edc_2011_05 - Chapter 5 User and Performance Testing...

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Chapter 5: User and Performance Testing 75 CHAPTER 5: USER AND PERFORMANCE TESTING Chapter outline User testing Guidelines for user testing Organizing user test results Performance testing Iterating the process Key guidelines for user and performance testing Write user test guides that include: a brief introduction of yourselves and the project questions to get relevant demographic information tasks for users to perform with the mockups questions about the mockups Write performance test guides to evaluate your mockups under con- trolled conditions Write well-organized test result summaries for inclusion in project folder and reports Different projects call for different methods of testing. User testing improves a design and helps make sure that it meets user needs. By observing users as they attempt to perform designated tasks using your mockups, you can dis- cover the pros and cons of those mockups. But user testing is only one method for learning more about the pros and cons of your design ideas. Drawbacks to direct user testing include the following: User testing demands significant time from the team and the users. It can be difficult to schedule repeated testing sessions in a short time frame. Not all users are qualified or willing to evaluate a design with the neces- sary rigor. Not all users can easily communicate their responses to a design. If you are designing a device for use in a tank at the Shedd Aquarium, the fish are clearly users, but poor candidates for interviews.
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Chapter 5: User and Performance Testing 76 In some situations, as in the design of complex systems or large struc- tures, it is prohibitively expensive, inadvisable or impossible to conduct user testing. In those cases, you need to use your ingenuity to develop design tests that match the nature of your design problem. 5.1 USER TESTING As you observe and interview users, pay close attention to their facial expres- sions, which often convey more than words can. Also, be objective: If you observe users having trouble with one of your favorite design features, try to figure out why they're having difficulty rather than blame them. If they like a feature, also find out why. Keep in mind that the best designs grow out of user feedback. 5.1.1 Guidelines for user testing Setting up the sessions 1. Use these resources to help you find appropriate users to observe and interview : Your client Your instructors Family members and friends who fit your user profile Locations where the product would logically be used 2. Make an appointment . This allows you and your users to prepare and schedule time for the session. Avoid showing up unexpectedly unless your project requires ad hoc interviews with people on location. In gen- eral, follow the guidelines described in Chapter 2 for setting up user observations and interviews with experts. 3. Plan the session
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edc_2011_05 - Chapter 5 User and Performance Testing...

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