Week 3: User Testing

In this week’s Atelier, the class looked into different types of data research. Two common types of primary research are by surveying people and by observation. Surveying people requires an online or physical form that contains questions relevant to one’s business/service and is distributed amongst the masses. For example, OCAD would always like to receive feedback about their services in order to improve it. At the end of each semester, they send out a survey to all of the students, where students were asked to send back their honest reviews. Observation, on the other hand, allows people from the company to focus directly on the audience to see their initial reactions and opinions of the product or service. Many game designers have game testing positions where they watch the tester play their video game. They are able to ask questions along the way about the game, spot the strengths and weaknesses of the games, and spot any initial reactions the tester has while playing. In the development of technological interfaces, user testing is important because users are able to catch the minor bugs and errors of the technology that some builders cannot. It is mainly for debugging purposes, as well as to make any upgrades to the system that would best fit the user.

Comparing the results of our survey to what Loretta mentioned to us, the results were completely similar. The critical feedback we got was to show how decorating the cookie with the spinner is different from the actual effect we could get from generally using the icing pump. To make the cookies more interesting, the design of the cookies has to implicate that it only works well with a spinner. It is harder to figure out how different people reacted in the results of the surveys, as well as harder to gain insight of the particular reason as to why people said what they did, or to ask for more clarification. We were able to question Loretta one-on-one to further understand how to make our product better. It was a much more effective method to get someone to comment about the product in person.

The Spin Cookies have a lot of flaws, much less to the design of the product though. We generally know that our contraption had to look cleaner and professional, but it also plays against our idea of bringing self-made technology into the general and culinary arts. Most of our flaws were more technical, where the icing was too thick or the cookie was too brittle, or crumbles easily. These are factors we can consider when we bake our cookies, and create the icing. As for the contraption that spins the cookie, we will build a clean base for it so that it will work better. All of these improvements are feasible and it would not cost us anymore than the materials we already have. Since the user does not have to try the cookie spinner itself, there wasn’t anything strange that the user did that was out of the ordinary. However, we assumed that the users would look at the art before eating the cookie, but most people ended up eating the cookie without looking at what is on it. We are hoping that it is the art that attracts the audience to buy the cookie, despite the fact people are attracted to cookies to begin with.

An example of bad UI/UX interfaces is some websites found online (a service that promotes products/ businesses). For example, some websites have large menu icons where the user would spend a lot of time scrolling through the page in order to find an item they would like to look at. Assembledge+(http://www.assembledge.com/portfolio/) is an architecture service that requires this because it is to show the differences between each project through images. Other sites tend to have it just for aesthetic purposes, but did not consider the UI/UX of the site. Reddit uses a linear menu pattern where their options go off-screen. This takes more effort for users to find out the genre they want to view. Some other sites have ads that play videos and sounds. This is bad UI and UX because users generally don’t want to hear the ad when they click into a site. It is not their purpose to look at the ads. The ads act as a distraction or disruption instead of getting the user’s attention properly. For sites that promote businesses/products, the design heavily affects the success of the market rate because the design of the site tells a user how professional the business is. It also helps users to have a good UI to prove that the plans were well thought of.