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Usability case study

A course team wanted to check that students would be able to find their way around the course website, and successfully navigate to materials and activities on screen.  They invited some students to the labs who were paid a fixed amount less tax, plus travel expenses.  When each person arrived, they were taken to the Labs Reception room and briefed on what they would be asked to do and how they would be recorded.  The researcher explained that

  • students would work through a series of scenarios starting from Student Home and finding their way to the course website
  • they were reminded that it was the website being tested, not the student, so they should not worry if they couldn't locate or do something that the scenario asked of them
  • they would be video recorded using the ceiling camera to record their actions, and the screen would also be recorded
  • they were asked to think aloud about what they expected to find, the researcher would also ask them questions as they went along
  • the researchers were not developers of the site, so students could feel free to say what they thought about the site

When they arrived in the lab, the researcher checked that they were comfortable at the desk, including computer height, distance, font size and lighting.  They were told that they could take a break or stop at any time, though the first session before tea break was likely to be about 30 minutes long.

The students worked through the various scenarios on the site and explained what they thought of their findings about navigation, layout, materials and activities.  When they had finished, they were each debriefed by the researcher to gather further feedback about their experience of the site and of user testing.

See the Usability testing page for more information.


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