Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Using a foreign language to challenge UX

I have spent the morning trying to test a new website that is currently available to me in Ukranian and Swedish – neither of which I speak. I have a basic understanding of the site, having seen it in its original english some time ago, and I know the functional requirements. Not being able to speak Swedish meant that when filling in a form I had to make educated guesses based on the pure UX itself – was the warning text in red, was it in a relevant position etc.

This turned out to be a fantastic way of testing the site. I repeatedly failed to submit a form because I hadn’t filled in a mandatory field, and the shape / style of the visual cues weren’t obvious enough to me.

Another example – something that was obvious to me, but not to the native speakers, was an inconsistency in button styles – which caused me to cancel my form submission because I thought the cancel button was the confirmation button.

I think I may have invented a new technique.

(In a similar fashion I do know someone who used to proof-read professionally, and she would read a document backwards – so that she could spell-check each word individually and out of context!)


scottishwildcat said...

You're not really judging it based on the 'pure UX', because the use of language, good or bad, contributes a great deal to most user experiences. What you're actually doing is little different from testing some greeked wireframes.

Hugo Rodger-Brown said...

Agree that it's not pure UX, but I don't agree it's little different from wireframes. I spend a lot of time looking at both wireframes and high-fidelity prototypes, and I don't think I would have picked up on the aspects I uncovered here with either. Still, I only being half-serious when posted this, so thank you for reading it and taking the time to comment - I do appreciate it.