Usability testing: Screening for good participants


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This brief talk describes a method of filtering out qualified (but, not cooperative) participants.

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Usability testing: Screening for good participants

  1. 1. What is a “Bad” participant? <ul><li>One that acts like they’ve got better things to do than be here </li></ul><ul><li>One that says they like everything about the product (even when there are things that are un-likeable) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A.K.A. One that doesn’t feel comfortable sharing their thoughts (positive or negative) </li></ul></ul>Oh, this site is just perfect! Uh, yeah... Duh.
  2. 2. To ensure that each participant is comfortable sharing their thoughts: <ul><li>Ask each qualified candidate some special questions like… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Imagine that your cell phone, your computer and your shoes came to life. What would each one of those items have to say about you?* </li></ul></ul>*Credit for this question goes to Cambridge Focus
  3. 3. Example quality response <ul><li>Aleksandra said: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Shoes would say that she hardly ever changes them, she needs to go out and spend some money on some cool new shoes and have fun. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cell phone would say that is it time to update this old phone, why is she still using this old thing, she should get an iPhone because it knows she really wants one! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer would say that she loves it because it is shiny and new and spends way too much time on it and spends too much money shopping online for things instead of leaving the house and going to the store.” </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Not-so-good responses <ul><li>Doubting Dolores says: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Uh, I don’t know. What do you want them to say?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Positive Pricilla says: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ They’d all say good things.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negative Nelly says: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ugh. Is this some kind of joke? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. A quality response to my special question leads to quality responses during a usability study. Right now, I’m wondering where my stuff is stored… This sentence here makes me think I have to upload all my files first before I can save my profile. I wish there were a way that I could see all the other people who listen to the same music as I do. I’d like this thing to tell me how much I will save before I give my credit card information.
  6. 6. Other questions that might work <ul><li>Imagine that your wallet, your credit card and your bank account came to life. What would they say about you? (For a financial application) </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine that your dog could talk. What would he say about your veterinarian? (For a pet insurance web site) </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine that your car, your keys and your driveway came to life. What would they say about you? (For a car rental site) </li></ul>