Usability Testing: A Brief Introduction for the Novice

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4/14 & 4/15 CARLI Webinar on basic usability testing.

4/14 & 4/15 CARLI Webinar on basic usability testing.

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  • 1. Usability Testing: A Brief Introduction for the Novice. Presented by Jenny Emanuel & Robert Slater
  • 2. What are Usability Studies? What is User Experience?
  • 3. What’s required legally: The Institutional Review Board and You
  • 4. What you need (well, what we recommend at least :) An interviewer An interviewee A set of questions Something to take notes/record with
  • 5. Kick it up a notch: record the interviews
  • 6. Redundancy is always good!
  • 7. Let’s get even fancier Options range from free (well, if you already have the hardware) to very expensive (as much as $2,500). A totally free option: CamStudio A similar, moderately priced alternative ($300 or less): Techsmith Camtasia A high end option ($1,500+): Techsmith Morae.
  • 8. Developing and testing your survey/tool Some example questions & tasks: Have you had to do any research to complete any assignment in any of your classes since you’ve been at the University? Can you tell me a little about an assignment? In regards to the VuFind main page… 1) Is it obvious what to do? Yes _____ No _____ What were you trying to do? 2) Open the drop down box, examine the options. Do you recognize these options? Yes _____ No _____ Some _____
  • 9. Recruitment, Incentives and Scheduling Issues
  • 10. Conducting the interview/survey do’s, don’ts, and lessons learned Data Storage Your survey/question set: how detailed should it be?
  • 11. Show & Tell: Robert Undergraduate students told/showed us: What we expected: Research methods are dominated by free web “pre-searching,” search first, ask questions later approach because they are they are search dominant (they don’t want to browse or read). They also shy away from asking librarians (and even professors) for help, and consider that a last resort (and in some cases, a poor reflection on their own abilities). What we didn’t expect: They don’t use their academic library even if they have had completely positive experiences using public or high school libraries in the past. They generally don’t use their mobile phones for web browsing. Although they tend to have laptops (as opposed to desktops) they rarely carry them around with them. So What? We got real-world proof from a local user population that showed we need to focus on the single- search box entry point on out library home page, pushing out “goodies” alongside results, rather than hoping to divert them to teach them what to use and how to use it first. We were able to watch for search behaviors (what sites they used, what features attracted them, etc.) and can then make our site fit their behaviors, rather than trying to make their behaviors fit out site.
  • 12. Show & Tell: Jenny Great Quotes: “VuFind is going to make the old online catalog as awkward as using the card catalog is now” “VuFind strikes me as a dumbed down version of the Google search page designed to appeal to freshmen who are used to doing Google searches rather than a serious catalog geared towards scholars conducting serious research.” User Habits: •Undergrads search differently than we do (really!) •Acceptance of a beta •Saw what is important to users •Shows where users get hung up •Our users love the library and what we do for them!
  • 13. For More Help Take a look at some of Jakob Nielsen’s work on what makes a web site usable. Although these texts won’t teach you how to run a usability study, they’ll give you a great foundation to work from during the inevitable modifications you’ll be making to your resources after you run your usability studies. Usability 101 Take a look at, well, any of his books, but this one in particular: Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity His web site, useit.com. Consider subscribing for to the alertbox for updates. Also, look at Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (not library specific, but extremely easy and entertaining to read)
  • 14. For Even More Help Some suggested reading on the benefits of usability studies: Fried Foster, Nancy. Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester Lindahl, David & Nancy Fried Foster. Enhancing E-Resources by Studying Users: The University of Rochester's Analysis of Faculty Perspectives on an Institutional Repository Consider joining the University of Rochester Usability list-serv. The community here is well informed and extremely helpful. Qualitative Research Resources: Seidman, Irving. Interviewing as Qualitative Research: A Guide for researchers in Education and the Social Sciences Patton, Michael Quinn. Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods
  • 15. Okay, enough with the help already! You can contact either of us! Robert Slater, rslater@illinois.edu Jenny Emanuel, emanuelj@illinois.edu