Week 16 @ KSU's UXD Program - Formative vs. Summative Testing

This week was enlightening to say the least, especially the assignment to argue for a specific testing plan. Being someone in a technical space, details have always interested me than summaries and formative testing is what I was gravitating towards during the readings and presentation. After quickly glancing over the assignment I thought you would have to be crazy to do a summative test plan because there could be a horrendous flaw that needed a lot of work and redesign. But after going through the pros and cons of each in detail, I started to see the value of the summative and ultimately argue for it given the situation with the overall complexity of the website.

My favorite part of the module was this excerpt from Chapter 3 of the Handbook of Usability, "As is typical of comparison tests at this point, there was no ‘‘winner’’ per se. Rather, the result was an interface with the best attributes of both prototypes. The navigation schema employing the navigation on the left was most efficient and effective, but some of the options available did not seem to belong with the others and so will remain in a navigation bar across the top of the main work area. Apparently, the options to remain in the top navigation are done less frequently."

That quote makes me step away from my competitive instincts and realize the testing can easily find right and wrong, but more importantly it can show you how to combine the best of each to create an even better experience for the users in the end.

B Parsons