10/14 Usability Testing

In class, we thought about specific oven functions to test that would give us results to help make more people-friendly ovens in the future. Those included lights signifying a function turned “on”, the movable racks inside an oven, the readability of an oven interface, how to turn on an oven, and so on. We narrowed the testing down to three tasks: turning on the oven, moving the middle rack to the top rack, and identifying heat recognition on the oven’s interface.

We took ample time in class to decide oven functions for the users to test that would give us effective, efficient, and satisfactory results.

Then, we thought about how to collect data from the tasks. To make the data usable for each task, we chose to test users on level of task difficulty (on a scale of 1–5, 1 being easiest, 5 being hardest), the time it took them to complete the task, and how they think the oven function could be improved in the future. Originally, we wanted to do location for our third task, instead of improvement; however, that brought confusion in practice in lab. One of our class test users suggested to ask usability testers for their improvement suggestions. That specific data supplied us with satisfactory results.

Discussing user testing tasks and data with other class members helped us improve our test plan.

Since two of the three of our group members lived in residence halls, we chose to do the test in Alder Hall with three residents from the building. The three users had varying levels of experience with oven use; however, they were all 18, using the same oven in Alder.

For each user test, Ankush asked the same questions (we wrote them down beforehand), while Ally and I took notes and timed the users. Here is a link to our results:

We had the most difficulty choosing what data to collect from our users. With such simple tasks for people who had most likely used an oven before, we took a while to choose a data collection method that would give us effective, efficient, and satisfactory results. The improvement suggestion was helpful.

In the future, I will use tasks that provide a little more of a challenge. For this assignment, we received a decent amount of information, maybe enough to make a better oven. However, I feel that we could do more in a usability test. This project was certainly a nice way to ease into usability testing.

For this project, I enjoyed collaborating and interacting with the people on my team and test users. I made new friends and we accomplished a task together. Observing the users in the test, silently taking notes and timing, I felt that I took in more of the interaction between human and technology. I learned common responses to a student interacting with a specific oven for the first time. I noticed different parts of their body language (unsureness, ease when they figured out what they were doing, etc) when I just got to observe, rather than interact in full with the users.

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