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ENGW 3332: Writing Online

Week 10: Drafting Usability Plans, Testing Tests

I hope yesterday’s mock usability tests gave you some idea of the type of work you’ll be doing for your Unit #3 project over the coming weeks. Next week, we will get serious about drafting your usability plans, and we will conclude the week by testing your tests on one another. (Don’t worry, this will make sense next week — I promise.)

Here’s the day-by-day breakdown of what we’ll be doing next week:

  • On Tuesday, we will spend most of the day in workshop mode, drafting personas and scenarios for your usability projects. At the beginning of class, your team should submit a short (1-page) memo analyzing the current website you are testing. Your memo should outline what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the current site, as well predict the changes you think your team might recommend to your client. To prepare for our in-class activities, please read the “Planning the Project” and “Analyze Current Site” sections of Usability.gov. (Note that each of these sections contains multiple pages; use the sidebar navigation to work your way through each section.) Please come to class on Tuesday ready to discuss these readings and put them into practice on your project.
  • By Thursday, your team should have a rough draft of its usability testing protocol. Please bring that draft of the protocol to class so you can administer your test with one of your classmates as a pilot subject. (UPDATE: Bring two printed copies of your protocol to class so I can review one while you conduct your pilot tests.) Afterwards, we’ll spend the rest of the class session working out the kinks in your tests. By the end of class on Thursday, you should submit the final draft of your protocol so I can give you approval to begin conducting your tests with Real Live Humans (TM). Before you come to class, please read “The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard,” by Oliver Reichenstein, and “Top 10 UX Myths,” by Keith Lang.

If your Unit #3 team didn’t receive final approval on your selection of a website for Unit #3, please contact me this weekend to confirm your choice. And, as always, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help with your projects.

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