HCDE 210: Usability Testing

Usability (ISO 9241): The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to complete specified tasks with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.

For this week’s sprint, we had to conduct a usability test: we had to choose a product (choices: a coffee machine, an oven and a microwave) and conduct a usability test on it. We had to look for users, and test how the users interacted with the product.


During studio time, we planned a usability test on water bottles: we discussed the tasks we want to test about the water bottle, and determine the types of data we might collect from those tasks. Some of them included opening/closing the water bottle, drinking water from the bottle, filling the water, and other basic tasks.

We then planned a usability test on a Starbucks BUNN coffee machine, which is one of three in the entire world and is itself being used for usability testing in the real world. We decided to collect data about how a user is able to operate the machine (making a hot chocolate and a kind of coffee, and filling coffee beans in the machine).

My Experience

It was a really good experience designing a whole usability test, and thinking about the different ways users would interact with a water bottle or a coffee machine. It was also fun to see that different people with different skill levels would interact with even the simplest things in a different way. It gave me an idea about how the simplest things can also be used to study not just the usability of an artefact, but also the general human behaviour, or the behaviour of a specific user group.

What I liked about this project

I really liked the scope of a simple usability test. It gives the builder of the artefact being tested an idea of how it could be received by people. After this sprint, I realised that everyone has conducted and has been a part of a usability test in some point of their lives. People often ask someone, or are asked by someone, how a glass of orange juice they made tastes like before serving it to their guests. I really liked the scope of this simple idea of usability testing.

Deciding tasks for the usability test of a water bottle
Being the participant of someone’s Usability Test on a water bottle
Presentation video for our Usability Test

Link to Presentation: https://drive.google.com/a/uw.edu/file/d/0B1vjoTCF01uQZGZjTTF5V1VHclU/view?usp=sharing