The Experience Lab Blog

UX Research Method Spotlight: Card Sorting

Posted by Angela Schmeidel Randall on Jul 16, 2015 11:01:00 AM

We’re starting a new blog series here at Normal Modes that we’re affectionately referring to as the “UX Research Method Spotlight.” In this blog series we’re going to highlight our favorite (and most valuable) UX and usability testing methodologies. Each entry in the series will focus on a user research technique that we’ve found particularly helpful in the past. Our goal is to provide you with an overview of each technique as well as a discussion of the pros and cons of that particular research methodology. Most importantly, we’ll also discuss what types of research questions each technique does (or does not) answer and at the end we’ll provide a list of additional resources to get you going with that entry’s technique.

Keep your eye on our blog, webinar series, and UX resources and for our upcoming in-depth look at each analysis method.

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Topics: Usability

When to Outsource Usability Testing

Posted by Angela Schmeidel Randall on Jun 25, 2015 8:30:00 AM


At Normal Modes we love helping people. It’s the core of all our user research and it’s what we specialize in and it’s what we love.

Over the last several years we noticed the demand for our training services skyrocketing. More and more organizations are investing in their staff and training them to be the people who conduct usability studies. We love this trend, we really do! There’s never anything wrong with more people focusing on the user experience and learning how to assess their user experience with actual users.

Nevertheless, we’ve also noticed that investing time and resources into is not always economical or even good idea. We believe that sometimes bringing in an outside firm that can be more of an asset to you and your team than training. 

Here are a few instances when you know it’s time to outsource your usability testing:

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Topics: Usability

Five Steps For Creating An Awesome User Experience

Posted by Bryan Campbell on Jun 23, 2015 8:30:00 AM


We spend A LOT of time reviewing user experience. One of the things we’ve learned is that awesome user experiences do not just happen. They’re the result of careful planning and dedicated execution. We’ve had the opportunity to be a part of many different design processes and one thing we’ve learned is that the best user experiences all have a several things in common. Here’s what we believe are the five steps necessary for creating an awesome user experience.

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Topics: User Experience (UX) Design, Usability

5 Reasons Why Your User Experience is Unpleasant

Posted by Bryan Campbell on Jun 17, 2015 1:19:00 PM


Technology is changing the way we interact with the world at such a rapid pace these days that it’s never been more important to focus on the user experience. From Fortune 500 corporations to one-man shops, more and more businesses every day are learning that marginal user experiences aren’t cutting it any more—there are just too many alternatives out there.

We’ve compiled a list of five reasons why your user experience is probably unpleasant:

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Topics: User Experience (UX) Design, Usability

7 Reasons It’s Time to Dedicate Time to UX Training

Posted by Bryan Campbell on Apr 29, 2015 8:00:00 AM


During the lean years of the recession when budgets were tight and hours were long, skills development training sort of fell off the radar—companies stopped spending precious dollars on something that wasn’t a tangible work product. With revenues on the rise, we thought it was time to start talking about training again. 

We understand that spending money on training, due its intangible nature, is sometime hard to justify. It’s easy to fall into this line of thinking, so let us offer seven reasons why you should dedicate time to training in 2015:

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Topics: User Experience (UX) Design, Usability

What Do You Learn From Usability Testing?

Posted by Bryan Campbell on Mar 20, 2015 1:51:00 PM


Normal Modes conducts a lot of usability testing. It’s what we specialize in and it’s what we love. We’ve seen nearly every variation of usability testing findings and while we are occasionally surprised, the findings we report generally fall into one of a few common patterns.

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Topics: User Experience (UX) Design, Usability

What Not to Do When Watching Usability Testing Sessions

Posted by Bryan Campbell on Mar 12, 2015 3:04:55 PM

One of the more enjoyable aspects of working in the user experience industry is the variety of people we get to meet. Over the last many years we’ve had the wonderful opportunity to meet all different kinds of people. Many of them even regularly join us at our state-of-the-art usability lab—sitting in on various user-testing sessions from the comfort of our observation room.

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Topics: UX Tips, Usability

The 5 Most Common Remote Usability Testing Concerns

Posted by Bryan Campbell on Mar 2, 2015 5:30:00 PM

At Normal Modes we conduct a lot of usability testing.  Increasingly, though, customers are requesting solutions that can best be addressed by remote usability testing. Much like traditional usability testing, remote usability testing relies on structured user interviews with a live moderator. We have found that remote usability testing has two key advantages over traditional usability testing:

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Topics: User Experience (UX) Design, Usability

Why We Love Heuristics (And You Should, Too!)

Posted by Bryan Campbell on Feb 6, 2015 4:08:00 PM


At Normal Modes, we’re frequently asked to provide descriptions of the services we provide and how theyproduce value for our clients. Today I’m going to describe heuristic analyses—a user experience technique that tends to get lost in an industry dominated by user interviews. At its core, a heuristic analysis, or evaluation, is fancy way of describing a checklist of industry best practices. In that sense, a heuristic analysis is a simple observational technique with an overly fancy name that can provide actionable results for your development team—sometimes in a matter of days.


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Topics: UX & Usability Tools

User Experience Trends In 2015: Part 2

Posted by Angela Schmeidel Randall on Jan 8, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Welcome to the second part of our two part sries about user experience trends for 2015. Earlier this week we shared four of the nine top user experience trends for 2015

To recap, here are the myths from Part 1:

  1. Responsive Sites 
  2. Enterprise UX
  3. In-house Teams
  4. Cross-discipline Responsibility for UX

Today we are going to take a look at five more user experience trends - some of which we've seen in previous years and some of which are just emerging. 

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