Urban Kids and the study coordinator, our instructor, briefed us on our target market and our deliverables. As a class we deduced our desired usability test respondent to be:
• Female, aged 25 to 35
• Mother of 1-2 children, neither over the age of 10 years old
• Living in the Greater Toronto Area
• Shopped at affordable childrenswear stores
After consulting with Urban Kids, we tweaked the requirements by upping the age range to 30- to 45-year-old mothers, eliminating the child limit and raising the maximum child age to 14 years old. We also identified Urban Kids competitors, such as OshKosh B'gosh, GAP Kids, and Joe Fresh.
We independently developed potential task scenarios and screening surveys for the usability test to take place during our last class. The goal was to recruit 3 participants. In both cases, our instructor took the best tasks and screeners, altered them as needed, and used them for recruitment and the actual test.
Behind the scenes, our instructor secured gift cards as incentives for our respondents.
In groups, we pre-tested our task scenarios, uncovering potential misinterpretations (e.g. "When we say we want them to buy these items for $60, does that include tax and shipping?") and identifying bugs we wanted to confirm during the test (i.e. "After a search, the quick add button doesn't work anymore!").
From there, we each developed a Usability Test Plan Dashboard:
The night of the test, I moderated the very first of three sessions along with a colleague. Immediately after the session, we performed triage as a class, compiling all the encountered issues. Following Jacob Nielsen's framework, we uncovered approximately 68% of all usability issues with our three moms.
I summarized all our findings in a PowerPoint presentation, sampled below.
This project was so much fun! My best friend from high school had her first baby recently, and the challenges our respondent moms were dealing with hit close to home. My fashion background contributed to the development of the synthetic fabrics task, which ended up revealing how difficult it was for our respondents to find an item that was 100% cotton.
• Respondents clicked on an item.
• They read the specs page and found it was synthetic.
• They went back to the search results and clicked another item.
• Respondents repeated this task until they gave up.
(Potential solution: add material filters to the site!)
My original task scenario was incredibly complex and overly detailed, and I learned to not torture the respondents with acrobatic questions, even if those scenarios were realistic. On the left below was my scenario and on the right (question 4) was how it was presented on test day.
According to my instructor, we encountered difficulties finding respondents unlike previous years. A recruitment period longer than a week would have helped. Of the 60 respondents who took the screener, 6 qualified:
• 1 — me testing the survey for my instructor — disqualified
• 1 — a past student of the course — disqualified
• 1 — not wanting to commute from Mississauga— disqualified
Leaving our 3 participants and no floaters! We were living life on the edge. ;)