Measure Twice, Cut Once

Image via adionews via Flickr
This old adage is so true when working with wood or other materials that require measuring and cutting.  The premise is that it is far less costly to spend an extra few minutes double-checking your measurements then to make the wrong cut and waste your material.

This also so very true with web design. It is far less costly to ‘check’ your work prior to entering the design stage of any web project.

User experience design evangalists will say that you need to user test through the entire process from information architecture to wireframes to design.  While I agree with this, in institutions that have limited resources or are new to the concept of user centered design (UCD), this may not be feasible.

If you need to pick and choose when to involve users in your process, pre-design is the most critical.  Create some lo-fidelity wireframes either on paper or using prototyping software then test those wireframes with people from your target audiences.  The data you collect will help you design a web site that is more user centric and requires

This post is by no means intended to be a user testing how-to, but rather a reminder for all of us to measure twice, cut once.

What methods do you use when user testing? Do you involve your users throughout the process?  Please share your thoughts