From the “let’s be more efficient” file…
I often straddle the line between developer, designer and usability practitioner, and I’ve noticed that usability reports aren’t often delivered in a very usable format.
Typically, when a usability group does a study or review they like to deliver their results in PDF or Powerpoint format. When development groups need to act on recommendations in a report, they typically need to enter each recommendation in another document, spreadsheet or bug-tracking tool. Since PDF doesn’t make it easy to copy and paste text, and Powerpoint documents typically use much larger fonts than necessary, it would help if usability folks would deliver a text-only copy of their recommendations along with any report they deliver.
The danger here, I’ve heard, is that the development group can always doctor the recommendations and hide things they don’t want others to see. While this is a semi-valid concern – I’ve seen whole reports ignored, but have rarely seen a doctored report – the likelihood is still there, it’s just a little more difficult. The practice is akin to turning off the right-mouse menu in a web page, to prevent people from viewing its source: persistent users will find a way to view the source, while casual users will be mighty ticked that you prevented them from opening a link in a new window.