Usability Testing

Brainstorming features that can be tested using a microwave.

What did you do?

This week’s sprint focused on usability testing which is how we determine the extent to which a product can be used by certain users to complete tasks with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. Our studio tested the usability of a microwave in groups. We learned about the types of data that would typically be collected in usability tests. For my group’s usability test, we gathered three participants and had them complete three tasks. The tasks were setting the time to cook for 1 minute and 45 seconds, remove and replace the turntable, and set the auto defrost for something weighing 3.5 pounds. For our data we decided to collect the time on task, the difficulty level for the user and why, and how they would improve the design of the product. We chose these because both the time on task and difficulty level rated on a scale provided a quantitative form of data that could show us how easy or difficult it was for each participant. We had them explain why it was easy or difficult and what improvements they would suggest because having each participant voice their thoughts regarding the product would aid us in understanding where they ran into difficulties and how to fix those issues.


Doing usability testing this week showed me another aspect of human centered design that I hadn’t considered before.While running these tests I wondered how often would a product have to undergo usability tests before being deemed appropriate for use. It seems to be something that would have to happen multiple times so the design can be improved before being used by its specific users. The most important lesson that I learned regarding usability testing was its focus on evaluating the product and not the user. As designers, our intention should be to create a product that can benefit our users and make the tasks the user will complete using a product easy and efficient.

The Holiday microwave we used to complete the usability testing.

Application of Usability Testing

By learning about usability testing and performing my own usability test with a group, I gained the skills necessary to run a test. I learned how to write clear and professional instructions for each participant to use when completing their tasks. Being able to write professionally to convey your thoughts and intentions is important not only in this setting but in my future career as well. Through this experience I was also able to learn how to work collaboratively to finish the project. Knowing how to work well with others is a necessary skill that I will apply when doing other group projects and assignments.

Our findings from the usability test.
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