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RITE+Krug: A Combination of Usability Test Methods for Agile Design

Jennifer (Jen) McGinn and Ana Ramírez Chang

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 8, Issue 3, May 2013, pp. 61 - 68

Article Contents


The weaknesses of the RITE+Krug combination are similar to the weaknesses of the methods from which it derives. There are only a few participants, and the changes to the designs will need to be validated in a subsequent test.

But the strengths are numerous. Our RITE+Krug combination has produced better acceptance for usability test results than any other user research method we’ve ever used. We believe that central to that success is the participation in all of the sessions by key stakeholders from design, development, and product management.

RITE+Krug allows for testing, debriefing, and making initial changes to be completed in fewer than two days. This method requires only a few hours of time from stakeholders and allows us to conduct tests every two to three weeks, which aligns nicely with an Agile development process. That efficiency comes as a result of recruiting and running small numbers of participants, employing light-weight reporting mechanisms, and involving stakeholders. As a result, we can get feedback on, and improve, more aspects of the product than before, while still working within the time constraints of our Agile development environment.

While the RITE+Krug combination requires the buy-in of management and our stakeholders to give up time to attend the sessions, we come together as a group of equals in the debrief meeting. We discuss what we all saw in the sessions, sometimes debating what the next step might be, but taking those steps together as an integrated team. As a result, neither the designer nor the user researcher owns the research but shares that experience. So as the developers and product managers move forward, they are the voice of user experience. They are the advocates of what they saw, of what worked well, and what needs to be changed.

It’s this last point that we think is the greatest value of RITE+Krug—we haven’t talked about the number of problems found nor the number of bugs fixed because these are not our measurements of success. Instead, the attendance of the stakeholders, their enthusiasm, their commitment to make changes as a result of the RITE+Krug sessions, and their willingness to seek out user experience in future iterations and projects are the key rewards. We believe those impacts are more valuable than counting problems or bugs.


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