the implications that can have on competing services. You can read more about their findings and how they are being used here.
What is Usability Hub built on? What languages/systems/platforms do you use?
We have a small development team so we like to keep our technology stack simple. We use Ruby as our language of choice and Rails as the underlying framework. Our application is hosted on Heroku and we use Stripe for payments which gives us pretty robust infrastructure to build on while letting us stay focused on our product.
We believe in always learning so what websites/publications do you read to keep your skills toned?
I tend to consume content more geared at design thinking and problem solving these days and I find Medium to be a great for that. Below are some great publications to bookmark:
Dear Design Student – is an advice publication for designers. Answered by designers.
Facebook Design – stories from designers at Facebook offices across the world.
The Year of the Looking Glass – A collection of essays by Julie Zhuo on design, building products, and observing life.
Another great resource that often provides interesting insights into creative thinking is 99% Invisible, which happens to produce my favourite podcast.
Can you give our UX trainees three pieces of advice to help their new careers?
Curiosity and empathy are two skills worth cultivating for a user experience designer. It’s useful to read up on best practices and learn from other people’s experience but ultimately any given audience is going to be unique in some way and the best way to design for their experience is to understand and relate to their perspective. Take the time to engage with the people you’re designing for, send out surveys, get on the phone to talk to them, schedule face to face meetings, get in touch early, get in touch after some time, ask open ended questions, ask constrained ones too and don’t feel afraid to challenge their assumptions from time to time.
Where can people find out more about you and your amazing platform?
We’re at usabilityhub.com and @usabilityhub on Twitter. The service is free to sign up and you can access most of the features and recruit up to 20 of your own testers per test without spending any money.
We’re always available to help and answer any questions and we’re genuinely interested in helping people get the most out of not just our tools but user testing in general so feel free to get in touch 🙂