“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it’s right. If it disturbs you it’s wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.” (Robert M. Pirsig)
WHAT DID WE ACTUALLY DO?
(Link to the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqFcujeDWJQ)
The task assigned for this sprint was Usability Testing. Me and my team member had to select three users and make them perform some tasks on a microwave. This was done to take user feedback and make improvements to the design as well as the overall performance of the microwave, putting emphasis on human needs and preferences. We achieved the task by bringing three users in a closed confinement and letting them use the microwave kept in the room. Initially, the studio brainstormed to find all the parts of a microwave that the user can have a problem with. This was done to recognize the parts of the microwave that could be altered so as to be adept to the user’s comfort and preferences. We did this by writing the parts on sticky notes and sticking them on the big board. Next step was to select three tasks from the vast array to perform our usability test on. The tasks that we chose were opening the microwave door, setting a timer of five minutes, and changing the microwave tray. We collected three types of data for all of these tasks.We finalized on these data after arguing, as a team, about the pros and cons of the different data that we could collect. Firstly, we measured the time taken by the user to perform the tasks, then we rated the level of difficulty that the user faced in performing the given tasks on a scale of 1–5. Finally, we asked the user to rate their level of convenience on a scale of 1–5. We chose to collect the aforementioned data to make a full synopsis of the average time taken and the median difficulty as well as the convenience level. The average time taken can be a good measure to show if the user struggled with using the product or was able to do the task as predicted by the designer of the product. The difficulty level can be a direct indicator as to how hard it was for the user to access the technology. The result can be used to make changes to the product to make the technology more easy to use. Lastly, the convenience level portrays the methodology used by the user to perform the task that our team assigned to them.
WHY I LOVED THE WHOLE PROCESS?
Before the studio session last Thursday, I was a complete stranger to the process of Usability Testing. However, during the span of seven days, I have learnt a whole lot about the process which, in my opinion, is of utmost importance. From designing something as simple as a comb to something as complex as a car, Usability Testing is a constant. Apart from the fun that me and my group had while performing the testing, I also learnt how to talk to the users in a strictly professional tone and allow them to state their opinions with ease. Learning how to coordinate with my fellow group member and making sacrifices for the team was another important skill that I learnt through this project.
HOW LEARNING USABILITY TESTING HELPS ME?
Usability Testing is something that anyone who aspires to make a product must know. If one plans on releasing a product they made in the market, they should be certain that the people would like it and continue using it. To get an intuition of how a product is going to do in real life, conducting a usability test is of prime importance. Learning how to do the former, will definitely help me in my endeavors of joining the tech world in the future. For instance, I can imagine myself using the skills I learned here for testing my revolutionary app to get feedback from my target audience. In today’s world, where user needs are always the first priority for every huge product, learning Usability Testing will go a long way for me.