This weeks readings touched on usability testing and the importance of creating a great experience. While as designers we tend to create a seemingly great experience the truth is that may not be reflected when it comes to the end user. By definition usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users. Typically, during a test, participants will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes. In the first article that I read Usability Testing Demystified, the author gave a good outline on the process needed. First would be developing a test plan then choosing a proper testing environment and then selecting the proper participants. Next you would need to prepare the testing materials, conduct the sessions, debrief the participants and observers followed by analyzing the data and then creating findings and recommendations following this recipe.
The paper prototype video was a bit odd to me and seemed a bit over done. I like to sketch out details on a project but the time and effort put in this method to create all the elements might be useful time spent in other areas. My take on a prototype would be to present it in a digital version layered with options than can be turned on an off and quickly adjusted as needed. Many digital assets are available that can be used in a mockup such as form elements mobile and tablet interfaces. Lynda.com also has a short course on creating layer comps which can help designers accomplish a full mock up of a designs with simulated movements and progressions.
Questions to the readers:
Have you ever created a usability test?’
What are your feelings on the paper prototyping? Would you create a kit for future projects?