Microwave Usability Testing
In this studio section we learned about usability testing:
This week we discussed how to effectively conduct usability testing and also came up with some possible hypothetical test designs. As for properly conducting usability testing, notes taken include: dissociating the moderator from the test itself and keeping the focus on the product NOT on the user’s skill or ability. We first used a simple water bottle as the subject of our brainstorming on possible tasks we could test for. Our group came up with: opening the lid, refilling the bottle, and carrying the bottle. Admittedly, we found it a bit difficult to come up with tasks for such a simple product. The three types of data we came up with to compliment each respective task were: amount of time, volume of spillage, and user fatigue.
I personally enjoyed the methodical process behind usability testing. There were multiple parallels with scientific procedure that helped me feel familiar with the structure quickly. I can see how valuable usability testing is in both looking for areas of improvement in already made products and in getting quality feedback for prototypes that are decently far along.
I can see myself directly applying usability testing in the future in product design. The microwave test we undertook could very well be extremely similar to testing that I might do in the future for other kinds of products. The products that would benefit most from usability testing are probably hi-fidelity as they need to be very functional already. Usability testing thus does require more resources but it offers quality feedback. Low-fi projects might be more difficult to usability test as users are unlikely to give as dynamic of feedback if the prototype is not full featured enough.