1) What kinds of information and insights did it give you about the usability of the prototype?
As a user, I was able to gain valuable insights and information based on my own experience by performing the task of booking tickets on Sydney Opera House’s website personally. The feedback gathered from this perspective was first-hand without any redundancies or need for interpretation of the responses as I felt my reactions and emotions directly. However, it should be noted that evaluation from this role can be rather restrictive as it only provides insights based on a sole individual’s perspectives and preferences about the prototype.
On the other hand, as an observer, the information obtained and recorded was observed and interpreted from a third-party perspective. I could record the surface reactions and emotions of the user accurately but I might interpret the meaning behind the responses wrongly if I have extremely different preferences as compared to the user. Despite so, this increases the amount of feedback gathered during the evaluation and also helps to uncover any underlying needs that the user is possibly unaware of.
2) What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?
One important learning that I took away from this exercise is the videoing of users while they were performing their tasks. Not only was this beneficial to aid me in ensuring I recorded all necessary data from the evaluation, I could also playback the video to users to analyse their behavior and uncover more insights. As such, the act of videoing and playback became the bridge that connected users’ personal experiences to observers’ interpretations, which helped to facilitate greater discovery of underlying needs.
Nonetheless, it is noted that video recording needs to be dictated to someone else as a separate role from the observer or with the assistance of a well-placed videoing system. This is because it can be rather frustrating and in fact, counter-productive if one needs to multi-task between observing every reaction, taking down notes of the process, and holding the video camera, all at the same time.