Process Blog #3 Usability

Test with Microwave

In the studio, I collaborated with others to design a usability test for the microwave. We choose three tasks which are setting the clock to 4:21, move out and back the tray, and setting the timer for popcorn. We choose those tasks as they are the most commonly used one or important features that a microwave should have. And three data types we collected are the time the user takes, errors being made, and the satisfaction level in degree of one to five. Those data can help us figure out the usability of the microwave when we analyze the information the users provided.

Planning for the usability test

And the plan carried out well. I took some notes about the data information and some other feedback the users provided. We did the test in a formal way that we get the consent of each user and protect their information. After we did all the test, we made a presentation about our result and the video is below.

Notes taken in the test and the microwave being tested

I like this project in a way that it helps me understand the process of usability test while involving. It gave me ideas of how to organize a usability test. And we only focus on the microwave itself even if sometimes people who was being ‘brought’ to test made a mistake, as we were trying to understand why those errors were made and how can we improve the product. And in the studio, we brainstormed different aspects of a certain object, which is the water bottle, to test its usability using our personal experience and applying general features.

Final video presentation

When companies invent some new products in the future, they can apply this technique. Because ‘specific’ user is intended to be the target group of a certain product, it is crucial for the companies to know whether the product will perform well or not with the user. For example, if one company invent a new type of mixer. Then as the users will be mainly house wife or restaurant worker. Then the company may find a group people, who will be the targeted user above, to let them test the mixer as if they understand the features of the mixers. Some problems, such as how to change the mixing speed, is it weight too much, can they perform specific task, etc., will be raised up and to be answered. The range of the product can be very broad. Everything we made can be tested or even something nature like fruit as we saw on the video in the lecture. Software, website, or something that is not part of ‘real’ life can also be tested in usability. However, it is not appropriate to test usability of drugs or some other dangerous inventions as we need to follow the ethical rules.