Usability testing service round up – my first month in post
I joined the team as Usability Testing Service Assistant in late May and have had a busy first month getting to grips with the equipment we use, helping run promotional events and supporting a range of projects.
I was attracted to this post as I wanted to gain further hands-on experience in the field of UX, following in from my Masters degree where I developed an interest and tried out some techniques.
So far I’ve been able to get involved in a range of activities while familiarising myself with the work of the Website Programme and getting a better understanding of Information Services as a whole.I had to hit the ground running and I got involved almost immediately in all stages of our usability testing process including planning, recruitment, facilitating testing sessions, and organising showcase sessions with stakeholders.
Testing a new app for undergraduate students, I got to grips with the UX recorder, which is usability test recording software for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. I very quickly engaged with students around the main campus who were happy to spend a few minutes to try a couple of simple tasks on the app.
I gathered around eight recordings, processed the videos and with little over a day’s effort we were ready for a two hours meeting with the stakeholders. In this session which Neil facilitated, we reviewed the videos I’d recorded and collaboratively prioritised the usability issues we’d seen.The team working on the app were so happy with the results that we’ve been asked to repeat the process once they’ve fixed the issues we uncovered.
I then worked on a showcase project to support the IS Helpline team. Here we looked at how current students interact with the available self-help web pages.For this round of testing, we were working on desktop PCs, so I used Morae which is UX industry standard software. I facilitated the testing sessions, gathered and edited the recordings and this time the review session was undertaken with both the Helpline team and nearly 30 staff from across the University who are interested in our process and services.
Having previously done specialist research with autistic teenagers in an academic context, I’ve learned this month that usability testing does not need to entail lengthy sophisticated procedures or huge expenses. On the contrary, it can be a time and money saver as it helps reduce endless debates and designing from scratch.
All in all, I’m having a great time working with this team, getting insights in how different people perform the same tasks online and contributing in the design of systems that offer the optimum experience to them.