All posts tagged “tests”

Linknotize card game tests your Wikipedia skills to link unrelated topics

Traditional board and card games have never been more involved than when played with the accompaniment of a phone. Linknotize is a card game that asks you to use your phone or tablet to click your way between two unrelated topics until you connect them. Simply put, you roll the dice, select two topics, set the timer for three minutes and start clicking through Wikipedia. It’s like six degrees of separation, the theory that everything is at most six or fewer steps from the point of origin, except it’s up to you to connect those dots, the fewer dots the better.

For example, how would you connect Tom Brady and Bill Gates? Easy: Tom Brady to NFL to Seattle Seahawks to Paul Allen to Bill Gates. But can you do it fast, and can you do it by…

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Facebook Messenger tests Google Voice-style transcriptions for sound clips

Voicemail is one of the least efficient ways of communicating, and yet a form of it survives in many messaging apps. Facebook added voice clips to Facebook Messenger in 2013, letting you share lengthy monologues using the app should you ever want to. But while no text can match the emotion and nuance that voice can convey, sometimes you just want a quick overview of a person is saying — and so today, Facebook is beginning to test Google Voice-style transcriptions to your voice clips.


Now when you send or receive a voice clip, you’ll see a text preview of the message. Both sender and receiver can see the text, unless you decide to turn it off. But most of us won’t see the feature any time soon: David Marcus, who runs…

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Improving Design With Quick Usability Tests


To see how users behave in a natural environment, it helps to use remote usability software to record the screens and the voices of test participants. This lets you hear them thinking out loud and see every click.

While focus groups and field studies help you understand user opinions and natural product use, remote recorded tests let you see reactions and hear the thoughts of users as they focus on specific tasks. To demonstrate how to run quick usability tests as part of a design process, we ran a few unmoderated tests and redesigned the Yelp website accordingly.

Regardless of the method you choose, just remember that user research is not about writing reports — it’s about asking and answering the right questions and gathering data so that you can make evidence-based decisions in your designs.

Choosing User Demographics

As described in The Guide to Usability Testing, in order to set up your user tests, one of your first steps is determining who the target audience should be for the purpose of the study.


Image Source: The Role of UX Research.

From the perspective of a company with a very large user base (138 million unique monthly visitors, according to Yelp’s Q2 2014 numbers), it is very important for the redesigned website to still be usable by the average current user. Yelp certainly would not want to alienate its existing readers in favor of an improved onboarding experience for first-time users.

So, for this study, we were primarily interested in observing current, semi-frequent Yelp users, rather than brand new users. We also chose not to focus on power users (those who use Yelp every day), because their experience would not be representative of the middle-of-the-road, occasional user.

yelp_user_screener.png

We chose not to focus on age, gender, income level, or experience using the web since Yelp users come from all backgrounds. Since this study was purely for
qualitative analysis, we did not need statistical significance to validate our findings. We followed industry best practices and ran our study with a total of 5 users (according to Nielsen Norman Group, a sample of 5 users will uncover 85% of a site’s problems).

One of the tasks in our test required users to log in to an account. Since our test participants were not new users, however, we were not interested in testing account creation. We were slightly concerned that users who had an account would be more likely to be power users, so we decided to test with two segments: one with Yelp accounts (3 users), and one without (2 users). For the segment with Yelp accounts, we only selected participants who had been Yelp users for less than 6 months to further eliminate the likelihood that they would be power users.

Lastly, for simplicity’s sake in our design sprint, we only tested Yelp’s website on desktop, not on mobile. If this had been more than an exercise in design, we would have tested the experience on smartphone and tablet as well to make sure we addressed any problems that users encountered on mobile devices.

As shown in the free e-book User Testing & Design, Here are the exact demographic requirements and screener questions that we used:

Test Details: Group 1 (Yelp account holders)

  • User requirements: 3 users
  • Any age, any income level
  • Any gender
  • Any web experience
  • Device: desktop computer
  • Located in U.S.
  • How often do you use Yelp?
    • Every day
    • 3-4x a week
    • 1-2x a week
    • 1-2x a month
    • a few times a year
  • How long have you been using Yelp?
    • Less than 6 months
    • 6 months – 1 year
    • More than a year
  • Do you have a Yelp account?
    • Yes
    • No

Test Details: Group 2 (Not account holders)

  • User requirements: 2 users
  • Any age, any income level
  • Any gender
  • Any web experience
  • Device: desktop computer
  • Located in U.S.
  • How often do you use Yelp?
    • Every day
    • 3-4x a week
    • 1-2x a week
    • 1-2x a month
    • a few times a year
  • How long have you been using Yelp?
    • Less than 6 months
    • 6 months – 1 year
    • More than a year
  • Do you have a Yelp account?
    • Yes
    • No

Determining Test Objectives and Assigning Tasks

Any good research plan should begin with the question, “What are we hoping to learn?

