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Help in choosing reading or recognising

This tool aims to estimate the number of people who would be unable to quickly and easily perceive a feature, in order to complete a task. However, depending on the feature, the usage context and the user's prior knowledge, there are different aspects to perceiving a feature.

For example, if you are experienced at shopping for laundry powder, recognising the colour as blue or green may be sufficient to determine whether it is bio or non-bio. Furthermore, recognising the brand may be possible from the overall shape of the product and the colour scheme, even if the fine detail cannot be distinguished.

Alternatively, if you have never shopped for laundry powder before, then you would need to read the text to confirm whether it is bio or non-bio. If you wanted to confirm that the brand was not an imitation, you would need to be able to distinguish the brand clearly enough to determine the outline of every shape and letter.

When making an assessment, you should make a meaningful decision as to whether reading, recognising or distinguishing is the most important thing to assess. It is often useful to assess each feature twice, making two alternative assumptions:

  • Assume the user is an expert, and can complete the task purely by recognising the visual elements well enough to make the correct interpretation.
  • Assume the user is a novice, and will need to read or distinguish everything in order to make the correct choices.

In order to assess recognition of a feature, first seek out any text or graphics that this feature could get confused with, given the usage context. For example, with laundry powder brands, identify which logos of competitor products are the most similar to the one you are assessing. Then, assess recognition by placing the items side-by-side and measuring the maximum distance at which you can tell which feature is which.

In order to keep track of your assessments, we recommend that you use our assessment form (Word) (PDF) to record whether you assessed reading, recognising or distinguishing.

You should also repeat the assessment with at least one other assessor, and preferably someone who has never seen the artwork for. This is best performed with a second mobile phone, so that your calibration distance remains stored in this phone. Then, discuss: ‘What do users really need to see in order to interpret the design?’

However, you cannot always correctly predict what users really need to see in order to complete the task successfully. Hence these assumptions are best informed by observing real-user behaviour.

 

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