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Screen Space 18: Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 4—Preparing the Testing

Posted by Jennifer L. Bowie, Ph.D. on August 8th, 2011

Welcome to Screen Space, your podcast about creating usable, accessible, effective, and efficient web, blog, and digital media design for the everyday (and non-expert) designer. This is episode 18 of Screen Space “Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 4—Preparing the Testing.” In this episode, I discuss the third step of usability testing—preparing the testing. There will be two more parts to this series, where I will discuss conducting the testing and then analyzing and utilizing the results from the testing.

If you have not listened to the previous parts of this series, you may want to go back and listen. In the first part, Screen Space 11: Usability & Usability Testing 101, I discuss usability, provide a definition of usability testing, and outline the steps to conduct a usability test. In Part 2, Screen Space 12: Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 2—Selecting Users, you can find information on selecting your users for usability testing. In Part 3, Screen Space 17: Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 3—Deciding what to Test, I discuss the steps to setting objectives and selecting tasks to test. You may also find Screen Space 10 on User-Centered Design helpful.

I am your host, Dr. Jennifer L. Bowie. I conduct research and have taught in areas related to digital media, web, and blog design. Previously I mentioned being an assistant professor at GSU. However, this is no longer the case and I am currently looking for a job in usability, user-centered design, and/or social media. Stay tuned and I’ll provide details at the end of this podcast.

A warm welcome this week to my new listeners from Liverpool, London, and Manchester in the UK. Welcome to Screen Space and design well! Another warm welcome to my loyal listeners. Welcome to another episodes and thanks for listening!

In this episode, I will present the next step in usability testing: preparing for the testing. This includes choosing the order of tasks, creating written test materials, recruiting participants, defining team members’ roles, creating a written test plan, practicing the testing, and preparing the test environment. I will use the same example I used in episodes 11, 12, and 17—testing a photography blog. We’ll imagine we have a photography blog with a decent sized audience. We want to get more users and see how useable the blog is for your current users.

 
icon for podpress  Screen Space 18: Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 4—Preparing the Testing [17:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Chunking is a design concept based on proximity.  A good designer uses proximity to show the relationships of design components. Two items that are close (like a heading and the paragraph of text under it) should be related, and two that are far away (a title and the footer) are not related (or less related). […]

Back in the good ‘ol days of typewriters, writers used a tab indent to show where a new paragraph begins. Back in the good ‘ol days of the early web (think 1993), browsers were setup to render paragraphs with a line of white space after. More recently (say 2007), Microsoft decided that both were a […]

The second major step of usability testing[1] is deciding what you will test during the testing. This is where you develop your tasks for the testing, but simply pulling tasks out of a hat will not get you the best possible tasks, and thus your results will not be as effective and helpful. To make […]

Screen Space 17: Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 3—Deciding what to Test

Posted by Jennifer L. Bowie, Ph.D. on August 1st, 2011

[Podcast Transcript] Welcome to Screen Space, your podcast about creating usable, accessible, effective, and efficient web, blog, and digital media design for the everyday (and non-expert) designer. This is episode 17 of Screen Space “Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 3—Deciding what to Test.” In this episode, I discuss the second major step of usability […]

 
icon for podpress  Screen Space 17: Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 3—Deciding what to Test [17:18m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Consider Garamond for any print document where readability and legibility are important, where you want to fit a lot of text on a page, and when you want to be eco-friendly. Garamond is a highly readable and legible typeface for print use. It is also eco-friendly—save trees and use toner by using Garamond. Garamond works […]

Typeface of the Week: Garamond—The elegant typeface that lives and saves trees!

Posted by Jennifer L. Bowie, Ph.D. on July 28th, 2011

Garamond is not a single typeface. Rather, Garamond is group of typefaces inspired and derived/revived from the work of punch-cutters Claude Garamond in ~1530 (according to Garamond.org) and Jean Jannon a century later. While the typeface is named after Garamond, the face is closer to Jannon’s typefaces than Garamond’s (here is an image of Garamond’s […]

Tip of the Day: Avoid splash pages!

Posted by Jennifer L. Bowie, Ph.D. on July 28th, 2011

Users do not like splash pages, so don’t make them suffer—avoid using splash pages. Splash pages are those pages that come up before you get to the homepage of the site. When Disney had a splash page, 50% of all clicks on the full Disney site were the “skip intro” link. Yes, one in every […]

From my interview with Shaun Slattery in Screen Space 16, Shaun suggests we should be aware of typical locations for digital items and put them where people (including ourselves) expect them. People pay a lot of attention to where things are. We have habits of putting things in certain places and looking for things in […]

How is user-centered design like making cat food?

Posted by Jennifer L. Bowie, Ph.D. on July 15th, 2011

Can you satisfy the cat? The users? Describing usability and user-centered design to almost anyone who doesn’t work near the field is difficult. This includes not only the stranger trying to strike up a conversation on the plane, but also the companies powers that be in companies where user-centered designers are employed. However, in less […]