In our case, our objectives were to learn how semi-frequent Yelp users go about completing several very common tasks (to see what features were most important), and at least one not-so-common task (to see if they knew how to use a more advanced feature).

We assigned all users the following common tasks:

  • Focused task — Find a business based on very specific parameters.
  • Open-ended task — Find a business without being given very many guidelines.
  • Highly specific task — Look up a specific location to learn a specific piece of information.

We wanted to learn when both user groups chose to search versus browse, how they interacted with filters, and how they made a decision about which business to go to.

As for the less common tasks, we provided a different task for each user group. Since we had heard several anecdotal complaints from registered Yelp users about Bookmark and Lists features, we asked registered users (Group 1) to complete the less-common task of saving businesses for later reference.

For users without accounts (Group 2), we chose a less-common task that did not require an account: finding an event. We wanted to see if these users would search or browse the site, and how they would make a decision about which event to attend.

Below, you’ll find detailed explanations of the common and less-common tasks that we assigned to each group of users. After each task, we asked test participants if they were able to complete the task successfully and the level of ease or difficulty of completion.

Tasks: Group 1 (Yelp Account Holders):

  1. Imagine you need to reserve a private dining space for a group of 15 people. You are looking for an Italian restaurant with a classy ambiance. Your budget is about $ 20 per person. Try to find a restaurant near you that matches all of these needs.
  2. Imagine your best friend is having a birthday soon, and you’ll be planning a party. Find 10 bars or lounges near where you live that you would be curious to look into later for the party. Save them so that you can easily find them again on Yelp.
  3. Imagine you are driving through Boise, Idaho, and your car starts to make a strange noise right as you’re about to stop for the night. Your passenger recommends 27th St Automotive. Use Yelp to find out if they are open at 8:00 pm on Tuesday.
  4. >Go to the place where you saved the 10 bars for your best friend’s party. Keeping his or her tastes in mind, choose one that would be a good match.

Tasks: Group 2 (Not Account Holders):

  1. Use Yelp to find a new restaurant near you that you haven’t been to yet. Spend no more than 5 minutes looking.
  2. Imagine you need to reserve a private dining space for a group of 15 people. You are looking for an Italian restaurant with a classy ambiance. Your budget is about $ 20 per person. Try to find a restaurant near you that matches all of these needs.
  3. Imagine you are looking for something fun and unique to do in your neighborhood this weekend. Try to find a concert, play, or other event using Yelp.
  4. Imagine you are driving through Boise, Idaho, and your car starts to make a strange noise right as you’re about to stop for the night. Your passenger recommends 27th St Automotive. Find out if they are open at 8:00 pm on Tuesday.

Once we had selected our test participants and written our test questions, we launched the user tests. Our video results came back within about an hour, and we got ready to watch and analyze them within the UserTesting dashboard.

Analyzing Usability Testing Results

To gather qualitative data, we ran a remote usability test with 5 users via UserTesting. To gather quantitative data, we tested ~30 users with a closed card sort (which shows how you can restructure your IA to match people’s thinking processes) and a first-click test (which shows what site element makes the strongest first impression). You can learn more about the quantitative user tasks, but we’ll just summarize the top insights from both tests:

  • The Search bar was the starting point for almost all tasks. It was also the preferred backup option when users weren’t sure how to interact with the site UI (e.g. searching for “Bars” instead of clicking the category). Our redesign definitely needed to prioritize the Search bar.
  • The Events tab wasn’t noticeable. When asked to find an interesting activity, one user went to the Search bar while the other navigated through the Best of Yelp section. If we wanted users to actually interact with the Events feature on Yelp, we would need to make it easier to find.
  • The price categories weren’t clear. When given a budget to find a restaurant, some useres weren’t sure what the dollar signs meant. In our new design, we added price ranges to the symbols.
  • The filters aren’t prioritized correctly. People didn’t use 7 of Yelp’s 47 filters, and the most popular filters that arose in testing (such as “Accepts Credit Cards” and “Open Now”) take several clicks to access. Our redesign reorganizes filters into clusters of 4 for easier access.
  • Photos are a key part of the experience. When asked to find restaurants with a certain ambiance, users relied on photos the most. Our redesign makes Yelp more visual.
  • Bookmarking needs to be simpler. Currently, you can’t just save a restaurant or business straight from the search results — you need to visit each individual page to bookmark them. Our redesign lets you save a business with one click on the search results page.

