May 25, 2005

A/B Testing = OFAT?

Just received a job req asking for someone who knows A/B Testing. I guess as a methodology guy, I should've covered this in the Usability Methods Toolbox, but I had never thought of it as a usability technique.

Back when I was a hard-core Industrial Engineer, trying to improve the quality of copper plating on printed circuit boards (and ruining several good pairs of pants in the plating room from all those evil chemicals), we used all sorts of Design of Experiments (DoE) techniques like this. We did a lot of Deming/Juran/Ishikawa/Taguchi techniques--I would carry the "Memory Jogger" around in my back pocket sometimes (shirt pocket was occupied by the pocket protector).

But no one I've talked to in a long time has mentioned using such techniques for Website analysis.

Why not?

That was one of my premises for my Masters Project: that usability evaluation methods originated, and should still leverage, the testing methodologies of other fields. It seems that the "usability profession" has turned inward too much--I don't know if it's elitism or "Not Invented Here" syndrome or what.

Maybe it's the same issue that was discussed at BayCHI recently--all these diverse groups of professionals laying claim to the UX mantle: UPA, CHI, STC, ASTC, IA, etc.

So that'll be one of the to-do's for whenever I get around to refreshing the Toolbox: adding more methodologies from other fields and discussing their relevance to usability evaluation.

Posted by jameshom at May 25, 2005 11:47 AM | TrackBack
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