January 21st, 2016 — Sprint 2: Usability Testing

The purpose of this week’s sprint was to expose students to the concept of usability testing in which moderators conduct tests to receive beneficial feedback from users. These comments are used to further improve the respective products to cater to human behavior.

Outline for our usability tests

My group was assigned to conduct a usability test involving refrigerators in which we planned tasks such as locating food within the fridge, adjusting the temperature of the freezer, and storing several everyday ingredients in the fridge.

Results from our usability tests from Participant 2

In addition, we measured how long it took for our users to complete the task, as well as qualitative data, such as facial expression and body language.

My Experience:

Fully conducting a usability test from start to finish was a very fun and interesting process. Not only did I have to conduct the test, I also had to plan the outline of the test along with my team as we brainstormed what type of tasks to test for and what type of people our usability group would include. I was surprised as to how much planning went into the process and wondered about how long it usually takes for moderators to plan usability tests in the professional field and if there were professions that were purely usability test moderators.

Project Perks:

As a very sociable student, I found interest in HCDE knowing that I would be engaging in a great amount of human-interaction. I highly enjoyed this sprint because it allowed me to interact with people in attempts to better their relationship and interactions with products and/or devices. Being able to ask the users questions on how they felt made me feel as if I should continue on with the project in order to design a refrigerator that would cater to human behaviors. The sprint made me feel excited to explore more designs in order to make life easier for humans.

Importance of Activity:

Usability testing as well as thinking of the users and tasks is important when designing any device or products that will hold an impact on humans. These products should become easy for humans to use as time progresses. It is important for designers to conduct these usability tests in order to obtain beneficial feedback to better the products or devices. This may include adding in extra features or removing unnecessary aspects. For example, usability testing regarding laptops is highly important as it allows designers to hear input on how to better laptop designs. Aspects that can be impacted by user feedback may include size and weight, battery life, ease of turning the laptop on/off, etc. By listening to user feedback, not only does the designer create more usable laptops for humans, but designers can also create laptops that are more efficient thanks to usability testing.

Usability Test Presentation Link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=080hMPGDPcE

~Lynda Nguyen

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