Usability study: beliefs are more important than requirements

Have you ever heard "no one would do that"..."every user knows that" types of answers? You knew it's wrong. You've dealt with it.

And now here's a great article by Jakob Nielsen in today's tip: Mental Models.

Please read the entire article via the link provided, I put here just a few lines (per author's copyright requirements).

  • What users believe they know about a UI strongly impacts how they use it.

  • Individual users each have their own mental model.

  • Many of the usability problems we observe in studies stem from users having mixed-up mental models that confuse different parts of the system.

Before I thought of "role-based testing" in terms of user access type roles and security settings. I see now how to enrich my exploratory testing scenarios based on mental model simulation: a newbie user, a "quick-clicker", a multitasker, came-from-competitor user,... list goes on.

Share your experience with us.