Usability Testing Process Blog

For our usability test, we had three people try out three features on a microwave in order to get feedback on how the functions were. We wondered if people used the popcorn preset on the microwave, if people used the defrost button or chose to use box instructions, and we asked about their overall satisfaction with the timer/beep alarm provided with the microwave.

Our final video submission:

And our final slideshow submission:

The project was interesting and took more time than I thought it would. I sort of wonder how many times people usually do usability testing before sending out a product- and how many people they get to test the products. Some problems that we encountered were that we wished we had a larger team in order to more accurately report the time when we recorded how long it took the participants to finish a task. It was sort of hard because all three of us were doing more than one thing at a time. Another thing I would change would be to have more tasks and more participants next time. Three people that all had similar qualities (freshmen, boys, lived together) is not a very good representative sample for a test.

During this project, I liked that we worked in groups in order to figure out how to test the participants. I also liked how we had to think up the different tasks that a microwave can do- because sometimes there are settings that we wouldn’t use ourselves, but other people use on a microwave. I think it’s interesting how there are everyday items that we never really think about, but in the end, there is a lot of trial and error and processes that go into making something as commonplace as a microwave into what it is. Life would be different if people never expanded on ideas that customers asked for in a product.

In society, usability testing can take place with any item or function possible. You need usability testing for websites, applications, devices, and more. I think that the importance of usability testing is to be able to ask multiple people with varying backgrounds and opinions… how a product can be improved. Although not all ideas can be implemented, just an array of new thoughts can inspire any design imaginable. For example, where I work, there’s going to be a new coffee maker that connects to a smartphone app where you can tell it to make coffee while still lying in bed or while oyu’re driving home. I think that once designers start listening to the customers that they are creating products for, there can be new features put into everyday items… and maybe someday in the future, the features will be seen as something “people can’t live without”.

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