Sprint 2 Process Blog

What did we do?

For this assignment, we had to perform a usability test on a common kitchen item — for our section, an oven.

Magnificent and Compelling Oven in the Maple Lobby

First, found participants in the Maple Hall lobby: two random and one friend of mine. We had them complete 3 tasks with the oven and gathered data that would give us feedback about the efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction rates of the oven. Simple tasks such as turning on the oven light, preheating it and rearranging the shelves would be simple enough tasks for first-time and long-time users of ovens alike.

One Participant Preheating the Oven

Reflection on the Experience

It was a bit difficult to find random users for the project. As it turns out, nobody really likes to hang around the dorms on the weekend! It took a lot of scouting and walking around to find people in the dorm that had time to take part. I ended up called an acquaintance to take part. Next time we will definitely plan better, which will also help with sample size and accuracy. I can’t help but wonder what other methods there are of getting user feedback. Usability testing seems to cover a lot of key areas as far as feedback, so maybe comparing this to other methods would be interesting.

What did I like?

I liked the straightforwardness of this project. It was like a science experiment — what happens when person X does Y task? How does it differ from person Z? I know that real usability testing is much more in depth, but going through pretty much the same steps as a real usability test makes the abstract ideas of what professionals do a bit more tangible.

Why is this important?

Like we learned in studio, everything needs usability as long as it will have some sort of user interaction. Even things that usually do not see direct user interaction daily would be more valuable if it did not take extensive training to figure out. A car engine, for example, is something people do not normally interact with directly on a daily basis. If the engine malfunctions, all sorts of chaos can ensue — missed meetings or bingo games! Anyone from a businessman to an elderly person depends on the performance of this device, so it would be in their best interest if it was easily figured out. Car trouble is puzzling to most, so auto engineers would greatly benefit from considering usability of parts such as the engine.

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