I read an article from Usabilityfirst.com, and it enlightened me to a few ideas. I had no clue that there were so many ways to test for usability. I already knew about card sorting (determines how users categorize information), focus groups (gets together a small group of 4-8 users to discuss opinions and recommendations), and surveys (I used this method when I conducted my own usability study). However, a few usability methods I didn’t recognize, like charrettes (get potential design solutions while considering the viewpoints of stakeholders), HCI Design Approaches (Human-Computer Interaction attempts to come up with the best user experience for human users), Participatory Design (asks the users to think of design solutions), and Cognitive walkthroughs (attempts to see exactly the steps users take on a website to see if the intended paths are followed). The method that piqued my interest the most, however, was the HCI Design Approach. There are four human-computer interaction approaches, including the Anthropomorphic Approach, the Cognitive Approach, the Predictive Modeling Approach, and the Empirical Approach. The Anthropomorphic Approach was most interesting to me because it measures users’ opinions of how well the UI possess human-like qualities. We’re talking about things like the Microsoft Paperclip speaking to the user. That’s so cool to me! Certain methods are better for certain situations. The way I see it, usability methods either test user opinions or user actions. Testing both user opinions and actions will help make a great user experience. Next time I design a website, I want to increase how the computer interacts and communicates with the user.