Our ReporterApp at the Usability Test Dinner
Digitisation is a complex and broad field that not only demands adaptability and flexibility from technology companies, but also entails a constant search for innovation and optimisation. In order to meet these requirements, a variety of new methods have been developed which prove their usefulness not only in the start-up scene.
What is a Usability Test Dinner?
Especially the topic “Usability” is a major concern for software developers today, because software must be intuitive to use without requiring hours of training. According to common standards, navigation and icons point out typical procedures and must correspond to these. The agency for online communication “Quäntchen und Glück” has created the Usability test dinner to put usability through its paces and to obtain feedback from the users, who after all are the ones who ultimately use the software. It brings together test stations and testers from a wide range of industries to exchange information on the development of new products. The motto “If you have a problem, make a party out of it” is literally implemented. Free drinks and pizza entice the participants and turn the thoroughly strenuous test rounds into an entertaining tour of the products. A test round takes 12 minutes and follows the “thinking aloud” method. The user receives the product and a task and explains every step he takes and every thought that comes to his mind. The result is indispensable feedback on usability and especially on the user journey to a product.
For this purpose, the software company Pickware invited on December 3rd with soft drinks, pizza, gingerbread and mulled wine to take a critical look at new products together. However, test dinners are not only exciting for software developers or digital innovations. For example, a cereal bar made of beer grains was presented in Darmstadt, which the test stations also quickly subjected to a taste test during the break.
The alfa ReporterApp on the test stand
The ReporterApp, whose target group includes not only experienced editors but also freelancers and ultimately readers and customers, is of course particularly dependent on an intuitive user interface. Of course, not everyone who will use the app should be trained beforehand. Our claim is rather “Install&Play”, which guides the user through the task in front of him without requiring any previous knowledge. In this respect, it was clear to us that the app must be tested primarily by users from outside the industry. The usability test dinner became the perfect test bench.
6 rounds with clear feedback
First of all it should be said: You don’t walk out of a usability test dinner without criticism and that is not the claim of participation. Especially the diversity of opinions ensures that there are always wishes for improvement. And exactly these improvement requests are important for us as a company in order to be able to optimise us and our products efficiently.
The first two rounds of the ReporterApp already identified the main points of criticism: The “Edit” button for tasks is not present enough, the wording of the buttons is partly misleading and also the standard sorting needs to be revised again. In addition, the users would like to have an interim saving and a draft function so that they can quickly make notes or “try out” different article versions. Furthermore, minor adjustments in design and wording have been suggested to make the user experience even better.
But we were especially pleased that all testers were able to complete their tasks completely and that many articles and even a tweet were created without our help. The general feedback is also quite respectable, because all temporary mobile editors liked the app very much. The clarity and simplicity were especially praised. The idea of being able to create content in a task-oriented manner also met with great approval. People enjoyed working with the ReporterApp and the testers found themselves supported and picked up by the system. Above all, this feedback is great praise for us, as we know that we are on the right track to motivate readers to create and send user-generated content digitally.
Things to come
The feedback of the evening is of course not without repercussions. Especially the many comments on the ReporterApp will be included and fixed in the next revisions and also the buttons will be discussed again with professional UX designers, so that we can further improve the user experience here. Also the expansion of the functionality will be one of our goals. Offering interim backups and other multimedia content for upload is one of the features we will include in the design next year. We are already looking forward to having the revised version of the ReporterApp tested again at another test dinner and to finding out whether we were able to meet the challenge with even more positive results.