Usability Test of Maple’s Oven

We used this oven to execute the usability test. This electric convection oven is located at Maple’s lobby.

Summary Of The Usability Test:

This week, I executed a usability test of an oven in Maple Hall with my teammates, Diana and Luciano. We picked the oven in Maple because we are curious how easy the dorm ovens are to use. We believe ease of usage and how simple the oven is will greatly correlate with how often the students will use the oven to cook for themselves. In comparison to males, female tend to have more experience using ovens and as a result I expect they will tend to be more efficient, effective and satisfied with the dorm ovens. Thus, for our users, we picked 3 female college students: Luxuria, 19 years old, Emily, 16 years old, and Vanessa, 19 years old.

The users are given with 3 simple tasks: First, open the oven door and adjust the rack. Second, turn on the oven, then turn it off. Third, preheat the oven and set it to the lowest temperature. Leave it for 5 minutes, then come back to check if the temperature has risen or not). Those are basic tasks, so if the users could complete the tasks with ease, the oven is very easy-to-use and vice versa. The 3 data types we used to measure how the usability the oven are: time it takes to complete task, user-reported difficulty (scale 1–10, 10 being the hardest), and pass or fail (with the user complete the task successfully with the range of a given time).

Diana acted as the moderator, giving out instructions to the participants, Luciano timed the tasks and I took notes of the result of the data and the reaction of the participants. We emphasized that we were testing the oven and not their abilities so that participants wouldn’t feel very stressed. While engaging in the tasks, the participants all had a very confused look on their face. Two of them reflected that they think the oven labeling is really confusing. Seeing that most of the participants failed their tasks, we conclude that the oven in Maple is hard to use and it needs better labeling.

Lastly, we made a video and a powerpoint to present the data we gathered and the conclusion we had. Below is the link of our video, presenting our test and result.

Diana, being our moderator, is giving out instruction for the users. She’s reading off her laptop, so she can sound professional without making any errors.
User #3 is trying to demonstrate her problems with the oven’s rack.

Usability Test Problem:

The first user’s response was problematic because it contradicted the experience she had during the test. Although she failed the third task, she still gave 1 for difficulty and said the task was easy. After she left, I realized she was rating the task not her experience with the oven. Thus, for the second participant, we explained more clearly and emphasized that to rate the difficulty of the experience.

What I like about this test usability project:

I like this project-test usability of Maple lounge’s oven because I’ve really never thought about how usability for kitchen utilities greatly affect the user’s emotions. All of the participants seemed very stressed out when they tried to preheat the oven, finding that they could not press the right button: one even swore and another just panicked and continuously pressed several buttons. In addition, I am very surprised with the result. The participants that we chose are all experienced with the kitchen and I expected that they would be able to complete the task with ease. Thus, I am satisfied with the new discovery that even if a person is an experienced chef, she still might not be able to cook if the utility is hard to use. And, very importantly, I learned that labeling is very important for cooks.

This is the summary of the result that we had gathered that we put up in our Powerpoint.