Usability Testing

Subject: Usability Testing
From: Gwen Gall <ggall -at- CA -dot- ORACLE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 12:04:54 EDT

This information popped up on a CHI list, that, although about user interface
can easily be applied to documentation. Also, we as technical communicators
are increasingly more involved (and rightly so) in user interface/product

Quote as follows:

"If the goal is to give a rewarding and inspirational experience,
I would strongly advocate a thinking aloud test of the kind
used for formative evaluation. This is best if testing a design
that is of the students' own making, but any test will do. Nothing
substitutes for watching a user struggle with an interface you
designed yourself (or an interface you "know" to be easy to use).
Based on my experience from having taught many courses at various
levels, I must say that the one part of the course always praised by
students as the most important one was the lab exercise when they did
their own user testing. If you make the experimental part of the course
too measurement based, you risk losing this valuable aspect of the test."



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