Customer research, product strategy, and design evaluation services

Perfetti Media is a Boston-based consulting and training firm that helps product managers and design teams create products that delight their customers. We work with teams to conduct up-front customer interviews to define product features, develop user profiles to guide the product design, and run usability studies to evaluate the design concepts.

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Perfetti Media Blog

July 6th, 2011

Video: Adventurous Usability Techniques for the Seasoned Pro

By Christine Perfetti

Earlier this year, I was thrilled to present at the Webstock 2011 Conference in Wellington, New Zealand. In addition to teaching the Usability Bootcamp workshop, I presented my short presentation, Adventurous Usability Techniques for the Seasoned Pro.

Thanks to the fantastic organizers of Webstock, you can now watch the video of my presentation: Adventurous Usability Techniques for the Seasoned Pro.

What novel techniques do you use to evaluate your designs? I'd love to hear from you.

June 23rd, 2011

Miss my talk at the Confab Conference? Join me for a free online tutorial on July 14th

By Christine Perfetti

This May, I was thrilled to present at Confab, Brain Traffic's wonderful conference for content strategists. In my presentation, I shared techniques that content strategists can start using immediately to assess how well their work impacts a design or product's success.

If you couldn't attend this fantastic conference, you can still hear the techniques I shared at the event -- many only practiced by the most adventuresome designers, usability professionals, and content strategists.

On July 14th, I will be presenting the free 75-minute webinar, Essential Techniques for Measuring Your Content's Success. We only have 80 available seats. so make sure to sign up quickly!

March 7th, 2011

March 24th Free Online Tutorial: Advanced Usability Techniques for the Seasoned Pro

By Christine Perfetti

Usability research is pretty straight forward. Find some users, put them in front of a design, have them execute a task or two, take some notes, write a report, and call it a night, right? Not quite. There are many advanced techniques which, when implemented effectively, can drastically improve the success of your research.

On March 24th, I will be presenting a free online tutorial to share these techniques with you: Advanced Usability Techniques for the Seasoned Pro. We've limited the online tutorial to 50 seats to guarantee I have time to address your questions.

Read the rest of this entry »

January 12th, 2011

Robust personas don’t guarantee success

This week, Adaptive Path's Todd Wilkins wrote an excellent blog post on Avoiding Half-Baked Personas. In his post, Todd warns design teams that personas based on fiction can lead to misguided design decisions. Todd writes:

I’ve written about the tension between truth and fiction in personas before. In that tension is the power of personas as a design tool but it is also their greatest potential weakness. Too much fiction leads to misguided design. Too little fiction leads to uninspired design.

I spend a lot of my time reminding clients that robust personas won't guarantee a successful design. It's not just about creating the personas. While personas based on real data can vastly improve designs, the real benefit of the persona research is getting members of the team out into the field to observe real users and learn about their context, goals, and desires. 

Personas act as a reminder to people about what they learned when observing users out in the field. The important thing teams should remember is that a persona's primary purpose is to communicate what they already learned about users through the research.

In my experience, the process of developing the personas happens after the team has already gained the REAL value from the research: watching users in their natural environment and learning about their context. That's why I encourage all members of the design team to attend at least one session, if not more. Without the team's involvement and participation in the research, even the most robust personas often stagnate, with no one in the organization attending to the research.

When working with clients to develop personas, my goal is to develop personas that are robust. But the most important goal is to establish an ongoing process of gathering user research at the organization. Ideally, organizations reach the point where every member of the design, product, customer support, engineering, and marketing team can say they've had first-hand exposure to a user within the last month.

January 11th, 2011

Interview: Bringing Usability Testing Into Your Organization

The great folks at Above the Fold Design recently interviewed Christine Perfetti about the benefits of usability testing and ways to get teams immersed in the research. Here's an excerpt:

How do you get stakeholders excited about usability testing?

Fortunately, these days many more clients come to me already excited, but of course, there are many who are not.  I never try to sell these stakeholders by pitching them on “Why testing is important.” Instead, I say, “Let’s start by bringing in one person and watch them interact with the design.”

When stakeholders see a real customer use their product, there are inevitably a few “Ah-ha!” moments that literally cause jaws to drop, as something they thought was a given turns out to be untrue; they learn new and surprising things about their products and the people who use them.  After that, the idea of usability testing sells itself.research.

You can read the full interview on the Above the Fold blog.