Reactome: Usability testing - is it useful?
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Reactome: Usability testing - is it useful?

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My colleagues from the EBI, Steve Jupe and Bijay Jassal, wanted to carry out usability testing for the Reactome website....

My colleagues from the EBI, Steve Jupe and Bijay Jassal, wanted to carry out usability testing for the Reactome website.

I helped them with how to carry out straightforward, discount testing, and they took from there. It was a success, I am very happy to say!

I didn't work on this project directly, so I consider it a nice bit of undercover UX.

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Reactome: Usability testing - is it useful? Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Reactome usability testing :was it useful?Steve Jupe
  • 2. Why do usability testing? Learn from user behaviour Test assumptions to inform the design process Involve users in design Identify unnecessary features and spot issues Fix problems early (when it’s easy) Objective evidence, not opinions Reassure stakeholders Save a lot of work later on....
  • 3. Who? Identify the right users to test  Who are the intended audience for the features you want to test?  Do you have access to a sample set?
  • 4. Recruiting We need volunteers to test our website – biologists who occasionally use Reactome are ideal. Testing involves working through typical usage scenarios, e.g. ‘Is Fyn in Reactome, and if so in what pathways?’. Duration ~1 hour. All participants receive a gift! Purpose is to record when the user has difficulties with the task – not a test of the user! Results will guide our next design /improvements phase. Contact: sjupe@ebi.ac.uk
  • 5. Test scenarios Write scenarios and tests  Guide (not show) the volunteer to key views or functions  Open-ended tasks, no answers provided  You want to identify when the user finds it difficult to complete the task – and how you could address this
  • 6. Resources required A quiet place with some privacy  Best if a familiar setting for the user  Privacy to avoid disturbance and relax test subject PC with software or web access to site  Optional: webcam, microphone, keylogger software such as Silverback (Mac) or BB FlashBack (free!) Observer with notepad  To note issues as they arise  Ideally observer and tester  Tester interacts with test subject  Observer can focus entirely on observing, may ask follow-up questions
  • 7. The testing process Use a Tester and an Observer Explain the testing process – use a script if you need to Explain that the site, not the user, is being tested User background – biologist or programmer? Helps to relax the volunteer Ask volunteer to give a running commentary Explain scenarios. Start tasks by reading them out, give a reference paper copy. End testing when time runs out, or tests becomes frustrating
  • 8. During the test... Remind the test subject to keep up the running commentary Guide the test subject only when needed - don’t train Try not to directly answer questions, guide. Ask questions that draw out answers:  What are you thinking now?  Is that what you expected to happen/see? If there is an issue, note it but also investigate, ask test subject as above, try to find out why there is an issue, what would avoid it/improve it.
  • 9. ..What do the objects on the diagram mean?
  • 10. Drawing Conclusions Don’t leap to conclusions – 5 or 6 people can be enough to identify common issues, 3 is not. Look for common themes in your observations... Video is for deeper analysis but often the top problems become obvious...we didn’t use our videos
  • 11. More info EBI Usability experts (Jenny Cham, Francis Rowland, Sangya Pundir) http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com/category/usability/ http://www.ebi.ac.uk/~frowland/dev/usability_testing/us ability_resources.php Lots of online books & videos
  • 12. Acting on the results Reactome developers brought in to group issues by technology and difficulty  Usability identifies potential issues - there may be more than one solution  Resolution depends on difficulty/resources  Find and fix early! Project Prioritization Poker used to prioritize usability issues against other objectives (i.e. our wish-list)  Fun - but serves it’s purpose, ranking with scores  Reactome Management adjustments and sign-off Final ranking used to generate task list(s)
  • 13. Priority list
  • 14. Diagram Key
  • 15. Participating molecules
  • 16. Summary Usability testing has proven to be: Easy to set up and run Useful:  Identified unexpected issues (e.g. Zoom level)  Used to avoid guesswork on known issues and help rank developer activities Usability testing planned for:  Alternate pathway illustration styles  Redesigned layout for Homepage  Diagram key alternatives