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We are sending a non-technical HR rep to a career fair for university students. We are planning on hiring a few Quality Assurance (QA) interns. We like our QA interns to have some programming skills and to have decent User Experience design instincts.

We've equipped the HR rep with a few programming questions (spot the bug in this code, etc.).

I know it's a long shot because UX is way more grey than the black and white world of computer programming, but are there any quick UX design-related questions that can be used to screen out candidates early?

Sorry in advance if this is too subjective, or simply too difficult to answer. It might just be the case that UX candidates can't be screened with a trivial exercise by an HR representative.

  • UX is a darn broad field. Can you talk about what the focus of role you're looking for? Research? IxD? Graphic Design? Usability Testing? IA? etc. – adrianh Aug 29 '15 at 9:02
  • @adrianh good point. See edit. – sgryzko Aug 31 '15 at 14:35
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Simple Heuristic Evaluation

Show some simple interfaces, give them a copy of Neilsen's 10 Usability Heuristics, and ask to identify usability issues and which heuristics are violated.

The HR rep could have a list of all the usability issues and their corresponding heuristics.

The problem with that is that it requires quite a bit of thought and time, so it might be hard to do in a Career Fair environment.

Example

The following form screenshot is from uofadmissionsmarketing.com

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts Signup Screenshot

It's very hard to identify all usability issues without a live working version, but the following are some issues. We would obviously want to be a bit more thorough and note more issues if we were to give this to our HR rep, but you get the idea.

  1. Match between system and real world The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases, and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms."

    • I don't think many students talk amongst each other about their "Enroll. Intent"
  2. Aesthetic and minimalist design

    • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but this form isn't especially pretty. It irks me that the fields aren't the same width.
  3. Error Prevention Eliminate error-prone conditions

    • Hard to say for sure but the phone and zipcode fields don't have any affordances of error prevention. What format do they want the phone number in?
  4. Visibility of System Status Keep users informed about what is going on

    • At the bottom, it says "Thank you for submitting your inquiry." but the form is blank. Does that mean that someone filled out the form, then clicked SUBMIT, then the form cleared and that message appeared. If so, then it might appear to users that their data was lost.

    • What is this form for? It says at the top what school it is for, but what am I "inquiring" about?

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I would have lamented screen casts of a workflow or a few. And show it to them and say let's say if this was a UI for launching a missile, what would you change?

And then make it miss a fundamental UX principle like undo destructive actions.

Another scenario might be a confusing factory scenario that involves picking items and shipping them, and a need to go back. Kind of like amazons fulfillment centers or shipping a UPS package.

And then miss the key fundamental UX principles, like keeping the user informed of the system state.

Another option which takes way less prep work is Google or Bing for terrible user interfaces, show them to them and ask them what they would change and why.

It's not that easy then show them a great UI and ask them what they would change.

I answered this from a diner so if want to give it more thought but here's the scenarios for the great UIs.

  1. Show them one of your UIs to actually get some feedback
  2. You could show them a UI they probably know well like Facebook or gmail because maybe they already have idea on what to change but you will be surprised how many people never thought about what to change on apps they use every day.
  3. Show them a great ui they probably never have seen before like something with CRM or something foreign.

Not sure which one of 1-3 I like the most.

Another option is have them draw a UI Have them design a UI to do something. And see what principles they talk about and mention. This may not be the best to coach up an HR person to do, but you can do it. Make sure to have 3 or 4 UIs you cycle through so people on line don't hear the design an egg timer and they are thinking about it for 45 mins while the first guy only had 10 minutes.

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