To get feedback on the prototype before entering development, I planned a usability test that I administered to six older adults with Francisco's assistance.
The overall objectives of the usability testing study were to determine how well Mover's features met the users' goals, and to evaluate how easily target groups could perform the primary tasks. I defined the following research questions:
Do users understand the purpose and functionality of Mover?
How easily are users able to register an account? Do they find the process to be acceptable?
Do the methods of representing activity make sense to the users? Are they able to accurately interpret them?
Do users understand the concept of "nudging" a friend?
Do users notice and understand the share buttons?
Does the organization and flow of the application match users' expectations? Where do they get stuck?
Do users think the application is useful for them?
I used Adobe Fireworks to create a set of linked HTML files that could be run in a browser on a smartphone to imitate the behavior of a native application. This method enabled participants to move throughout the application more easily than a paper prototype would allow.
Participants were recruited via friends and families of colleagues. We tested with six participants similar to our targeted user groups, as defined by our primary personas:
3 adults aged 20-45, concerned about the health of loved ones, moderate to advanced technical skills
3 adults aged 45-65, desiring to maintain an active lifestyle, moderate to advanced technical skills
Sessions were conducted in a group meeting space at Fraunhofer Portugal with one moderator and one observer/debriefer. Participants were asked to think aloud while they used the prototype, which was run on a Samsung Galaxy S. Each session lasted around 35 minutes and included a brief introduction, three tasks, and a debriefing interview.
1. Sign up
A friend of yours has been trying to get in better shape and recently recommended Mover to you. You just downloaded the application and want to set up an account so you can follow your friend's progress and get more exercise yourself. Sign up for Mover using your Facebook account. Since this is an early prototype, you will not actually be able to input any data into the forms, but tapping empty fields will fill them.
2. Encourage a friend
Since you signed up with your Facebook account, Mover already has a list of your friends who are using the application. Have a look at your friends. Find someone who is not meeting their goals and give them some encouragement.
3. Review and share your activity
Now imagine you have been using the application for a few weeks. You are having so much fun using Mover that you want to tell more people about it. Post a message to Facebook informing your friends about one of your recent successes.
During the test sessions, Francisco and I both took notes about the users' actions and comments. After testing was completed, we met to discuss our notes and general impressions. We created a spreadsheet to record and compare which users experienced which issues during the test. From our discussion and analysis I arrived at the key findings and recommendations presented here.
Visualizations of status and achievements were not clear to users
No participants demonstrated understanding that stars represented attaining Mover status. Only 2/6 associated stars with the nudge icon, and 2/6 were unable to determine which friends had moved the least.
➜ Simplify the rewards system and its representation so that it is not duplicating or overlapping.
➜ Design an initial walk-through to acquaint new users with key features.
Users overlooked or could not locate the social features
3/6 users struggled to find a way to make a post to Facebook. One user commented that the Facebook button appeared to be a part of the person figure. Another user was unfamiliar with social media and did not associate the icon with Facebook.
Users often went through numerous screens searching for a way to make a post. Only one user saw the nudge button and chose this action without receiving a tip. One user stated that she had no idea what the button meant and only clicked it because of its location.
➜ Social buttons need to be more easily identifiable. A more recognizable icon should be used. Change the term "nudge" to something more widely understood. Make sure the Facebook button looks like a button, perhaps with an action verb accompanying it.
➜ Both the nudge and Facebook buttons should appear anywhere the user expects to find them.
After the first test, the registration process was changed so that one field was displayed per screen. Subsequently, users navigated the process more smoothly than the first participant, who was overwhelmed by reading and answering several form elements on one screen.
Several of the Portuguese-speaking participants were confused by the wording of the registration fields, specifically for the display name. We planned to change the text from "What would you like to go by?" to something less colloquial, like, "What's your name?"