Teaching Notes

Usability Testing Module

Version: 8 August 2005

This version of the Usability Testing module is based on the original format taught by Mark Ardis at Rose Hulman University. In this format, the schedule included four lectures per week for two weeks. The site for the course as taught during the Spring 2005 semester is http://www.rose-hulman.edu/class/csse/csse376/. The relevant lectures are those from April 14 through April 26. [NOTE: We also plan to design two variants of this module. One variant will be a one-day lecture covering the most important points. The other variant will be an intermediate version: More than one lecture but fewer than eight.]

This module includes materials for teaching the Usabilty Testing module as part of a two-week block consisting of 8 lectures. After reading through these teaching notes, use the schedule table to methodically study the lecture notes, quizzes, and homework assignments. The schedule table shows the mapping between the materials in this module and the lecture meetings of the original format.

The 2-week version of the Usability Testing module is intended to give the students practical experience with performing usability testing. They will learn: the importance of this type of testing, how to design an effective test, how to plan and execute such a test, and how to report the results of testing. This hands-on approach to the material can help students understand the challenges and rewards of carefully planning and executing usability testing..

This 2-week version of the Usability Testing module includes the following materials (which you should be able to click and reach if the materials are downloaded and organized as recommended in the README-FIRST file):

Textbook Choice

We have identified two texts as viable choices for supporting this module. Both are excellent books.

During the Spring 2005 offering of the course, Mark Ardis used the textbook by Rubin. He chose the Rubin textbook because it is shorter and more direct. He has never used the Dumas and Redish text, so cannot offer any other advice to guide the choice between the two.

Preparation and Follow-up for Teaching the Module

These are tasks the instructor must complete in order to teach this module using the same format as the original. The key tasks are to adapt the materials, set up a demonstration, select a product for the team-run testing sessions, find volunteers to serve as participants in the team-run sessions, set up a schedule for the team-run sessions, find someone to drive the video recorder, prepare the setting for each of the sessions, do the appropriate follow-up, and grade.

Each of these items is elaborated below:

  1. Adapt the lectures, quizzes, and homeworks to fit the format
  2. Set up the demonstration of a usability testing session:
  3. Select a product to test.
  4. Recruit participants for the team-run testing sessions. This includes the following steps:
  5. Set up the team schedule for the team-run testing sessions.
  6. Arrange to have the team-run testing sessions videotaped.
  7. Prepare the setting for the lectures when the team-run usability tests are conducted:
  8. At the end of class:
  9. After the team-run testing session(s) is complete:
  10. Grade the performance of each testing team after all teams have turned in their testing results using:

Additional advice on teaching this material: