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Module 5 (ENC 3250S13)

Module 5 (ENC 3250S13)

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Published by Dan Richards
Usability Testing
Usability Testing

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Published by: Dan Richards on Feb 11, 2013
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02/24/2014

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ModuleFive
Due: 9 March by 11:59pm
Points: 20 Weight: 12%
Readings
-Chapter 13- An Introduction to Website Usability Testing , UsabilityGeek.com- Why Website Usability is Important for a Company , UsabilityGeek.com-Usability 101, Nielson Norman Group 
Summary of Responsibilities
-Complete usability evaluation (Task One) by Saturday, March 9th at 11:59pm.-Sign up for free for SurveyMonkey (online survey tool).-Create own usability test for a corporate website of your choice (Task Two) by Saturday, March 9th at 11:59pm.-Write up a brief memo explaining your choices.-Complete Module 4 Quiz by Saturday, March 9th at 11:59pm.
Detailed Description of Responsibilities
Task One
Dozens if not hundreds of times every day, we are “using” products, particularly technological ones. Whether we are switching from our newsfeed to our messagessection in Facebook on our smartphone, finding out our grades on Blackboard,saving a video on our YouTube playlist, or finding out how to find the nearest PNCBank ATM on the corporate website, we are “users” of technological artifacts thathave themsel ves been refined and ideally perfected by what the field of technicalcommunication (and Markel in chapter 13) call usability testing. The concept of use and human-computer interaction (HCI) a nd the specifics of usability testing are outlined in the three readings above. I suggest you read these sources closely as they are your only introduction to usability testing before you participate inand construct your own versions. While usability spans myriad technologies, formats, and settings, this modulehones in on website usability testing specifically. In this first task, you yourself are the user and will partake as a participant in a usability study. That is, whilethe website and the usability testing materials have already been created, your value to the process is as a user, as someone who is asked to interact with the site
 
and document and recount their experiences. This information, as your readingssuggest, is of utmost importance to companies because they want their websitesto be such that their customers or visitors can quickly and effectively find theinformation they are looking for. If users have to search too far or spend too muchtime completing their task, they might get frustrated and leave the site. This, forcompanies, is akin to a customer walking out their door. Not good. What I have created is a usability test (two parts) that consists of questionstypical of a usability test for a website. Your job is merely to take your time andcomplete the usability tests, providing me (the test leader) with as muchinformation as you can about your thought processes, assumptions, anddecisions. Ideally, this testing process would be led face-to-face in a computer lab, where I would be able to ask questions inquiring into your thinking andextracting as much information as I can from you. But, alas, we are constrained by the limitations of an online class setting.In these brief tests, I am conducting usability on the main USF site (usf.edu).Click on the following URLs to participate as a user in a usability test. Both testsmust be completed:
Part I: Task Analysishttp://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8CW77TZ
Part II: Use Cases:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8SKGBQW Task One is
 worth 8 points
Task Two
 After having the experience from the user end of the testing, your job now is tocreate a usability test that helps serve the need of a local (Tampa Bay Area)organization’s website (more on this below). This is not a matter, though, of simply finding five things and then having the user find five things on the site andtrace their steps. No, test creators—as you found out in the textbook—must takeinto consideration several factors in the creation of a test:the needs of the userthe typical purpose(s) of their interactionthe goals of the organizationthe navigability of the site As you can see, the development of an effective test means that you yourself must have a more than familiar relationship with the site and the organization’spurpose. In the USF tests you completed above, the audience of the USF site are
 
students and their purpose is usually to find information or services pertaining totheir school life.In the test I am asking you to create, you must find out what the main purpose of the Genesis Zoological and Wildlife Rescue is (their website is available here:http://www.genesiszoological.org/index.html). Why do you think people go here? What type of person or group goes here? What is the purpose of the organization? What are its goals? What are the goals of the visitors/users of the site? All of these questions, and more, should inform your usability test. Do keep inmind that usability tests are typically large-scale initiatives that include researchparticipants and tailor-made heuristics and templates just for the test. The tests we are dabbling in this week are much smaller in scale and focused in terms of navigation and design. What you really want to do here is create a usability test that would give theGenesis Zoological Center Inc. the most quality information about their site sothey can improve it. As you can see, they are in help of better web design andinterface functionality. You know that the website needs to be improved, but thecompany needs specifics on what exactly users are experiencing. Theinformation is there, but the site might not be the most “usable.” That’s where you come in; that’s why you’re creating this test.So here’s what your task is: create two usability tests (20 questions total, sincethe SurveyMonkey software only allows 10 questions per test in the free version)that are informed by standard usability practices and by what you think wouldextract the most meaningful results for the organization.To start, I would suggest perusing and browsing the Genesis website for sometime, getting to know what the organization is about. Get to know what itsmission is and what you think they would want to know about how and why usersinteract with their website.To create the usability tests, go toSurveyMonkey.com. Follow the instructions tocreate your own account (for free). From there, you will create two surveys andpopulate each one with test questions that you write and which are based on yourunderstanding of the organizational needs in terms of the website. Your questionsshould be both “task analysis” and “use cases” (like how the one you took on taskone). Your questions will be assessed at how thoroughly you looked through the website and how the questions match up with the nature of the organization.

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