Quiz UI redesign - prototype testing background

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I conducted the usability tests somewhat like the way I was taught to by my teachers on the usability courses of the dept. of Computer Sciences in the University of Tampere. The tests were conducted in Finnish, which is the native language of the test subjects, as well as my native language.

With some of the subjects I failed to remember to mark the subjects name on the page I wrote the issues down on, so with some of the issues. I was not sure who it was related to. I considered it not worth it to listen to the audio recordings just for this (at least not at this point); the most important is knowing whether something has been confirmed an issue, not whose issue it was!

As an afterthought, I was probably a bit too impatient to fix issues that arose between tests, so that I could have just some sort of an idea about whether or not my fix would help. This, naturally, defeats actually getting some sort of an idea about how well a specific idea works, since the number of iterations for a specific UI element that was changed in the middle might not have gotten too many test subjects. Nevertheless, the broad idea of the UI was very much the same throughout *all* the tests.

Equipment

The test was conducted on an IBM Thinkpad T41 laptop from 2005, and it served the purpose well. OpenOffice.org was run on Ubuntu Linux 8.04 (Gnome desktop, which was not visible during the test, though). The keyboard was covered for the duration of the test and subjects were told to just speak out loud what they would do if they would normally use the keyboard. The test subjects had the choice to use either a mouse or the mousepad of the laptop.

During the tests, the speech was recorded with an mp3 player with a mic sensitive enough, though so far I have opted not to go through those recordings. The user's onscreen actions were not recorded since I could not find a decent screen recorder for Ubuntu. I took notes during the tests, on which these observations are mainly based.

Checklist: remember to mention to the test subject

TODO: add the plan for testing sessions