Week 17 @ KSU's UXD Program - Screening and Tasks for Usability

This week was my introduction to screeners. Every time I've performed usability tests as a BSA, it's been about using people from within the company, evaluating the team's end users that I support. That being said, I was happy to see in the readings to be cautious of only using the "best" users. My experience was exactly as the readings stated - people will always to try to give you their best performers to use as testers. I had always asked to get a mix of our users, power users, new users, and lowest performers to get a better idea of common problems and anything that may be confusing to less skilled users. It felt good to know I was right about something.

The assignment was really good to see how others processed the readings and applied it to their work. I thought the format of giving feedback to others was poor because it was so different from what we have had to do in the past (Post something Thursday, give feedback by Friday/Saturday). It obviously would have been much better to do multiple iterative changes using constant feedback between Monday and Thursday from other group members but I don't think people understood that. To add to that confusion, there was a lot of reading, too much to digest;  on top of creating the tasks and screeners, giving feedback, then iterating those changes, there was just too little time.  It would have been better to have the group schedule specific nights to discuss instead of the typical format we used by default, this would have allowed us to iterate much better. Being that we are all working professionals, it just wasn't in the cards to organize something like this in time. I will say joining the call Wednesday night (even if it was for 10 minutes) was the most helpful part of the week in understanding the assignment.

Other than the set up of the group feedback for the assignment, this was an area of UX that I needed a lot of help with. Just a few things I was able to take away - 

1. Find users who are excited about the subject and articulate, it will highly improve your findings as well as increase the percentage of people who will show up for the study. 

2. Scenarios help put the tasks into context for the users.

3. Don't call them tasks, the word "activities" is much less intimidating to participants.

B Parsons