Usability Testing Process Blog

Usability Testing an Oven

The oven we tested

This week we learned about usability testing. We were given the example of a water bottle and brainstormed different tasks and data we might collect. After conducting a short usability test, we were told we would be usability testing an oven. We came up with tasks and data types. My group chose to have the user adjust an oven rack, turn the oven on and off, and then preheat the oven, which we felt were all basic tasks that should be easily accomplished. We recorded the time, the user’s difficulty rating, and a pass or fail. My group met in one of the dorms’ shared kitchens and found three users to run our test on.

A presentation of our usability test and its results
Brainstorming different tasks and data for usability testing a water bottle

Challenges we faced

One issue we encountered was that the users were not able to complete all of the tasks. We had to consider whether we should help the users as well as after how much time we would end the test. We decided beforehand not to help the users, but in more complex tests, some hints may be beneficial. We were unsure of how much time to give the users, but in the end we limited each task to 3 minutes. We also decided not to rotate who read the instructions and who recorded the data in order to keep the results more consistent.

What I liked

It was a lot of fun to collaborate with my group members outside of class. It was also interesting to see how people interacted with the oven and which tasks they found most difficult. I was surprised that none of the users were able to preheat the oven. It seems that such an essential task should be much easier than it is. I also enjoyed learning about the concept of usability testing as it is so essential to the development of any user-centered product.