[thelist] Page Testing

Sarah Adams mr.sanders at geekjock.ca
Fri Dec 8 11:53:31 CST 2006

> No I don't define specific goals.  I show the users how to use it.  Tell them practice using it, and if anything odd happens or if there are changes/improvements let me know.  I do give them examples of odd things or errors to look for.  I also give them ideas of what an improvement could be.  Some people do it, but some people do nothing.  
> I've not really been exposed to testing procedures - so I'm not sure what is usually done.

I think you have a few possible problems here:
- the users aren't really clear on what they are supposed to be doing,
so they never start, or give it a couple of tries, don't come up with
anything useful, and then give up
- by first showing the users how to use your app, you're not going to
get truly spontaneous feedback - what you want to know is what happens
if someone completely unfamiliar with your app tries to use it (as with
most users, the first time around anyway)
- the users don't have sufficient motivation to do proper testing and/or
 are getting bored quickly when doing the testing (it can become tedious!)

To solve these problems, I'd suggest:
- start with clearer instructions as to what "testing" entails and what
you need from the users (I'm hoping other listers will have specific
suggestions here)
- BUT, don't give the users any instructions on actually using the app,
instead let them figure it out
- try to motivate them more, either by convincing them of the importance
of testing, pressure from the higher-ups (if appropriate), or making it
into a contest of sorts, with a prize for the most thorough testing (or
something along those lines)

sarah adams
web developer & programmer
portfolio: http://sarah.designshift.com
blog: http://hardedge.ca

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