Usability Testing Process Blog

WHAT

In this activity, my group and I performed a usability test to test the performance of a household microwave. To perform this test, we collected three subjects, all 19-year-old female college students, and asked them to open the microwave, set a timer to 1 minute 37 seconds, and to cancel a timer. We collected data on the time it took these participants to complete their task, whether they completed, and their overall satisfaction of the operation on a scale of 1–7. This data proved that the task of setting a timer on our microwave was subjectively difficult across all subjects, though other operations such as opening the microwave and canceling the timer were both easy tasks to accomplish. Below can be seen photos of my group and I brainstorming tasks and data to collect from our users, as well as a link to our video presentation of the test, and an additional link to a video of the task being performed as a visual aid.

My group and I brainstorming ideas for tasks for our users to perform.
My group and I getting a group review for our project ideas.

SO WHAT

In this project, I really enjoyed analyzing such an everyday appliance as the microwave for its functionality, because it made me think a lot more about improvements that can be made in everyday technology to make them more design efficient. I found myself thinking more about the design of various products in general, and what goes into the making and finalizing of any such product. It was interesting to see the responses to our microwave by our test subjects, as they all reacted to the stimulus differently. The last test subject was the most interesting to study, as she responded to the stimulus completely differently than our past two subjexts. She noted things like noises and design changes that the other two subjects failed to pick up on, and we added value to this criticism.

NOW WHAT

In the future, I hope to finesse the clarity value of the operations that are given to participants, because I noticed specifically on our second task it was a little bit confusing for our participants to understand. I found it interesting and would love to explore wider user groups as well in usability testing, just to test if the reaction to certain products is widespread or not. This project was incredibly helpful for me to get a sense of what usability testing really is and how it is performed, because I had no indication in the past, and it could possibly be in my favor to use this new knowledge in things like testing my own designs in the future.