For this week’s sprint, we explored the wonders of Usability testing. We planned and carried out our own tests. In doing so, we learned to acknowledge certain features a product had, and how a user would handle using it.
We were first introduced to the meaning of usability, which meant the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction which specified users achieve specified tasks in particular environments. For our product, we had to design a test plan around a microwave. My team and I brainstormed on the features we can base our tasks on, and thus we decided to use time setting, power level adjustment, and adding another timer; we had thought these were basic functions for a microwave, and that a certain design of a microwave can make these activities difficult for some users. Key things we had kept in mind while testing these were to base the tests on whether or not the product could be used by the user.
After deciding the features we were going to test, we had to decide which types of data we were going to collect. These were for us to gauge how “usable” the microwave was. These were centered on time taken for task completion, number of buttons it took to complete, and easiness level from the user to get some comparative qualitative data.
We learned how valuable usability testing can be, as it can show the overall effectiveness of a possible product.
While conducting research, we could have definitely improved on several things. We could have tried to make the test feel more natural for the user . We could have spoken with more clarity to decrease confusion. For increasing validity, we could have ran more tests, albeit the assignment only called for 3, and even take more notes on what or how the tester felt during the testing.
From doing a usability test, researchers can takeaway things that work well for the user, and what parts of the design that can use improvement. From our testing, we learned that some people might have never adjusted the power level of a microwave before, and that if they ever needed to, there was the question of if they would be able to do it and how easy it was. Testing a product is definitely an integral part of production, as a company would not want to put something in the market that people can not use. This exploration was more personal, since we actually had to partake in the testing ourselves and interact with actual users. It was difficult at first, but as each test taker went, we were able to learn from our last errors and continue. It was a great experience and I hope to use this knowledge on whether or not something works for a user in the future.