Usability testing: Microwave
What we did ?
The purpose of this usability test is to record users’ reaction to operate microwaves and whether it is difficult or easy for users. To conduct a usability test of a microwave, my team chose three people as users to do three tasks and we collected three types of data. The three functions of a microwave we decided to test were: the timer, power level setter and defrost. We then assigned three different tasks, each taking two minutes for each participant and collected data on number of errors, time of completion and satisfaction. The first task was to heat something for 50 seconds. The second task was to set the power level to level 3. The third was to defrost for 30 seconds. One of my team member was in charge of video tapping the users and the others took notes on specific data of error rate, time and satisfaction. Later, we integrated data and did a video presentation.
Usability testing presentation video: https://youtu.be/vGvttfYn2hA
What is the problem?
The biggest problem in my usability test is that we did not divide users into different groups according to age, familiarity and others due to objective limits. The three people my team chose were all students and we did not know whether they were familiar with operating a microwave. In the future, if we divide people in different groups when doing usability test, we can be more accurate in knowing what kind of products people liked the most and how the product can be improved to meet more people’s needs.
Application of this technique
Usability testing can be used before one product is introduced to the public and used by the people. For example, before designers sell refrigerators to buyers, they need to do a usability testing, knowing whether users can easily open the door of the refrigerator, whether users can easily adjust the temperature and whether users can easily find a place for cold storage. Also, with development of the technology, more advanced keyboards for laptop will be produced such as ultrathin keyboards with touch screen. Before selling this kind of keyboard, designers will do a lot of usability testing to test whether people are used to these keyboards and how to improve in detail.