Improve Your Usability Now!

March 22, 2010

As an expansion stage investor that prides ourselves on helping our portfolio companies get to best practices, I am constantly trying to hunt down experts and resources that can help our portfolio companies with strategy and operational support. The key for me is that the topic needs to be important enough to incorporate into a growth strategy and the source expert needs to be extremely pragmatic (the time-to-value needs to be as short as possible and the impact needs to be as high as possible), as our portfolio company senior managers are extremely stretched and they don’t have time for new activities that consume a lot of their time.

One area that I have been interested in nailing for a long time is how to easily improve usability in the areas of product and development. They key is to maintain as simple as possible a product management lifecycle while improving usability with each iteration.

I believe that Steve Krug and his book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, is exactly what I have been looking for. The book is a quick read and will give you a very quick and easy approach to improving the usability of your software. Steve has been doing usability work for a very long time and has boiled his techniques down to their essence.

Steve’s approach is for you to spend a morning a month (or each sprint) in order to improve your usability with each iteration. His approach and book are remarkably straightforward and demonstrate how to do this in great detail.

There is also a book website with some great resources, including this really solid 25 minute video demonstration of a usability test:

Founder & Partner

As the founder of OpenView, Scott focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest in application and infrastructure companies, and businesses that are addressing the next generation of technology, including SaaS, cloud computing, mobile platforms, storage, networking, IT tools, and development tools.