April 15-18, 2009
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Interactions: Description

Usability Lab

Michael Twidale, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

On Friday, April 11, Michael Twidale will conduct a live Usability Lab. You'll be able to:

  1. observe simple, low-cost, high-speed user testing of museum Web sites in action;
  2. volunteer to participate as a user tester and discover some of the problems users have on unknown sites; and
  3. volunteer your site to be tested.

Each user test lasts about 20 minutes (with time for comments and questions) and people drift in and out of the session. Sites to be tested are not evaluated in advance and volunteer users are selected at random.

The "user" leaves the room while the owner of the site describes what they consider a typical scenario – something the average user would be trying to do. This scenarios is converted into a task and given to the user to perform along with some randomly selected standard tasks. After each test, the user, site owner, test administrators and audience will discuss what was learned.

Twidale will demonstrate a variety of testing techniques throughout the day, but will emphasize the thinking-aloud method so it is easy to follow along with the test subject. For more information about this technique, see Marty and Twidale's article Usability@90mph in First Monday.

If you are interested in seeing your site in the Usability Lab, please contact Space is limited, and sites will be selected by the organizers.

Interaction: Usability Lab [Interaction]

Keywords: evaluation, interaction, usability lab, user testing, live