Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Update on Outreachy usability testing

I wanted to share a brief update on the usability testing project that I am working on with Gina, as part of Outreachy. I am honored to work with Gina this cycle on usability testing, and she is doing a great job.

Gina's usability test will focus on Nautilus, Evince + Characters, Calendar, and Image Viewer. She has assembled a series of scenario tasks that simulate how a person would actually use GNOME and the applications. These scenario tasks have gone through significant revision and are much better representative of typical usage by average users.

This week and next, Gina will lead the usability test, with about twelve test volunteers. I'm very pleased that Gina has developed a script to welcome each tester and explain what the usability test is about. Gina and I also developed a simple form to capture some information about the testers: their age, their experience level, and their technical level. We do this to demonstrate in the analysis that the usability test adequately represents GNOME users.

I look forward to this usability test!
image: Outreachy

Thursday, July 9, 2015

In-person usability testing

I wanted to share this blog post from a colleague at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, discussing the recent usability testing they hosted for Drupal, the open source content management system. A few quotes:

U-hosted usability evaluation advances Drupal 8

On the other side of the two-way mirror, the Drupal team of observers were able to see how volunteers’ eyes moved around the screen, where they clicked, and what they typed. Observers also were able to hear test subjects describe what they were doing as they were doing it, and what they liked and didn’t like about the pre-launch of Drupal 8

Best of all, observers were able to discuss what they were seeing real-time. They took notes and, after each session, identified and rated the importance of problems encountered.

In-person usability testing can be very powerful for developers, as it provides them an unfiltered view to how users are actually using their programs. Developers can witness where users are struggling with the interface, what is working well versus what areas need improvement.
image: University of Minnesota