Coffee machine Usability Sprint

Usability Testing: the technique used in user-centered IxD to evaluate a product by testing it on users.

The old BUNN coffee machine.

Task of the Week

In these week’s activity Xander and I tested the usability of an old BUNN coffee machine on three fraternity brothers. Each test subject had different experience levels with using the coffee machine (one subject a freshman, the other a sophomore, and the last is a senior). The focus of this testing was to find the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in using this coffee machine.

Brainstormed usability issues for coffee machines.

Observations

Since none of our tasks were to actually brew coffee, we took advantage of the unique features our machine had, such as a separate hot water tap and two hot plates to keep other coffee pots warm. We noticed that even in carrying out tasks with features that most other coffee machines wouldn’t have, the subjects had a quick time completing the tasks. We thought this was because the buttons and features were labeled clearly on the machine, which made it efficient. This contrasted some of the issues that were brainstormed in studio session, such as how it may be confusing to start brewing coffee or having too many choices from the coffee machine. Our machine was older and had simpler functions that didn’t confuse our subjects.

Looking Back

The funny part in our usability testing was how our subjects questioned the simplicity of carrying out the tasks. Because some tasks were so simple, a few subjects would get confused and take more time than expected to carry out the task. However, through usability testing we also were able to find usability issues in the coffee machine that we might not have realized ourselves, such as how someone who is unfamiliar with this particular machine might get confused with using the hot water tap and hot plate features.

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