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User Experience Tuning für TuneUp Utilities 2010

The background

TuneUp Software GmbH, which is located in Darmstadt, Germany, and operates all over the world, provides intelligent optimization software for Windows. TuneUp's products help computer users tap their PCs full potential as regards performance, usability, reliability, security and display. In fall 2009, TuneUp launched a new version of its Windows optimization software, TuneUp Utilities 2010 (TUU 2010).

The starting point

Not only had TuneUp refined the successful modules of TuneUp Utilities but the company's developers had also created and integrated completely new functionalities.

  • Turbo Mode and Live Optimization give the users' PCs an additional performance boost and accelerate the programs.
  • A small icon on the Windows task bar informs the user as soon as these functions are active.
  • Automatic Maintenance and 1-Click Maintenance regularly optimize the system and solve problems that occur frequently.
  • A new mini application represented by a little gadget on the desktop illustrates the PC's tuning status.

On top of that, TuneUp revamped the start-up screen's design and architecture. Four main categories, instead of previously seven, offer the user central access points grouped by subject. But will the users really come to grips with these innovations?

The objectives

When developing the software, TuneUp already made use of the expertise within their own User Experience & Design department. Simplicity and ideal usability were at the hub of the new version's design and implementation process. Usability tests were deployed to check the new functions' utility and usability. Do the users really understand the Turbo Mode and the Live Optimization, and how useful do they think they are? How easy is it for the participants to navigate the new start-up screen, and how do they like the re-design? UID supported TuneUp in answering these and other questions.

The procedure

UID tested the software's beta version on all three target systems: Windows XP, Windows Vista and the then unreleased Windows 7. Moreover, two different target groups were invited so as to be able to test the acceptance rate among potential new customers as well as long-term customers. All in all, 16 test persons worked on various tasks based on typical everyday scenarios: starting several programs simultaneously or printing an e-mail. While these task may sound quite easy, they proved challenging, as the results revealed.

The result

All participants rated the new interface as very well laid-out and user-friendly. The new features – above all the Turbo Mode – were greeted with enthusiasm. Still, UID found various areas for development. While starting several programs, for example, some of the users did not notice the task bar icon indicating that automatic live optimization was in progress. Therefore, there was only little awareness of this new feature.
The Turbo Mode, however, proved itself to be the greatest challenge. If this mode is activated, rarely used and unused programs as well as scheduled background maintenance tasks are disabled. Whenever these background systems, e.g. the printing functionality, are needed, however, the Turbo Mode has to be deactivated. Some of the test persons did not see this warning, others quickly forgot the information. Therefore, not all participants were able to complete the task of printing an e-mail later on.
These and other detailed results supported TuneUp in optimizing TuneUp Utilities 2010 and making it an award-winning software: For the first time ever, the German IT portal computerbild.de announced the "Golden Download 2010" award, and 50,000 users voted TUU 2010 into second place. And the majority of the 40,000 readers of the German computer magazine "PC Magazin" even nominated it "Product of the Year 2009/2010".

Links for further information

The software's start-up screen offers easy access to all features.
The software's start-up screen offers easy access to all features.
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