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

September 20th, 2010

Creating Passionate Users: An Interview with Josh Porter, Part 2

By Christine Perfetti – September 20, 2010

Social web sites and applications are everywhere: Facebook, YouTube, Craigslist, and Digg are just a few of the web sites taking advantage of the power of the Social Web. Social web sites are the fastest growing properties on the web for good reason: they connect people, motivate, and engage them.  As a result, they grow very quickly and successfully.

We hear all the time from clients working on all different kinds of products, ranging from e-commerce web sites to financial web applications, who want to take advantage of social features to get people engaged and excited about offerings. Unfortunately, most teams aren't sure where to begin.

We recently talked with interface designer, Joshua Porter. Josh is the author of the wonderful book, Designing for the Social Web, and focuses on helping organizations incorporate social features into their designs. We're also thrilled Josh will be teaching his one-day workshop, Designing for the Social Web, in Boston, Massachusetts this October.

In part 1 of our interview, Josh introduced readers to the Usage Lifecycle, the four main stages users traverse with web sites and applications. In this second installment, we discuss the evolution of social applications and how to effectively measure the success of applications.

Here is what Josh had to say:

How can designers pinpoint areas of their social application that aren't working?

Well, first there needs to be agreement on what “working” means. There are lots of ways something can fail to work. But usually it means that the site isn’t doing something that it’s supposed to. And, ideally every design team has a list of their most important metrics, which are those things that really matter to the success of their product or service. I’ve found that without a clear picture of which metrics are important, design teams tend to lose focus over time and fail to continually iterate and improve.

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September 9th, 2010

September 23rd Free Online Tutorial: Facilitating a Usability Test

By Christine Perfetti

Many of our clients come to us requesting usability testing consulting services. One of the reasons they reach out to us is because they think usability testing must be a complex and scientific process. As a result, they'd prefer to have an outside consulting company conduct their tests.

The first thing I tell people who contact me is that usability testing doesn't have to be a complicated process. It's a technique that anyone can learn with training and lots of practice. At its core, a usability test involves putting a person in front of the product and watching what they do. Once teams learn the basics for conducting usability tests, they find that testing is a really straightforward process.

On September 23rd, I'll be sharing tips for facilitating your usability tests in a free 45-minute online tutorial through GoToWebinar. By outlining the process, I hope teams will feel confident they can start testing their own products. I will discuss usability test set-up options, the main responsibilities of a test facilitator, and the facilitation techniques I've refined over years of running usability studies.

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September 7th, 2010

October Workshops: Designing for the Social Web and Paper Prototyping

I'm super excited to announce Perfetti Media will be offering two new workshops this October in Boston, Massachusetts. The feedback for our first workshop, the Usability Bootcamp, was excellent and we're pleased to be bringing these latest topics to you.

On October 25th, my good friend Joshua Porter, will be presenting the one-day workshop, Designing for the Social Web: How to Create Engaged and Passionate Users. Josh is an interface designer and co-founder of Performable, and the author of the wonderful book, Designing for the Social Web. In his workshop, Josh will go beyond what he covers in his book, discussing how to take advantage of social features to get your users engaged and passionate about your products.

On October 26th, I will be presenting the one-day workshop, Paper Prototyping: Sketching and Evaluating Your Design Concepts. In this hands-on workshop, you'll learn how to create a fully working paper mock-up of any proposed design, which you can use to collect early feedback through usability testing. You'll discover what aspects of your design work well, and what users have trouble with. Using paper mock-ups, you can make changes very quickly, even during a usability test!

Until September 10th, you can sign up for the workshops for only $695 per day. I hope you can join us for both days in October!

August 25th, 2010

Creating Passionate Users: An Interview with Josh Porter, Part 1

By Christine Perfetti – August 25, 2010

Social web sites and applications are everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Craigslist, and Digg are just a few of the web sites taking advantage of the power of the Social Web. Web sites and applications that incorporate social features are the fastest growing properties on the web for good reason: they connect people, motivate, and engage them.  As a result, they grow very quickly and successfully.

Design teams working on all types of products, ranging from e-commerce web sites to financial web applications, want to take advantage of social features to get people engaged and excited about their offerings. Unfortunately, most teams aren't sure where to begin.

That's why we recently talked with interface designer and co-founder of Performable, Joshua Porter. Josh is the author of the wonderful book, Designing for the Social Web, and has been focusing for years to help organizations incorporate social features into their designs. Josh will also be teaching his one-day workshop, Designing for the Social Web, in Boston, Massachusetts this October.

Here is what Josh had to say about Designing for the Social Web:

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June 7th, 2010

Usability Tests in a Nutshell, Part 3: Creating Tasks

By Christine Perfetti – June 7, 2010

The tasks you create for a usability study are essential for gathering the right data. The tasks determine what you'll test and impacts what parts of the design your team fixes. If you give users the wrong tasks, you risk focusing on the wrong parts of the design and providing your design team with misleading recommendations. Yet, teams often overlook the importance of creating robust tasks for their studies.

When creating tasks for a usability study, you'll want to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are your users' goals with the product? List out the specific actions users most commonly complete with your product.
  2. What are your business goals? In what way does your product or web site help increase revenue or reduce organizational costs? The best tasks focus on areas of the design crucial to your organization's business goals.
  3. What are the greatest risks with the design? If there are certain areas of the design where you have little knowledge as to how users interact with it, this is a good place to focus the tests.

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