Sprint 2: Usability

[HCDE Process Blog 3]
by Paolo Honrade on October 14th, 2016

Usability test link below:

Usability test group presentation

1) Testing our Limits

My group figuring out different tasks and data points to test for in our Usability Test.

For this sprint, we created groups to do perform an Usability Test on household appliances, ours being a microwave. The test must have three participants, three different tasks, and three different data points. My group wanted common everyday tasks to be performed at the test, but added a much more difficult one of changing the power level of a microwave. Usually, microwaves act the same when you put something to cook or change the time, our other tasks. Going back on our last sprint, I wanted to count the number of touches or interactions with the microwaves as one of our data points. Microwaves give audio cues when a button is pressed, so it definitely something to keep track of. We also measured the time to complete each task and asked the tester, “How easy on a scale from 1–5, 1 being easy and 5 being difficult, was completing the task?” We gathered 18–21 year old college student males, as they seem to be a large demographic in our area and it was also convenient to find them. During the test, I acted as the timer and recorder, while Ben was the facilitator and Amy was the note taker and video recorder.

2) Checking back on our Results

Spreadsheet results of our test.

Looking back at the spreadsheet, the slide presentation, and the usability test, I wonder how our results may have been changed if we had multiple microwaves to test. I believe that the testers would of been more comfortable using microwaves and be more aware of how to use it. Also, I would of liked to test other groups of people. For example, testing elementary aged students or elderly people in another usability test on microwaves. A problem that arose from our test was dealing with testers who had difficulty using the product or knowing when to give the user assistance. One of testers, Ken, flawlessly performed the first task of setting the cooking timer to two minutes. However, when he to change the time to 12:30pm, he struggled to put 30 minutes for the time. He asked us if he could give up, but we didn’t let him and urged him to keep trying and he eventually completed the task. If we prepared a scenario when our tester is completely lost, it would make our test run more seamlessly, but it did add a new observation to our data.

3) “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork.”

Creating a mock usability test on water bottles as an introduction to “Usability.”

I really enjoyed working with my teammates: Amy and Ben. Usually for sprints, we have to work individually and work on every aspect of the project. But with a group, it allows each member to use their strengths and cover each others’ weaknesses. I don’t think our presentation would be as good as it is, if we all worked individually. Group projects can be a hassle, but this experience was the opposite of that.

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