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Justin Bongiorno's SWA 4

Page history last edited by Justin Bongiorno 9 years, 2 months ago

The main goal of this usability test is to learn what improvements can be made to the draft of my How to Build a Bridge with Popsicle Sticks wikiHow article. I need to determine how readers are influenced by the article, and understand where my draft succeeds in explaining steps clearly and where it needs improvement. I want to find out if there is anything I could add or remove from my draft to make the article more useful to the reader. I would like to determine if there is anything confusing or difficult for the reader to understand. I would like to know if there are any steps in the process that could be presented more clearly or if there are any steps that the reader feels should be more concise. I would like to determine if the instructions in my draft provide enough support and explanation. I would like to know if the test readers believe whether modifications to the graphics would make the steps more clear.


My target audience for the testing of this article are readers interested in building a craft bridge, who have not had much or any prior experience building crafts similar to the popsicle stick bridge in my article. I believe that the majority of people visiting this article will not have had built a bridge out of popsicle sticks before. It would be beneficial to have test readers who have not had any experience in similar tasks to identify where difficulty arises. Testing an inexperienced audience would help improve steps to make them more understandable. The specific target reader of my article is somewhat general, because I feel that just about anybody who is able to responsibly operate a hot glue gun could accomplish this task. I feel that two test readers would be sufficient, and realistically I think that two test readers from our class would help to gain an idea of what I could do to improve my article. I would like for this article to provide instructions that are understandable to a wide variety of age groups, ranging from youth to the elderly.


For this article, I believe a performance test would give the best feedback since the task is entirely hands on. The performance test allows for the test reader to be given the set of instructions and watched as they use it. This would allow for a true determination of the readers responds to the article. Watching the test reader go through the motions would help to understand where improvements could be made. I am not sure that the location test would be as useful for this type of instruction set. Identifying effectiveness of headings, topic sentences, and table of contents seems less important than testing of the readers’ ability to accomplish the task given.  Since the steps in the process are generally hands on, it would be difficult to assess effectiveness of the headings. A benefit of the location test may be to ask the tester to walk away and come back to a refreshed page of the article and request that they continue where they left off, noting their ease or difficulty in doing so. The understandability test would help to gain insight as to whether the test reader is having any difficulty understanding any particular steps in the procedure.


I will be testing the usability of my How to Build a Bridge with Popsicle Sticks wikiHow article. The test will determine clarity of the steps by presenting the article to a test reader who will begin construction the bridge. As construction of the bridge moves forward it would determine if any steps are leaving the tester confused and if so, identify what could be done to improve said steps. I would like to make sure that the reader feels that the materials and steps are clear and to identify if the tester feels that they could walk away and come back to pick up where they left off. I am concerned with making sure that the readers understand bonding the sticks together with the hot glue is a process that must happen very quickly and I want to emphasize it in my steps as well. The usability testing will take place on Thursday, February 19, 2015. The location will be at Wayne State University. For the section of the usability test where test readers will begin construction of the bridge, the location may need to be in an area with a large enough table space to place the materials. A 90-minute session would be adequate for this usability test. It would allow for the test reader to look through the article and address any initial concerns as well as begin construction. The session will also help to give an idea of how long it may take an average reader to complete the bridge and to see how far the test reader can get in the allotted time frame. The equipment I will be using in the test will be a computer for the test reader to read the wikiHow article. I will also provide all materials listed on the wikiHow page for the test reader to construct the bridge with, including two sizes of popsicle sticks, hot glue gun, glue sticks for the hot glue gun, scissors, a piece of construction paper, yard stick, pencil and drafting paper. 


Ideally I would have two participants for this usability test. However, given the amount of time I plan my session will take, I do not know that it would be possible to pull two class members for the entire class period. It would be beneficial to test a class member who has not yet viewed my wikiHow page to represent a person who has never seen the article before. I believe a full-scale task scenario would be the best user testing mechanism because it reports all of the steps that a user can accomplish. Knowing how the user responds to the directions given would allow for determining how well the wikiHow explains the process and how well the user is able to understand it. I will be asking the test reader if they have ever built a bridge out of popsicle sticks or crafts with similar materials in the past. I will also ask my users if they have ever used a hot glue gun before. For quantitative metrics I will gather data from successful completion of the steps in the process, the amount of steps completed in the allotted time of testing, and how long it takes for the test reader to begin building from the time they first look at the wikiHow article. The user test would benefit by having unbiased staff member as a note taker. Having an observer without any expectations would help to gain a greater insight of the results of the testing process. I also plan to be present during testing to be able to observe where the test reader finds any difficulty in the process.


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