Sprint 2: Usability Testing

1 Usability tests

How to conduct usability tests and why its useful.

This week we learned about usability testing. Companies use usability tests to make sure they are designing for real users rather than imagined ones. My group for this week included Joyce Zhou and Riti Gupta. Our project objective was to evaluate a Kenmore 80323 over-the-range microwave.

The microwave we are testing

Since usability is the extent to which a product can be used by specified users, my group wanted to make sure that our participants were all intended users. By selecting college students who are living alone for the first time, we were able to capture a slice of the population who would most likely use a microwave.

Gathering feedback from a neighbor group

One of the major steps in designing our usability tests was gathering feedback. By getting an outside perspective, my group was able to reformat our tests and data collection. By the end of studio we successfully created a test that looked at the effectiveness, efficiency , and satisfaction of the microwave.

2 Reflection on Experience

Process and problems that we encountered during the experience.

Looking back at the experience, I realized how much I enjoy group work. On top of the brainstorming and general work, we all brought our own strengths. Riti designed the slides while Joyce formatted the slide content. Our strengths really complimented each other.

Some potential problems in our usability test had to do with our inexperience. This includes not creating a specific script that encompasses both the procedure and follow up questions. Creating a script would aid in decreasing the variability among test questions, and might reduce potential response biases. Another aspect that we could have improved on is testing. While running our usability tests we did not isolate the participants. This could potentially sway our results as participants might learn from previous trials. Finally, our time measurements may have been skewed because some participants talked more than others. This could have influenced the time that it took for them to perform the given test. Overall, I think my group did a great job for our first usability test, but there are areas for us to improve.

3 Future Applications and Significance

Where can this be applied and examples of usability testing failures.

Usability testing is essential in any type of project. Businesses work around satisfying the needs and wants of consumers, so it is important for companies to design products for real users rather than imagined ones. Examples of many product failures can be traced down to improper or lack of usability testing. An example is the government’s healthcare.gov website. With an early launch, it was plagued with bugs and glitches. By conducting proper user testing, these issues could have been fixed before the launch. This costed the government millions of dollars as they had to work on multiple relaunches. Proper usability testing is an essential part of product development.

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