Evaluation of Usability Testing

Usability Test of Oven

My team and my goal for this sprint was to design and execute a usability test for an oven. First, we started off with planning the test: who should be the intended user for this task, what kind of tasks should be running and what kind of data can be collected. We decided to test on GE Electric Range Oven which is located at Maple Hall, University of Washington. Then we came up with three users, three tasks, and three data per task (3x3x3). The common features for our users were aged between 18-20, college students and not familiar with using an oven. We selected these users because they are most likely to use this oven due to its near proximity to campus dorms. For the three tasks, we asked the user to preheat the oven to 300 degrees, open the oven door, lower the top rack one level, and close the oven door, and set the oven to the specified time of 12:30. Considering our users’ characteristics, we chose these tasks because it would be easy enough for them to perform it. However, when we tested the oven ourselves, we found that we had trouble with some tasks. Therefore, we wanted to see if others would also have trouble with it, thereby revealing a usability issue. Our data for each task were whether or not the user was able to complete the task, the time it took for user to complete the task, and the user’s difficulty rating scale from one being least difficult to five being the most difficult with feedback. These data methods should demonstrate the usability of the GE Electric Range oven by measuring its efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction of the user. Time measured the efficiency, completion of task measured effectiveness, and the rating and feedback measured satisfaction.

Our procedure of running the usability test is as follows: First, we explained the study to the users and gave them instructions for each task. Then the users performed the task while we were collecting data. After the task was completed, we asked them for feedback.

User Vivian performing the task.

Overall, our data shows good usability for the oven, but there is room for improvement. Which raises the question of how we can fix these problems to make it better for the user. For instance, during our usability test, we realized that there was a common feedback for one of our tasks from the participants. They recommended that when setting the clock, you should press “set clock” instead of the “start” button. If I could rerun this test, I would switch the order of the tasks: preheating the oven after reaching inside of the oven to change the height of the racks for increased safety.

I enjoyed doing this project because it gave me insight on the usability of everyday products. For example, the chair has many aspects to it that are overlooked. These qualities include effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, and safety. On top of these qualities, there are chairs use in different contexts. However, very few individuals have come to appreciate, let alone think about, the various features of a chair.

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