Kitchen Appliances: Microwave
Detailed Planning During 01/18 Sprint
We received a usability testing project that making a detailed plan for testing kitchen appliances, a microwave. Our team has three members Daniel Kim, Leo Guo, and me. All of us live on campus. For convenience, we agreed to test the microwave in Alder Hall, GE Microwave Oven. The first decision we made was the testing users group, 18-year-old college students living on campus. The reason was that they could easily access a microwave in their daily life. Then we designed three tasks to testing the most basic and common use microwave functions. They are setting the clock to 2:00 am, heating a cup of water for 1’01”, and using popcorn preset to cook popcorn. We found there were similar features among three tasks. Based on these, we decided the three data types we will collecting: success/failure of each task, time of completion, and user’s satisfaction on a scale of (1–7).
The Big Challenge for Testers
I didn’t realize the difficulties of usability testing until our group actually started the test. We did our best to make each test, giving to three different users, as identical as possible. We used same moderator script and same auxiliary items. But I can feel that some users became nervous during testing. Even after we told the user, “We are testing the usability of things, not people abilities!” The situation didn’t change much. Therefore, making sure users are comfortable, is a big thing need to improve in the future for us usability testing.
Design a Smart-Microwave
Overall the usability testing was successful. The existing design for GE Microwave Oven is convenient and useful to users. But we also found if someone never uses a microwave before, the test result would be entirely different. The previous experience is vital to our usability testing. Therefore, I inferred that most existing microwaves are following similar design pattern. For example, have a clock, timer, preset models and so on. If in the future, someone wants to make an innovation on the microwave and break the traditional pattern. Usability testing will be actually useful. For instance, testing a smart microwave. To see whether users can use it without any hinder, even they never use any microwave before.