In 2013, I conducted a usability test for an award-winning learning design company. My recommendations led to several enhancements of one of their products and its user documentation.

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Learn how a thorough analysis from different users’ perspectives helped a company enhance their product

The context

An award-winning learning design company contracted me in 2013 to do a review and usability test of an early version of their game authoring tool. 

My role

UX researcher (usability test)

Important note: To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, this case study only includes a section of my usability test process. For further information, you can read Testimonials.

The Challenge

I used my background as a researcher and as an instructional designer to identify areas for improvement and therefore, to enhance the user experience with the tool. My first step was to assume different roles and attitudes. Users follow different routines and the way they use tools is influenced by an array of factors such as experience, level of skill and old habits.

After defining the characteristics of each group of end users, I evaluated their response to the system by following Jacob Nielsen’s five usability components. These are some of the questions that arose during my testing process and that led to my recommendations afterwards:

Learnability: How easy is for the user to get started with the system? How easy is it for the user to accomplish basic tasks the first time?  How easy is it to learn the main system functionalities and gain proficiency to complete the task? Does the user need help to perform a task? Is he provided with a guide, for example, does the system display help overlays timely? Does the user need any previous knowledge or preparation to use the system?

Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks? Are there any unexpected results after an interaction? Is there a clear, progressive navigation scheme? Is it easy for the user to know where he stands within the system at any point? Are related commands placed together?

Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they re-establish proficiency?

Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors? Is there any mistake anticipation feature that can timely prevent errors by informing the user what the consequences of his actions might be?

Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design? What is the user’s subjective impression of the system?

The Result

My recommendations led to several enhancements of the product and its user documentation. The enhancements made the product easier and more intuitive to use.

Key Takeaway

The analysis and evaluation of products should be focused on how they facilitate (or hinder) the completion of a task for the end user. Rather than concentrating just on the technical features, we need to explore how the product responds to the user needs. A product can have the coolest feature in the world but if it doesn’t help the user, it is absolutely useless.

How does your product respond to the user’s needs and fit in his process to accomplish a goal?

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