In a recent seminar we learnt about usability testing and thought of possible questions to test the usability of an interactive piece example. Usability testing is when you test/evaluate a product with its aimed audience. It is important that I usability text my piece with the target audience as it will allow me to see its suitability and fitness for purpose. As well as allowing me to find out how users behave with the piece and what they experience from it (UX). Kuniavsky (2003, p.18) claims that
‘A good user experience doesn’t guarantee success, but a bad one is nearly always a quick route to failure.’
This shows the importance of carrying out usability tests, as without a satisfied audience my piece would be unsuccessful. He also suggests:
‘What makes a good experience varies from person to person, product to product, and task to task, but a good general definition is to define something as “usable” if it’s functional, efficient, and desirable to its intended audience.’
Carrying out usability tests will allow me to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to determine whether my piece is desirable to its intended audience. Quantitative data is that which deals with numbers, it can be measured and easily analysed and made into graphs/chart. An example of a quantitative question could be ‘Did you understand how to use the piece?’, the responses from this would simply be yes/no, hence allowing you to easily measure/analyse user responses. Qualitative data is that which is more descriptive, giving you individuals own personal opinions and views on the piece. An example of a qualitative question could be ‘Discuss what you like about the piece?’, hence giving you more detailed, quality answers. Quantitative questions are normally used when testing a big group of people as they could be good in order to find out who to target, however the responses aren’t usually very accurate and aren’t detailed enough for you to gain ideas on how to improve the piece and hence follow an iterative design process. Therefore, for my piece it would be best to use qualitative question when carrying out usability tests as it will allow me get more descriptive, useful answers as well as gain more feedback and improvements that I could possibly make. I need to ensure that I word the questions in the correct way in order to get qualitative responses from users as sometimes they can give yes/no responses which wouldn’t be as useful, therefore to do this I could use ‘discuss’/’explain’ in the question which encourages them to give a longer answer. From this, I have learnt a lot more about usability testing and quantitative/qualitative data. It will benefit my piece and means I will follow an iterative design process. Next, I will go on to create a prototype for my piece and test it with the aimed audiences.
Kuniavsky, M, 2003. Observing the User Experience : A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research [online]. Burlington, MA, USA: Morgan Kaufmann.