Sprint 2: Usability Testing
For this sprint, we were asked to conduct a usability test on a coffee maker. It was a group project and I had the chance to work alongside Monica and Jeff. We decided to pay a visit to Jeff’s fraternity and conduct a test on the usability of their coffee maker.
We decided to test freshman fraternity members that were first time users of coffee makers. We tested the coffee maker on the usability of making a cup of coffee, finding some manufacturing information and changing a coffee filter. The three boys we tested all did really well, and over all the coffee maker had a good usability level. Click here to watch a video on more details of our test.
Usability tests are a field I am really interested in. So I was super excited to do this sprint. We feature these in our video, but given the chance -one awesome rerun of the test could be to ask those who are self-claimed coffee fanatics that have never used a coffee maker before to be tested. I am sure they would yield interesting results.
We struggled a little because it was kind of hard to think of the three tasks we wanted to have the users test, but after our Studio session I got a much better idea of the types of tasks that best represent usability.
What I really liked about this project was that it was a real test that we conducted. Some classes would have only had us plan the test, but to have us actually go out and work with users was fun and a good learning experience. I also really enjoyed working on a group project and having others to share ideas with and get feedback from.
It is absolutely always important to think about users and tasks in our society to make a difference. It is essential to create a product that is easy to use for the intended audience. For example, Apple’s original plan to create simple designs with their hardware are what created their empire. From a monetary value, nobody will buy any product that you put on the market if it is difficult or unclear on its use. Usability testing is also needed outside of technology. I remember a few years back there was a news story on an elementary school that built a whole new playground- but the proportions and heights for all the equipment was not comfortable for elementary age school children use. Simply taking more time to think of the user would have helped with this.
Usability testing was a great experience, and I hope I get a chance to pursue the field more as I get deeper in my interests for HCDE!