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user tests

A powerful and useful tool to evaluate your ongoing project is the user test.
An user test is a way to observe hypothetical users using the application, in order to discover errors and areas of improvement.

We set up a user test creating a scenario where the users had to read a part of a given text (poems, nursery rhymes, short stories, play, novels) while drinking and spending an enjoyable time with other users. We didn’t give them a lot of instructions but just the reading on a little piece of paper with a number that defined the user’s turn.
The aim was not to test the technical function of our application but to observe the atmosphere created using it, the level of participation of the users according to their numbers, the difficulty of managing and following split readings.

User test 1
Shark (Rialto) | 8.30pm | 2 users | 24-27years old

First user test gave us the chance to notice that:

  • at the beginning it’s difficult to start but once you’ve done it, helped by beer, you release your inhibition [00:25/01:03];
  • nursery rhymes have a rhythm that is more easily interpretable;
  • a comedy script has a rhythm more pressing than the nursery rhyme but shifting quickly from one character to another is hard;
  • two users an intimate scenario but, maybe, too intimate for our idea;
  • stakeholders (other people in the pub) comments were: “What the hell are they doing?”  but the reading didn’t bother them too much: they continued drinking;
  • it is important to establish a gesture that gives the start of the reading [00:55].

User test 2
Madigans’ Pub (Campo Santa Margherita) | 7.30pm | 15 users | 22-27 years old

The second test lets us understand that:

  • 2 users are too few, 15 users are too many: it makes it hard to establish turns and to follow a reader distant from me;
  • a clear initial/ending feedback is required [00:30/01:19];
  • a user could suddenly decide to leave the reading [00:55];
  • starting is hard but after that it’s easy to go on (the reading also creates an enjoyable atmosphere according to its  category);
  • everyone has a own time for reading so it’s difficult to define a standard (when we started designing our application we though about establish a maximum time for each part of the reading);
  • someone immediately feel himself/herself comfortable reading and in the shoes of the author [00:12/01:25 voice over's comments].

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