Sprint 2: Usability

The microwave we decided to test

This week’s sprint was about usability. We were required to run a usability test on any microwave of our choosing. We then needed to choose three tasks the user needed to complete, and choose three data sets for each task. The three tasks we chose were setting the cook time to 2 minutes and then starting the microwave, setting the clock to 12:30, and setting the power level to 3. We chose these tasks because we felt like they were the most important interactions people had with their microwaves at home, and that they had the greatest amount of variablility of ways to complete the tasks when you compare it from microwave to microwave. The three data points we chose were the amount of time to complete each task, the number of meaningful touches the user completed, and afterwards we asked each user how difficult each task was on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being very easy and 5 being very difficult. We felt like these data points would give us the best idea of how complicated or streamlined each task was, and would give us a good idea on how to microwave could be improved.

One of our users completing a task

Final video of our results and findings:

Obstacles:

There were a couple questions I began thinking of during the process of the usability testing. I began wondering if the way I was phrasing the task biased the user to complete the task in a specific way or if the questions gave them hints on how we wanted them to complete it. It would be good to learn about how to phrase questions and statements in a way where you can get the most natural results. Another problem that was faced was that we didn’t really have a plan of what to do if the users wanted to quit because they couldn’t figure out the task. We should have planned out how much we would help the user and what hints to give instead of coming up with that on the fly. The users also seemed kind of nervous as they were completing each task, probably because it was a three on one experience. It would be cool to learn more about ways to make the users feel more comfortable while completing usability tests.

Reflection:

I really enjoyed working with the users that we tested. I enjoyed the individuality of the test as only one person went at a time, and it was fascinating to closely observe how each user went about the tasks differently. I am also applying to do usability testing and research for a start-up company called Campus Insights who are hiring a freshman or sophomore to learn their ways of research. It was valuable to get a glimpse of what the work will be like, and this sprint has made me even more excited about this job opportunity.