In addition to the functionality, simple to learn and problem-free software are key elements to satisfying users of software applications. To achieve this goal requires early and continuous user feedback during the development cycle. The User Day is a tool to accomplish this aim by introducing suitable user-centered tools for gathering users feedback. The User Day will check an applications design and to systematically detect difficulties with its usage. Significant design problems can be identified and corrected before the user stumbles over them at his work place.
The User Day toolkit describes different types of user-integrated testing evaluation methods cognitive walkthrough and paper prototype testing as well as discount and traditional usability testing. Each testing method, while optimized for a particular stage of the development cycle, can be used at any time during development and, in fact, all share a substantial amount of common concepts and procedures. In addition, the User Day toolkit outlines individual (sequential) and group (parallel) testing procedures.
The purpose of a User Day is to test an applications usability by checking if the applications structure and user interface matches the working practices of the user and if the user can use the application as was intended by the developer. User Days are carried out during the design (to aid design decisions), implementation and testing phases of software development. (see Figure 1)
The content and scope of a User Day depend on the status of the development project. In the early development phase, a User Day can change the basic concept of the product or the general dialog paradigm, reorganize the application structure, and optimize the rough interface design. This can help prevent the designer from clinging to a product version or design idea that does not suit the users working practices or that the user does not understand. In the later development phase, the User Day can check the final user interface and optimize any interaction issues. In this case, the User Day resembles a classic usability test.
Finally, the intention of the User Day is to evaluate and optimize the usability of software. It is not intended to use the customer as a designer, but instead as an expert of his or her work. A User Day is not a substitute for a good design work or strategic product planning.
The following initial activities should therefore be carried out prior to the User Day:
Source: User Day Toolkit