This week we learned about screening users and creating tasks for them. We had to come up with a screener for advanced users on a pizza site, as well as create tasks for those who would get through. We worked in groups and shared answers with each other to build off of what we had.
The hardest part was the screener, coming up with questions that weren’t obvious but would eliminate users who weren’t qualified. Defining advanced users was an issue. A lot of our questions were similar in our group, so coming up with more was hard to do. The tasks part was easier, but still took some thought. The pace was quick, especially with the reading, but not overwhelmingly so. Overall, it was a good, if challenging, exercise.
It was interesting to learn about two types of usability this week, formative and summative, and try to go in depth with each one, because of the arguments we had to make for one over the other. In the situation given us, I chose to argue for formative testing, as I thought it would work better for the situation.
The only user testing I’ve personally done is for another one of these classes, but it was insightful. I’ve also seen some of the results from user testing in projects I’ve had at work, with a team set up specifically to conduct the testing. Their findings helped change the design in some cases, so it was valuable, if a little hard to take.
I didn’t know what to expect the first week of this class, but when I learned we would study discount usability, I was glad it would be about something so practical. The reading was interesting and enlightening, since it advocated not making such a big deal over the logistics of usability testing, but to focus more on the qualitative data found in the testing.
It was interesting to realize that usability is not about the statistics, that’s what marketing is more concerned about. User experience isn’t easily quantifiable, but it is important. It’s important to focus on what is to be gained from testing and what the goals are.
This week we planned testing for the prototype, figuring out what we needed to test and why. It was interesting creating the plan, even though we won’t actually carry it out. Just thinking about how the prototype would stand up under a test made me think about how it could be improved. I wonder what feedback others would give me.
This week we focused on organizing the work we’ve done into both a presentation and a portfolio piece. Though the content was similar for both, I found the presentation, which would be for the client buy off, should be more to the point with larger type, readable from a distance, while a portfolio piece might be studied up close and focus more on the thinking than the actual solution. It was an interesting exercise, showing the different audiences that might inspect work.
Aside from iterating on the prototype, there wasn’t much going on this week. Going through and seeing other people’s prototypes helped me see where I was missing things on mine. It’s good to review and collaborate. I focused on the visual aspects of the prototype this week after getting the functionality to a level I liked. I think it’s coming along well.
This week I learned about how many little interactions are in any software or website without me even noticing. Building prototypes made me realize how many little interactions happen and how much time needs to go into each one to make it a smooth experience. It was a good awakening.
This week we didn’t have any reading, just worked on the wireframes. Going through the group was useful to get feedback on things I missed and could have improved, as well as seeing what other people have done. I feel I learned a lot about wireframing this week, just by doing so many of them.
This week my interaction class was calmer than the last week, since we didn’t have to turn in anything, but there are a lot of wireframes we’ll have to turn in next week. Going through the readings, what stood out to me the most was the different types of wireframes, from low fidelity quick sketches to higher fidelity ones made through software. The term covers a wide range of ways to do them. Also, even though in the homework we’re told to keep to pencil and paper, since it’s supposedly faster than learning to use a software program, since I already know several programs, I feel that personally I could do it faster that way. But I have noticed that sketching still has some advantages, like not worrying about some details like type size so much, so I’ll go ahead with that.
I have now entered into the general classes of my masters, no longer in the introductory courses. And being plunged into interaction, a class never offered before, has been a little stressful. But it has been good to understand better user journeys and sitemaps. There was a lot of interesting information, especially when it comes to making a sitemap for a mobile app, which plays out differently than a normal desktop website. Let’s hope the next weeks go a little smoother.