Sprint 2: Usability Testing

My group and I concluded our 3 participants would have to open the refrigerator to take out a water bottle, rearrange a shelf, and dispense water. For gathering data we timed each task, had participants rate the difficulty and narrate their thoughts/processes aloud. At Best Buy we tested a staff member in the appliance section and 2 from the electronics section.

The employee easily rearranged the shelf.
The second user had troubles dispensing the water in this photo. He did it incorrectly at first, then we corrected him. He said this mechanism was pretty confusing.

The first participant was familiar with the product, thus, completed each task successfully. He was an employee at Best Buy in the appliances section, and went through the tasks very smoothly.

The second participant had difficulty rearranging a shelf and dispensing water. He tried rearranging a smaller shelf in the outer door first, then we guided him to rearrange a shelf in the main door — which is what participant one is doing in the photo. For dispensing water, participant 2 placed the bottle in the wrong location. We then instructed him to the correct method and he was fairly surprised.

Finally, the third participant was unable to find the water bottle in the refrigerator, didn’t see the button on the handle to open the outer door, and had trouble dispensing water. She was unable to open the outer door where the water bottle was and had to be guided.

Participant 3 did not see the button on the handle and therefore was unable to open the outer door of the refrigerator.

Below is a narrated video summarizing our Sprint 2:

This project raised questions regarding the design of products. Who are they designed for and what are the designers expectations for the user? In the beginning, this product was difficult to figure out, but with some time my group and I did understand it. In a sense the product could be harmful to user experience due to it’s difficult first impression; however, it is fairly easy to figure out with some time. In the future when I design programs or products, I will take into account how easy it is for a user to understand.

I liked how this project required us to construct a test for users. It brings products into a new light that I haven’t quite seen them in before. There are many seemingly “little” things that have to be taken into account when designing any product no matter how simple it may seem.

This kind of work could be useful in basically any work environment. Basically every work environment includes a customer service branch. The customer’s experience is what matters most because if they do not have an enjoyable experience, they will not return or use any of the programs/products the company makes. Knowing what satisfies customers is very valuable to companies. For example, at my job at the YMCA we have many forms members have to fill out in order to authorize us to make any changes to their account. We try to make the forms as user-friendly as possible with labels, colors, and by having them fairly short in length. There have been instances where these forms irritated members, but for the most part they are effective. Even though the staff believes it to be effective, we are always encouraging members to voice their opinions and let us know what is working for them and what isn’t. Therefore, this kind of work relating to usability testing and users/tasks would be very useful in order to assure our members are satisfied.

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