For our usability test, we were assigned to find three users and have them to complete three tasks to test the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction of a microwave to see if our users were able to use the microwave effectively.
First of all, what we did is we brainstormed different tasks that we can make the user do. We came up with opening and closing the door, have them look for the defrost button, and then adjusting the time like adding time to the clock while the time is running. Then we thought of ideas that the user may come in-conflict with while trying to complete the task and the ideas we came up with is having trouble to open the door because it was too hard to press it open, can not find the defrost button, and they do not know whether to stop it and then add the time to the timer. Then we thought of how we were going to deliver it to the user clearly and for opening and closing the door we said “Open and close the microwave.” , for the defrost button we said “Press the defrost button and set it for 4 pounds and 4 oz, and finally for adjusting the time we said “Start the microwave for 1 min…(waited 15 seconds) then add 1 min and 30 sec to the time without stopping it.”. Now for these tasks we had to figure out what we were going to measure for each of these and we all came up with satisfaction, time to complete, and completion. Finally, our users were 3 college male students ranging from 18–20 years old and 2 of them being twins.
My experience with the usability testing was very interesting because we had very different results for each user. We had a user who completed the tasks so quick, another took very long, and the last user was in the middle. My team mates and I took different roles for all 3 users. We all rotated from being the notes taking person, the timer person, to the mediator. Some problems we encountered is we did not want to use a microwave that every user knows how to use or else our data would be messed up, and since all of our users live on Elm that will obviously would know how to use the one in the kitchen area, so that is why we used my partners own microwave for this testing. Some questions we came up with at the end of the usability test is if we used enough diversity within our users. By that I mean was it fair that only males got to do the experiment and not any females or would it make a difference in our data if we had different ethnicities doing the tasks and not just two types.
What I liked about this project is we got to interact with people/users in this experiment. We got to see and hear what people had to say about the object which was the microwave in this case so we can make adjustments to make peoples lives easier. We also got to see the perspective of an actual professional and had the chance to prepare and think like one.
How I can see people and professionals applying this technique in the future is when researchers want to know what they can do to make the product more efficient and effective for the user to use. One example is the Usability research by Blink UX who conducted an experiment where different people were told to eat fruits how they normally would. From this experiment they received data to solve how to make the peel of an orange easier to pull off. Another example would be having to do a usability test to find out if the remote control of a TV is very efficient and fast for them to use and finding ways how they can make it easier for them to find the main buttons they have to use in order to work the TV like the “Power” button. Finally, another example I can think of is in a professional place. We watched a video of doctors being observed to see if the objects they were using were easy to use for them and asked what they needed from it. How I see myself applying this technique is that I want to major in Chemical Engineering so I would focus a lot in what products will be less messy for people to use or a specific example is what kind of laundry products will make it easy to take of stains from white shirts.