Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Learning about scenario tasks

For the internship, we have been following a schedule where we research topics about usability testing. After that "research" phase, we'll start building our usability tests. And we are almost finished with that "research" phase.

Please follow along as we start our new research topic: scenario tasks!

In this segment, we will examine scenario tasks. We started to explore this topic somewhat during last week's research on scenarios. Scenarios are similar to scenario tasks, but they are not the same. A scenario describes how a real person would use the software. By contrast, a scenario task is given to a tester during a usability test to have them perform a task representative of how real people use the software.

The scenario task must represent what users would actually need to do with the software, what users are looking for in the software (therefore, they follow from personas and scenarios). A well-crafted scenario task will help you to uncover usability issues more effectively.

I've shared a few resources that should help in this week's research:
  1. Usability testing: how do we design effective tasks (Zhao, 2013)
  2. Seven Tips For Writing Usability Task Scenarios (Sauro, 2013)
  3. Turn User Goals into Task Scenarios for Usability Testing (Nielsen Norman Group, 2014)
Before Renata, Diana and Ciarrai were accepted to the Outreachy internship, they each had to present a "first contribution" in usability testing. For this first contribution, I asked them to find ten scenario tasks used in other GNOME usability tests, and perform their own usability tests with a few testers.

As part of this week's research on scenario tasks, Renata, Diana and Ciarrai will also reflect on their first contributions, and write about using these scenario tasks. Which scenario tasks worked well? Were there any scenario tasks that you would choose to improve?

Starting next week, we will transition to building our usability tests!
image: Outreachy

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