Monday, October 31, 2005

Jakob's word on weblogs

Jakob has lots of good points and says every blogger should post a photo.

Unfortunately, posting a photo isn't as easy as writing a blurb. I think it is a usability hurdle - it takes time and learning to figure out how to do it. When I find the time and figure out how, I will take his advice.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Usability Test Planning

Usability Testing has work activites that come together before going out to do the study.

- Recruiting (one month in advance - selecting locations than dates and participants
- Travel Planning (one month in advance - in tandem with the recruiting)
- Prototype development and refinement (2-4 weeks in advance depending on the fidelity)
- Task develepoment (2-4 weeks in tandem with the prototype)
- Approvals (2-4 weeks in advance depending on the formality of the study)

These activities are part of the test plan, but the plan also includes the objectives, success criteria, target audience, test methods, test schedule, agenda per individual test session and all of the data collection sheets.

Data collection sheets usually contain a pre- and post-test questionnaire, task sheets and any written materials provided to the participant during normal use of the product. (If a manual has been created and comes standard with the product, the manual should be mentioned and placed near the participant, if they choose to consult it.)

When preparing for a Usability Test the details are important. Confirming participants, Piloting with the task and prototype, and providing thank you gifts are an important part of making a Usabilty test have meaningful results and leave the participants feeling like they were part of something special.