For the last half a year, we’ve been quietly revolutionizing software development here at telerik, trying to integrate a thought about the user on all stages of product development. While we really wanted to improve the User Experience, we were very careful not to go too far with needlessly expensive usability best-practices – we believe the smartest solutions are usually the simplest solutions, so we looked around for a way to measure usability that would not involve furnishing a state-of-the-art recording studio and flying users over continents. For a start, we thought we just needed to observe users interact with telerik products – from the comfort of their home or office, in the context of their desktop, browser, and IDE. This is how the telerik remote testing program was born – we have been meeting with developers and end-users on all continents through online conference tools to watch them user interact with our products, hunt down frustrations and come up with ways to improve the experience.

UE initiatives at telerik are already resulting in better products, innovation ideas, and decreased release time from making iterations early on in production cycles, before development starts. While we are now more than ever aware of the many problems in our product line, this is the first step in our commitment to go beyond providing bug-free software towards offering a frustration-free, fun experience not just for our customers, but for their customers as well.

To give an idea of our work so far, we compiled a summary with user experience issues uncovered during a test with r.a.d.grid end-users. Last November we run a series of tests to evaluate how end-users (business professionals and data-entry clerks, New York area) perform tasks with r.a.d.grid. This preview outlines some of the most common problems – some of those were already addressed in our last Q4 2006 release, and the rest will be resolved in the upcoming r.a.d.grid updates.

Later next month I will be speaking at the WebDD event in Reading, UK sharing our experience with remote user testing. The event is shaping up as a great place to exchange know-how for web developers and designers, and I would love to talk to any of you planning to visit. My colleague Hristo Deshev will be talking about AJAX components, so drop us a line if you are up for a tech talk or… a tech beer.
About the Author

Iana Tsolova

is Product Manager at Telerik’s DevTools division. She joined the company back in the beginning of 2008 as a Support Officer and has since occupied various positions at Telerik, including Senior Support Officer, Team Lead at one of the ASP.NET AJAX teams and Technical Support Director. Iana’s main interests are web development, reading articles related to geography, wild nature and latest renewable energy technologies.

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