20%: Usability Test

Using the prototype from the previous phase, you must design and run a usability test of your application. This phase has two parts: The usability test plan, and a report of the usability test results.

Usability Test Plan

  • Based on your previous work on assessing User Needs, prepare the tasks for your usability test.
    1. Describe the scenario for your test subjects. Ideally, your test subjects are representing themselves, but if they are representing some other kind of user, describe the characteristics of the user they are representing. Remind them that that they are not being tested, it is the interface that is being tested.
    2. Give them a list of 3-8 tasks to perform. They may be simple sequence such as (1) login, (2) select a date and time for a medical appointment (3) send an email notice to yourself, (4) logout. They may be more complex, open-ended, and challenging tasks such as upload your audio recording of a book chapter, use the drawing tool to create an annotated diagram, or find patient histories that show no Papp smear tests within the last three years. Choose tasks that are clear enough so that users know when they are done and how they signal that they are done, for example clicking on a screen button, writing something down on your sheets, or simply saying that they are done so they can request the next task.
  • Prepare a pre-test and post-test (submit the exact forms you will use).
    1. Pre-test: You may want a few pieces of personal data, such as gender, age, number of hours of internet use per week, number of years of professional experience as a physician. Your may also need to verify that they have proper vision, hearing, mobility, etc. This is so you can report about who your subjects were. Please refrain from personal identifying questions, that is, do NOT ask for name, social security number, address, etc.
    2. Post-test: You probably want to ask 3-8 questions about their subjective satisfaction so you get an idea of what reactions they had about, what problems they found, and general comments. You can use semantically anchored 1-7 Likert scale questions to ascertain how difficult-easy they found specific aspects of the interface, or ask them to describe best and worst parts of the interface, or ask for general comments. Your goal is to get information that will help improve your interface design, and determine if it is acceptable or in need of further improvements.

Usability Test Results

  • Submit screenshots of any screens that your users saw during the usability test. Run your usability test with 4-8 subjects (I'll be pleasantly impressed if you run more).
  • Describe how the usability test went and any problems you ran into. For each subject give a one sentence description of who they were without any personally identifying information (e.g. 24-year old female college student, who bicycles to campus 2-4 times a week), followed by a half page description of how they did (e.g. where they had trouble) and what they said (e.g. "this is cool! I'd love to have this, especially if you added a print feature").
  • Report on the post test questionnaire results using simple statistics (i.e., average values) and bar charts, plus extracts of key comments made by users. End by itemizing the problems you identified and prioritize them on a 5 point scale (5 is most important).


  • Add a link from your overall project page to this phase.
  • Describe the usability test plan.
  • Describe the usability test results.