Process Blog 2

1. In this Sprint we focused on usability research. Splitting into groups within the studio section, we first designed usability tests for different kinds of water bottles which gave us an idea of how our projects will work and what sort of variables we need to account for.

Designing usability tests for water bottles with our groups!

Then as a class we reflected upon the experience by writing out possible improvements/thoughts on the whiteboard, each group elaborating on their experience with the water bottle usability test.

Our reflections on the water bottle exercise

Throughout the duration of the studio section we were able to plan the project, discuss our plan with another group, and receive feedback. Finally, our group met up on campus to first figure out how to use the machine ourselves, then test the Cuisinart coffee maker with 3 users.

2. There were quite a few difficulties with this project, the first of which was pure logistics. It felt very rushed to coordinate with group members in order to determine meeting location/time and find 3 users, all while also planning the test. The second difficulty was choosing well suited data and tasks. In reflection, instead of having one of our tasks be pouring coffee into a cup without burning themselves, it should have been to set the coffee machine so that it would automatically make the coffee. That task would’ve allowed us to collect better data and create a better report on the usability of the machine.

3. This project was actually quite enjoyable for me because my group members were both very involved and friendly people. It was also my first time designing a usability test and it definitely helped me how useful they can be in reviewing the product in question. Most of all, it was a thought provoking experience to play with all the different possibilities for tasks/data and decide on the ones that work best.

4. Reasons for why the work we did in this sprint is important is very similar to the reasons for the last sprint. Essentially, in order to create a product that is efficient, safe, and satisfying, you have to understand who is using this product and the different ways in which each user may go about it. For example, consider a taser or pepper spray. If that product is produced and sold without usability tests, it could become extremely dangerous. Furthermore there are very different groups of people who would use the two items, from policemen to the elderly to college students. Safely testing the product in a monitored environment is critical in preventing real life injuries such as accidentally spraying oneself. There are more examples as well that would cause more life threatening injuries, such as machinery in factories, vehicles, and even weapons.

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