Nick DeNardis

User experience, code, higher education, analytics and accessibility.

Refresh Detroit March Meeting

So I attended the Refresh Detroit (opens new window) meeting a few days ago in Ann Arbor, MI. The speaker was Barb Hernandez, User Experience Manager at TechSmith. She talked about refreshing the UI of SnagIt.

SnagIt is a screen capture application for Windows. I am not familiar with too many trialware applications for windows since its not part of my daily routine. But I know there are quite a few programs like this out there since it is not a built in feature.

She went over the previous UI and some initial problems they identified. Then brought everyone through how they do user testing and what methods they found useful to make changes to the UI.

My opinion was they did a good job, I am not use to software being so clunky since I work mainly on the web and on Apple products so the UI changes they made looked pretty good. Hard to relate them to the web tho since Windows has a pretty constricting (boring imo) layout options.

It was interesting how their process worked. They did impression testing where they showed the mockup for 5 seconds then asked the participants to sketch as much as they remember. They also used emotion cards but she did not explain exactly how they conducted it, she just showed a list which seemed to be completely contradictory items, not very much help.

One thing I was disappointed about was how she made a big deal about Ethnographic Testing (opens new window) but could not explain how they conducted it or really explain it in any detail because it would ruin their “next release”. Funny because all the people in the room were pretty much from the web world and they are releasing it in the next few weeks, its not like we would have stole their idea and recreate their software.

Anyways, all in all it was a good meeting. Talking more with the Refresh Detroit leadership really got me excited for the upcoming meetings.

To see if there is a refreshing meeting near you checkout the Refreshing Cities (opens new window) site. It is a great way for web developers, designers and usability professionals to get together and learn from each other.