Reflect on your experience of conducting and participating in usability evaluation, by answering the following questions: Comment on how you experienced the technique as both user and evaluator … For each of the 2 techniques (user observation, thinkaloud): 1) What kinds of information and insights did it give you about the usability of the prototype? 2) What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

Experience as user:

  1. As an user and knowing you are being observed, the experience is interesting because you feel more tense than you normaly do. At the same time, it becomes clear the possible errors the sites have, as apparently easy tasks take some time to be complete. For example, in the library website, I took more time than I was expecting to complete the tasks and notice that maybe the information architecture and information highlights within the website could be improved. A detail that I don’t think I would notice if I were using it without the designer look.
  2. The aspects that worked well were the person guiding you and telling what to do, but the thinkaloud is difficult because you have to think to do it and it is a little unnatural to describe every step you take. I prefered just keeping a conversation with the observers and telling them what I was thinking about the site, not exactly describing my actions.

Experience as evaluator:

  1. As an evaluator it’s interesting to notice that some steps of the tasks are hard for the user to complete, even if, at the beggining, you thought it would be easy. Another thing it’s interesting to note is that every person has a different decision tree, so they follow different steps to complete the same action, but before the evaluator experience this is not as clear as it becomes with the exercise. As an evaluator, you internally follow the steps and it’s interesting to note when the user does it in a different way. Sometimes you want to help, but you know you can’t, so you have to resist the impulse.
  2. The aspects that worked well were the guidance for the user, but I found hard to keep stimulating the thinkaloud technique as it was a little strange and disturbing for the user, as they have to concentrate both in describe the steps while also doing them. In addition, sometimes the user doesn’t describe that much the action, nor keep a conversation with the evaluator, so you have to be aware of facial expressions and body language, which I found more truthful to the real feelings of the user because when you have to think and describe feelings, usually you are not completely accurate of them.