Small-Scale Usability Testing “ Evolution Not Revolutionâ€‌...

download Small-Scale Usability Testing “ Evolution Not Revolutionâ€‌ Darlene Fichter  @usask.ca March 12, 2003 Computers in Libraries 2003

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  • Small-Scale Usability Testing Evolution Not Revolution Darlene Fichterdarlene.fichter@usask.ca

    March 12, 2003Computers in Libraries 2003

  • OutlineWhat is usability?What is user testing?Why conduct tests? 3 types of small scale testsCognitive walkthroughsPreference testingTask based testing

  • What is usability?Ease of useEase of learningFitness for purpose

    An effective product

  • What is user testing?Involves actual users interacting with the web siteTypically users are asked to perform tasks while usability evaluators observe and take note of their actions

  • Why conduct user tests?How do you know it works?

  • Why test?As web managers we want to offer the best service that we canEven the best designers are not representative of the users of their systemsPoor judges of what users want and need

  • Why test?Web development is expensive, and supporting a poorly designed system is even more expensive pay now or pay laterUnhappy users who will leave; often social and political costs

  • Reasons for NOT conducting tests1. Too much moneyUsability testing can fit any budget2. Not enough timeThis is not the case3. Requires a expert consultantThere are many tests you can do yourself

  • Usability Evaluation Techniques

  • Cognitive walkthroughDevelopment team collectively walks through the site They assess:Whether the user has the right information on the current screen to make the next right actionWhether the user even notices the optionWhether the user will confidently make the right choice

  • Cognitive walkthrough works best when:You clearly identify and personalize the user:Joyce, a 40 year old nursing student, has to complete a paper on asthma education programs. She is working from home You designate a recorder to take notes of trouble areasYou have an open culture where you can question things, would she?

  • Typical user of a public library siteJason, 12 years old, keen readerLikes Stephen Kings booksHes in the library, read all the books at his local branch, and wants to request books from another location.

  • Old version

  • Old version of catalogueDefault is authorStephen King

  • Results screen

  • New designCatalogue is more prominentBut does it look clickable or like an ad?Does liric the brand name help or hurt?

  • New search screenControls are placed BEFORE the box where you typeDefault is title keyword most common?Will he think to change it?

  • Mockup StageHome pageSee if your user could find the correct 1st step on the path to completing the 5 most common tasks for your siteWorkflow applications with formsDifficult to design without a cognitive walkthough

  • Union Catalogue Search Page Mockup

  • When can you use a cognitive walkthrough?Almost at any stage as long as you have a some ideas of the screens and wordingBest used early in development to prevent problems when live Can be an effective technique to use on a live site before redesign

  • Preference testingAlso called cookie testingZero in on troubling labels

  • Example: Interlibrary loanWhich label best describes asking your library to order a book from another library?1. Request book from another library2. Interlibrary Loan3. Request forms4. Books from other libraries

  • Live Reference on Health Sciences Library SiteWords in the label and the design were crucial to the useHow could we get the right words?What about the design?

  • Testing the Wording

  • Rounds 4-5: Small graphic and wording

  • Task testing with usersUsers are given specific tasks Asked to verbalize their thoughtsObserve, record, and debrief

  • Guerilla testingGuerilla style testing was popularized by Jakob NielsenShowed that simple low tech testing of five to seven users could yield excellent results5 users will typically uncover 80% of site-level usability problems

  • Example tasksFind a 5 scholarly articles on global warmingFind a book on patenting human genesFind out when your books are dueFind the phone number for the library closest to your house.

  • MeasurementsTime on taskNumber of errorsDifficulty in NavigationUnderstanding site structureUser satisfaction

  • Edmonton Public LibraryTook two tactics for testing:Full blown site wide testing on the current site Small scale testing for iterations of the home pageMuch quicker to carry out

  • Edmonton Public Library Home pageOne weekHad two designsOne more minimalistOne portal style with many linksTested for 3 afternoonsParticipants were asked where theyd click to try to complete 7 tasksWe wanted a very high success rate on the main page

  • New Home Page 6 Rounds of Tests

  • Task Based TestingExcellent way to gather dataIf you cant formally do tests, consider informally was you watch someone try to find a book or journal on your web site. Train yourself to be an observerTesting just 1 user is 100% better than testing no users at all

  • Can short tests be effective?Absolutely! First testing gets done.You can focus on a particular aspect of the site that is troubling and fix it anytime. Avoid the pitfalls of waiting for a big study:Web team is overwhelmed by so many things to fix that they are parallelizedBig studies are timed just before the site launches too late to change anything substantive

  • Key Advantage of Short TestsYou can do more of themOften the problem Is easier to spot than the solutionSeveral rounds of testing help you get a solution that works well Iterative

  • In conclusionUsability testing does not have to be:ExpensiveTime consumingDifficultIts a great technique for making your web site better for your users.

  • ThanksQuestions?

    Darlene Fichterdarlene.fichter@usask.ca

    Experienced testers takes 1.5 week full timeExperienced testers takes 1.5 week full timeTakes 1.5 weeks to do full blown site testing