Learning more about Usability Testing, Updates and New Ideas

Week 4

July 3, 2012

Summary of Today’s Post:
– Responses to Andrew’s comment on yesterday’s post
– Marketing Update
– User Test Update
– Some new ideas regarding addition content
– ‘To Do’ list post-development of the user test

Response to Andrew’s comments to yesterday’s post:
No, I have not yet contacted anyone from the Smithsonian or WHOI.  I am very eager to receive more contacts from these institutions and anymore you can point me towards, as I am still definitely on the hunt for more recruitees.

And YES, I will absolutely provide the user testing tool before its used.  I am hoping to get it to you all tomorrow or Friday, post our conversation today and looking over Laura Miller’s materials that she sent to me yesterday afternoon.

Marketing Update:
– Jerald Dosch of OBFS sent out my email alerting everyone to the DMPtool
– I sent him the forms to fill out if OBFS is interested in becoming a member
– In this email I also solicited any feedback from him in re: the DMPtool as he and his colleagues are considering joining
– And again solicited researcher’s names within the community to use as testers

Laura Miller’s Usability Testing Resources
1). Usability Team Training Powerpoint
– Why usability
– How to design and administer a test
– How to judge tester success
2). Sept. 2011 DMPtool Usability Report
– Summary of test
-Questions used during the test– Laura indicated that some of the questions might benefit from being tested again, while others won’t.
3). Two resources from www.usability.gov
– when its right to use a usability test
– guidelines about creating usability tests

My Comments/Questions Regarding these Materials:
The PowerPoint provided a great background to usability, including some ideas about how to use specific metrics included success rate on a 0-4 scale, task time, error rate, and satisfaction ratings on a Likert scale of 1-7. I also gained some valuable insight into how to write up the actual usability test.  What information should be included and what this report needs to look like in order to be valuable to DataONE.

The September 2011 report of the usability test for the DMPtool was very interesting to see. I assume that since then some changes have indeed been made to the tool.  I found 2 questions for this round of testing to be very important still: 1) If you wanted more information, you’d go where” and 2) Is the suggested text helpful?  I like #1 because part of what I think would be helpful to add to the tool would be additional resources, and I will discuss my ideas for this down below.  I like #2 because I am curious about that aspect of the tool as well.  I am wondering about trust and how interested users are in actually copying and pasting text in their own plans.

New Ideas for Expanding Content and Improving Design:
Add a “Additional Resources” tab at the top
– This can include resources about the particularly difficult tasks for the Earth scientists researchers  to complete in creating a DMP such as: metadata, copyright, publishing, dissemination (all indicated as difficult in 2011 report)
– These difficulties will need to be tested for in the user tests
– A link to the forum (in re: the forum idea proposed by LTER via Karekn Baker).  We can create a forum that can act as a community discussion site.  It will be open to all users, but can be sub-organized by the grants, for example.
– This proposed additional content can also be tested for in the user tests


To Do List- After the User Test has been Constructed:
– more comparisons (ie.. Columbia’s Earth Science tool to create data management plants)
– expanding and improving content for directorate requirements
– continue working on “resources tab” in terms of design and content (most interested and excited by this prospect because I think it will enhance the tool)

Biggest Concern right now: getting actual participants in the user tests!!!

Thanks All,


One Reply to “Learning more about Usability Testing, Updates and New Ideas”

  1. Hi Rachel,

    Responses to your topics:

    1) Will send you people from Smithsonian and WHOI. Stay tuned.

    2) Marketing – Good. One note with OBFS…they will have many users, but given that they are usually employed by an institution, think about creating a toolkit and guidance for how field stations can work with their institutional support teams for DMPTool to provide local guidance that meets their needs.

    3) Laura – great!

    4) Expanding content and improving design – within the period of this internship, we are more easily able to expand content than we are design/functionality. Please focus on content issues, but still maintain a list of design/functionality issues/requests which you can include in a final report for future development.

    5) Last thing on my list is to just reiterate the point of making some decisions on specific, measurable marketing goals for you to achieve during this internship. An easy one would be to look at the templates that serve people within the DataONE scope and to try to reach a certain number of uses of those templates within a particular period. That will allow you to focus your activities (ie. Marketing campaigns) to try and reach that goal. There are many possible goals, just pick one or a couple and commit to it.

    Hope you had a good fourth abroad.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *