Tuesday, 18 August 2009

BluePages - User Tests 1

Anusha, Monica and I have finished a first (short) round of user tests. We got very interesting feedback from them which we will use to design a first online version of the BluePages. We will have a second round in maybe a month time.

In the mean time I am going to give you a brief overview of the process we designed for the user tests.
  • We recruited a small number of testers from within the Library Services unit plus 2 external voluntiers. Most of these testers do not necessarily belong to any of the groups identified in the Stakeholder Analysis ("researchers", "administrators", and "strategists and disseminators".) As this was the first round and as we had a basic mockup we first needed general input.
  • We designed a script which had 2 main objectives: (1) to refine our initial design and (2) to identify and embed clear purposes and uses of Research Activity Data in the BluePages. Note: I am aware that this last objective involves more than one or more sets of user tests. However we are using these interactions with testers to start making sense of the features that need to be enhanced to make the BluePages transmit ideas such as collaborations, connections and membership. With this I think we can get acceptance which is an important part of the embedding process.

Introductory Questions
1.Ask tester to browse the site for 1 minute (or just to see the frontpage?). From looking at this site, what kinds of information do you think you could get from this site?
2.Who do you think this site is designed for? Why?

1.Name the sponsor for one project run by Prof. AAAAA.
2.Obtain a list of collaborators of Prof. BBBBB and email that list to a friend
3.You are an academic in the area of statistics who wants to explore new areas of research. For that you are looking for some reading material. You are looking for information about genome-related diseases particularly from studies that use big samples (over 10000).
4.You are the Head of the Management department and are going to build a new Decision Making Support laboratory as part of a program to boost research among your staff. As you or your staff do not have any experience with building laboratories that need special computers and software you need to find someone in Oxford who could offer you some guidance. That person could be someone who is an expert in computers and/or works in laboratories.
5.You just set up your new project’s website and would like it to be listed in the BluePages. What do you need to do?

1.Ask again: what kinds of information do you think you could get from this site?
2.What is your overall opinion of the BluePages?
3.Would you use a site like this? What kinds of information would you be interested in?
  • We always had two observers during the tests (either Anusha and I or Monica and I) We took turns to ask the questions. We had copies of the script and wrote notes separately. We also gave testers the list of tasks on a sheet of paper.
  • When we finished I transcribed all the notes and classified them by task or question. I then wrote a summary which highlighted main issues under each task or question.
After this we met to discuss our next strategy. This involves a clearer idea of the data "objects" that are searched for and browsed in the BluePages and the way these objects can be presented and connected. But I won't say more because this is a topic for another post. Print this post

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