Today I ran some usability testing on my elements project app. This enabled me to observe how real people interact with the app and uncover any issues with usability.
I used the think-aloud protocol which involves the user talking out loud while completing different tasks. As this was happening, I took down notes on any issues they faced or questions they had
Task: Navigate through the whole app
When on the main screen, clicking through the elements, an issue was faced. The user asked, “Why do I have to click twice on the objects?”. This is because there is an error when clicking the objects as you must click off them before clicking the next. This has shown me the importance of resolving this issue as it’s frustrating for the user and increases the number of clicks they must do.
When navigating this screen, the user asked if the plant was a clickable object. This made me realise that it wasn’t as obvious as I thought. Perhaps this is because the background is darker at the bottom of the screen, so it blends in more. To resolve this, I may change the colour or position of it to make it stand out more.
Overall, they found the app easy to navigate and thought the information was relevant and interesting. They mentioned the fun facts and how it keeps them engaged.
Task: Find the treasure chest and tell me its atomic number
When they first entered the main screen, they didn’t really know where to go from there. This is because they didn’t know you could scroll down to find more elements. This isn’t something I had thought about before but now I realise that there is nothing prompting users to scroll down. To resolve this, I may add text saying, “scroll down to find more elements”. The user suggested adding a scroll bar at the side so this is another thing I will consider.
Other than this, they were able to complete the task. I decided to time how long it took them to complete it versus how long it took me to complete it as someone more familiar. I took 13 seconds to complete the task and the user took 23 seconds. The issues they faced with scrolling and the time it takes them to read the text is why it took them longer. For someone who has never used the app before, I feel that the time they took was reasonable. However, I will be able to reduce this time by fixing the usability issues.
I found doing this incredibly valuable. It made me see my app from a different perspective and seeing people interact with it in different ways was interesting. It uncovered issues that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I can now make these valuable changes and make my app more user-friendly.