Remote usability testing, Loop 11, and the orange page.

Hello again everyone.

This week I had the experience of creating a remote usability test for weather.com for a class assignment by using the Loop11 program.  This was an interesting experience and I learned a lot that I feel like sharing.

1.  Be prepared for things to go wrong!  I discovered that setting up the tasks and questions in Loop11 is easy, and even changing the order and adding questions (before making the test live) is as simple as drag and drop.  But apparently some websites have codes or other add on bits (particularly Google Maps in my case) that may cause problems when the tests are being run.  So come next week (tomorrow) when I study all the results of my test I’ll get to see just how badly this effected the test.

2. Don’t give away the answer in the question.  I was considering having a task for folks to find the weather in Disney World, and then I realized that Disney World is a suggested search already shown in weather.com’s search box…oops.  In my opinion tasks should have a least a little challenge to them to get folks to try different ways of getting to the answer.

3. Taking other peoples usability tests can shed some light onto the pros and cons of your test design.  I learned a lot of interesting tips and styles by taking all of my classmates usability tests. (for various websites)  Some of them put the demographic / screening questions at the end of the test, others included far more open ended question boxes, and some developed interesting and challenging questions for their chosen sites that I would never have thought of testing.  In other words become a online survey / useability test / questionnaire taker.  The more you take the more you see the more you learn what works and what doesn’t.

4.  The orange page in this weeks readings for my class has a simple, straightforward, and accurate statement written on it that is great for any useability experience person to remember.  “Shut up. Listen. Watch.  …   And take good notes.”  (1) Orange page, huge font, simple statement, easy to remember, and absolutely vital for UXD folks to keep in mind.  🙂

(1) Remote Research: Real Users, Real Time, Real Research.  By Nate Bolt and tony Tulathimutte. 2010 Rosenfeld Media LLC

Thanks for reading that’s all for today folks.

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