HCDE 210// Usability Test

Introduction in studio session:
The third studio session involved thinking of the concept of usability test and putting that into perspective by setting up our own usability test using microwaves. While discussing the logistics of our usability test, my partner Amol and I decided on these three things: the tasks we wanted to test, the data we wanted to collect, and the target demographic we wanted to test. We wanted to emphasize on our target demographic (college students aged 18 living in dorms) because we wanted to see how familiar freshmen in college who are transitioning into a much independent life would handle everyday tasks that included the microwave.

Discussing with my partner (Amol) about the different tasks that we can assign our participant to do; we decided on the following three tasks: 1. Setting the power wattage to 100°, 2. Setting the preset to cook a potato, 3. Opening the microwave door since the design of the specific microwave we were using (Oster OGB61102) was very different from the common microwave doors
Participant 1 had the most difficulty and most errors completing the three tasks because their familiarity with microwaves was the lowest compared to the other two participants.

Reflection on my experience with usability testing:
One thing I would like to explore in the future is the concept of usability testing in a much bigger and professional environment: Because the experiment was done in a dorm, I felt like the participants were apprehensive about the tests. I enjoyed interacting with the participants but noticed that because of my friendliness, the atmosphere was less professional than I would have liked it to be but one takeaway I got from usability testing is how important the interaction and the message you want to portray to your participants are, especially that their ability is not being tested, but the application itself is.

Using this to better my works in the future:
In the future, I see myself using this experience as a way of making sure that I think about the logistics such as target demographic, the data I would like to collect, and especially WHAT I want my product to achieve. Before learning about usability testing, I only thought about the design of my product and how I wanted my product to turn out, but applying this to real life situations, I’ll be able to better the final outcome by engaging with the target demographic to get real life feedback on how to better the product.

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