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Usability Test Overview


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Usability Test Overview

  1. 1. Assignment 6: Writing to Present Findings from a Usability Test*
  2. 2. Overview Or, what the heck are tools and apps?
  3. 3. What is it?  You will be doing an “individual walkthrough” of TWO digital tools or apps that may be useful for technical writers.  You may also use to tools or apps that are useful in your field.
  4. 4. But Ari … what do you mean by a tool or app? I’m glad you asked! Tools: Digital tools, often referred to as Web 2.0 technology. They are often web-based. Apps: Apps are free or purchased technology that perform a certain function. These are often downloaded but may also be web-based
  5. 5. What to Choose  Two digital tools or apps that can be compared.  Often, these are similar in scope or function.  I bet you want examples, huh?
  6. 6. Examples! Loads of them.
  7. 7. Examples: Presentations & Word Processing  Google Docs  Prezi  Powerpoint  Zoho  Microsoft  Pages  Empressr Word
  8. 8. Examples: Infographics and Data Visualization       Piktochart Publisher Illustrator Photoshop    Wordle Google Timeline
  9. 9. Examples: Web Design & Blogs  Wix  Weebly  WordPress  Blogger
  10. 10. Examples: Social Media & Bookmarking  Facebook  Twitter  Google Plus  Pinterest  Mashable   LinkedIn
  11. 11. Examples: Cloud Storage  Dropbox   iCloud  JustCloud  ZipCloud
  12. 12. And MORE!  ArcGIS vs. free online mapping tools  Google Maps vs. Yahoo Maps  MatLab  Any other digital tools you may use.  Skype vs. Facebook chat vs. Facetime etc
  13. 13. How to Get Started Don’t know where to start? Follow these steps.
  14. 14. Usability Test: Step 1  Choose your tools. It’s easiest if you don’t have expert-level knowledge of these tools.  Decide on a set of tasks you will do using each product.  For example, if you are comparing Facebook and Twitter, your tasks might be signing up, logging in, posting a status, replying to a status, etc.
  15. 15. Usability Test: Step 2     Do each task for each app. Take detailed notes as you do the tasks – this will make writing your paper so much easier! Test the affordances (those things that work well) and constraints (those things that don’t work well of the limitations of the tool). Pay attention to any problems you encounter when trying to use the product. Be sure to note them!
  16. 16. Usability Test: Step 3  Write up your findings in a White Paper format. About 1000 words.  Audience:  Potential users of the tools or apps you test. Imagine that you have been asked to write a white paper about your test for Technology Today, an internet site dedicated to offering information about the latest technology.
  17. 17. White Paper Format How is it supposed to look?
  18. 18. In general, it should follow this outline: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Title Page Introduction section Methods section Results section Recommendation section
  19. 19. Format: Title Page  Title Page: Yes, there needs to be a title page.  Tips: Be specific and apply design features to make the title page interesting to potential readers.
  20. 20. Format: Introduction Section  Rhetorically, the introduction creates a permanent record of what was tested, why, and for whom.  Be specific in describing the products and typical users of these products.
  21. 21. Format: Methods Section  Describe the specific tasks you did when using each product. Consider using a list here.  State when you did the test, where, and anything else that helps a reader understand the testing methods you used such as type of computer (laptop, desktop, tablet?).  Be very specific!
  22. 22. Format: Results Section (Part 1)  Make a decision about how best to organize your results.  Use subheadings in this section to help readers navigate and revisit information.  Use elements of excellent design.
  23. 23. Format: Results Section (Part 2)  Present the findings of the test by explaining the affordances and constraints of the tasks you completed.  You may want to use graphics such as screen shots to illustrate claims you are making.
  24. 24. Format: Results Section (Part 3)  If you experienced problems when working with a product that proved to be inconvenient, such as an app crashing your browser, report those problems by describing what happened.  Be specific, describing the who/what/where/when information.
  25. 25. Format: Results Section (Part 4)  You may also want to determine the scope and severity of a problem and/or constraint and provide readers with a means of understanding these by using a rating scale such as:     Unusable: the user cannot or will not perform the task. Severe: the user’s attempt to perform the task is severely hampered. Moderate: the user can perform the task with moderate effort to overcome the problem. Irritant: the problem is cosmetic, or does not present significant difficulty in the user’s effort to perform the task.
  26. 26. Format: Results Section (Part 5)  Further, determine what part of the product the error affects. It may affect only one part of the product (local problems), several parts, but not all, of the product (semi-local or semi-global problems), or the entire product (global problem).
  27. 27. Format: Recommendation  Make recommendations to potential users of the product.  Consider if it is useful to explain which product might be best for a novice vs. a product for a more experienced user.
  28. 28. DONE! Questions? Please ask. 