In week 9’s lecture we looked at Usability testing and I learned a lot about why it’s such an important step in the UX design process and ways to go about it but I also dis some further research to understand how to go about it better.
I looked at the book “Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug which had been suggested to us during the lecture.
I learned a lot from this book. His first law of usability is that the overriding principle of digital design is to make actions as clear and easy to complete as possible so that users know immediately what to do. This could be make the wording of call to action buttons more clear and to the point, or the overall layout of your site for instance. Having things self evident just makes everything seem better. Although sometimes you can’t make things self-evident but if that’s the case he said you should always make things self explanatory.
Other things I learned about usability testing were the difference between focus groups and usability tests, it always makes your product better, doing it with one user is better than none at all, thinking broader scope of users, it’s an iterative process and nothing beats it. Also there’s no good excuse not to among other things relating to how one would actually go about testing.
I also found a great number online sources which also helped me gain more insight into user testing. My particular focus when searching online was how to go about testing with children.
Here are some of the sources that helped me…
- Children’s UX: Usability Issues in Designing for Young People
- Usability Testing with Minors: 16 Tips
My Usability Testing
What I did with my cousin and the conclusions I was able to come to.
When it came to implementing some usability testing to my development for this project my main goals were to make sure that my calls to action where clear enough so. that users would be left stumbling trying to figure out what’s next, and that all my button designs make sense. I’d done quite a bit of research on my target age group’s cognitive ability and understanding of Ui. When I was 10 I was able to understand new interfaces pretty easily which may be because I subconsciously recognised a standard of design that most apps followed. From the research I’d done I came to the conclusion that it’s the same for kids today except they are being introduced to touch screens much earlier than I was so the age that they are able to understand new interfaces is even younger.
Over the Christmas break I had hoped to be able to wrangle a few of my younger cousins together but because covid it just didn’t work out and so I just had my 12 year old boy cousin to help me out with testing.
I printed out some resources from week 9 and got into the testing. I had my cousin over gave him a tablet with my prototype on it and gave him a sheet with a list of 6 tasks. I avoided asking about things that were incredibly obvious like ” decorate room” when there is an incredibly clear call to action button. I focused more on smaller buttons or calls to action that could be less clear and what was integral to being able to learn elements. I decided not to use the think out loud method and instead use the usability testing handout.
Before starting I explained to my cousin that this was not a test of him and he can’t make mistakes here etc. Just the general things you have to tell a participant. Then I would count down from three for before turning on the timer on my phone for each task.
Here were the results…
As you can see, 3 of the task went swimmingly, 2 were ok and 1 was an absolute trainwreck. Basically what happened is that my little cousin kept trying to press on the periodic table in home screen instead of the zoom in bottom in the corner. This let me know know that I should make the whole thing a big button to access the bigger table. When tried once to continue unpacking by clicking on the unpack button in the nav before clicking the call to action button so that let’s me know that I should make the unpack button clickable again on that screen to take you to the boxes again.
To finish up I answer any questions about the apps features he. had and also asked him recognised what certain ui elements and buttons meant like the question mark and what he would find in the burger menu. This qwas to make sure that everything makes enough sensE. I then gave him a system usability scale hand out…
As you can probably tell, he isn’t the biggest fan of nuance for the most part. It told him many many times to not be bias and you can’t hurt my feelings so it’s ok to be honest. It seems then so that his experience with my prototype was a very positive one. He said for the question he answered 3 to that it really depends because even though it is simple and easy to use, someone completely lacking in tech savviness like our granny would still struggle. That’s not me dissing my Granny by the way I love my granny she just doesn’t do screens unless it’s a tv playing soaps.
So initially I viewed this task as a bit of a chore but when I actually got into it I had so much fun. Granted I only had one participant and the process I went with was a lot simpler and maybe less formal than what you’d be doing out in the field but regardless of that, actually trying it out made me appreciate the process and how valuable it can be. I was genuinely thrilled when that first task went wrong because it meant that there was a problem I could solve and I would only have known that because I did the testing. Usability testing is something I’m definitely going to continue incorporating into my design process going forward, in hopefully a larger scale.
Now that i know there are changes to be made i have to go make them. There very easy fixes though since. it’s just a case of adding more connections.