Usability and Testing

In today’s lecture, the topic for discussion was based on usability and testing of a product, and then in the seminar during the afternoon we related this to an example which had been shown during a workshop last week. So what did I find learn?

Quality over Quantity? Even though it sounds like stating the obvious, in design it is much better to have one well thought out, fully functional and tested idea over hundreds of other, half-thought through ideas. Even though as designers, our first stage is usually to conceptualise many ideas that fit the brief, not everyone of them will work out. Knowing this helps us to filter out the good verses the not so good. It is much better to pitch ideas to clients that we have really thought about, as this will avoid most unforeseen problems to be filtered out in the process.

Fitness for Purpose? To design something, whether this be a website or a kitchen cabinet door, we need to know that it will carry out the required tasks that have been specified. A website may need to be accessible to a particular age group, responsive to multiple devices and contain certain features like a contact form. Just like a cabinet door need to be able withstand being open possibly hundreds of times, have an easily accessible handle and strong enough to not crumble upon small impacts. Because of this, we have to test what we design and make sure that it actually does what it set out in the first place to do. The best example I could think of to illustrate this was the robotic machines used in IKEA stores, the ones that demonstrate that the product they are selling will actually last a significant amount of use, making it more fit for it’s initial purpose.

Looking at evolutionary terms, ‘fitness’ refers to a level of appropriate adaption to the environment something is in, and its chance of survival within that environment. In thins project, you could say that I have become a designer of that environment, and the hope is that what I design would lead to the behaviours from the audience that fit within our ideas.

Moving on to the seminar of the day, we were presented a processing project that was show to us last week during the workshop. We were set the task in small groups to learn the best ways to pose questions when finding out what people thought of it using quantitative and qualitative data.

What I did find useful was that the finding’s showed that quantitative data is only useful when thee is lots of data to process, also, it can be misrepresented when turned into visual representations such as graphs and charts. Qualitative data is a better type of data for designers to have as you get a better understanding of what was taken away from the user, as they have to respond in a senate structure as opposed to just selecting ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

References:

– GoogleTechTalks. 2009. How and When Prototyping Practices Affect Design Perfromence. Available From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw4fFdgZYOY [Accessed On: 4 December 2014].

– R0ckworthy. 2010. IKEA Store Chair Durability Neumatc Testing Contraption. Available From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVAOl334s5k&spfreload=10 [Accessed On: 4 December 2014].

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