Assignment 4: Usability test

The purpose of this assignment is to give you the experience of conducting a usability test and writing a report.

You will do this assignment in groups of three or four. If your final project is a group project, that would be a good group to work with.

Design a simple user test of a touchpoint for the Bay Area’s public transportation services. This can be a BART ticket machine, a website such as, a mobile app such as NextBus, or anything else that allows people to get information about public transportation.

If you want, you may use your final project as the subject of the test if and only if there is a working interactive prototype readily available.

As a group, develop two tasks, one for each of your “users.”  You want the tasks to be not too hard, and not too easy. Hard tasks make for complicated testing; easy tasks don’t give interesting results.

Your group will conduct 1 usability test for each task or set of tasks.  Both will be think-aloud tests; that is, the user will talk through what she/he is doing and why. The moderator can ask clarifying questions, but cannot help.

Your group will audio or video record each each test. This need not be a very sophisticated setup; you can use the video camera on a digital camera or telephone.

Allocate roles among yourselves for each test: user; moderator; note-taker; camera-person. For the second test, change roles. If you are testing a working application made by someone on the team, that person cannot play the part of a user. 


1. One written report from the group:

  • describe succinctly what you were testing
  • include your set of the tasks
  • a brief results section that summarizes
    • Areas/functions/etc that the users liked or found helpful
    • Problems the users had
    • Any recommendations coming from your tests

    Remember, I am your client, and you are evaluating something that I have put a lot of work into! Include quotes from users and screenshots of problem areas in order to get your point across. Break your report down by topic, and make it clear what the most important problems/recommendations are.

2. Also from the group, a video clip, or audio over still screenshots/photographs, that illustrates one or two main points of your report. Three minutes or less. This does not have to be particularly polished-looking. IMovie or Windows Movie Maker will work fine.

3. From each of you individually, a one to two page reflection on the process and what you learned.

Please turn the paper version of #1 and upload #1 and #2 to bspace under the name of one person in your group. Turn in #3 individually.

We’ll view and discuss some of your videos in class.