To see how we incorporated all 7 usability testing insights, you can play with the low fidelity Yelp prototype, and check out the final high-fidelity prototype.

In case you’d like to use these tools to support your design decisions, all 3 companies are running a bundle deal until 12.22.14. Save up to $ 1132 on user-centered design tools.

To learn more about how to incorporate cost-efficient usability testing into your designs, check out the free e-book User Testing & Design. We’ve included 109 pages of screenshots and tips, using the Yelp redesign exercise as an example.


The post Improving Design With Quick Usability Tests appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.


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Deal of the Week: Online Skills Tests for Programmer Recruiters – Promo Code Available!


If you’re currently in the market for recruiting programmers, then this Deal of the Week is for you! Tests for Geeks, a service that helps recruiters save time and money during the hiring process by testing the competency of candidates before inviting them for an interview, are currently offering 5 tests for free to 30(!) Speckyboy readers!

Don’t think of Tests for Geeks as a replacement for a live interview, think of the service as a filter that will allow you to select the best candidates before inviting them for an interview. Kind of a good/bad filter. As a recruiter, all you have to do is choose one of the tests (PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, .NET. Python, Databases, Java and iOS) and can either send it directly via email or by simply sharing the link with them. After the test has been completed you will instantly receive a detailed report and test result from each candidate via email.

Even if you are not a recruiter, you can take the test yourself and attach it to your resume. It’s a handy way of demonstrating your knowledge and skills! If you’re a web designer you should try their HTML/CSS test!

Grab this deal now!

Please note that this deal is only open to the first 30 readers to register at Tests for Geeks!


The post Deal of the Week: Online Skills Tests for Programmer Recruiters – Promo Code Available! appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.


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How much pot is Washington smoking, anyway? Sewage tests will find out

In Spokane, Washington, one of the authors of the state’s successful marijuana decriminalization bill has proposed a novel way to track drug use: by monitoring sewage.

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140 Design Interview Tests to Filter Through the Narrowest Employer’s Company Door

Want to feel calm as a cucumber during the web design job interview? Listen to this podcast. It will teach you how to pass almost all existing employers’ tests with ease and maximal benefit for you.
MonsterPost

Watch GE destroy household items to demonstrate its extreme tests

To demonstrate the rigorous testing carried out inside its labs every day, GE has launched a new “Spring Break it” campaign that puts household items through the same torturous scenarios. The company has uploaded a number of videos that reveal how these items hold up under 100,000 pounds of pressure or when they’re suddenly smashed by 5,000 pounds of force. GE says these tests and others — including one that simulates micro erosion — help the company build strong materials with unmatched endurance and strength.

That research is crucial since GE helps develop parts that eventually make their way into jet engines, wind turbines, and countless other applications. “When we know how materials melt, shatter and bend, we can make machines that…

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Play this: ‘Super Planet Crash’ tests your god mode

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what a serendipitous marvel our universe really is. At least, until you’ve tried building your own. Super Planet Crash is a browser-based simulation that requires players to forge a planetary system capable of surviving at least 500 years. The interface is simple: left-click to place up to 11 astronomical objects of varying sizes anywhere within the defined limits. What makes it challenging is how the gravitational field of each celestial body affects others around it. Even a single dwarf star can throw everything out of orbit.

Super Planet Crash was created by Stefano Meschiari, a postdoctoral astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin. It is based on the latest version of System Console, a…

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Reddit tests breaking news live blogs despite previous Boston bombing errors

Reddit’s community has an impressive ability to piece together scattered bits of information during major breaking news events — though it’s efforts have at times gone more than awry. But now the site is hoping to streamline its community’s reporting ability as it begins to test a live blogging tool that will eventually allow users to start posting automatically updating streams of information, much like many news outlets use. The new post type, called a Liveupdate thread, is being publicly tested in two places: it’s currently being used to provide updates on TwitchPlaysPokemon, and several days ago it was used to provide updates on the conflict in Ukraine.

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A Times reporter took three genetic tests and got three wildly different answers

If a recent New York Times piece is any guide, direct-to-consumer genetic testing may have more accuracy problems than we thought. Reporter Kira Peikoff ordered three simultaneous tests of her genome from 23andme, Genetic Testing Laboratories, and Pathway Genomics — and the results varied more widely than you might think. According to 23andme, she had an elevated risk of psoriasis, with a lifetime risk of 20.2 percent, but GTL put her lifetime risk at only two percent, well below average. Both firms showed her Type 2 diabetes risk as slightly below the general population, but described it as “decreased” and “medium” respectively, two very different interpretations. It’s a reminder of how far genetic testing services still have to go on…

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