Get OUT! (Online Usability Testing)
Campus technologies are often developed in a vacuum, running the risk of ineffective products, dissatisfied users, and lower perceptions of the value of technology in higher education. While selective usability testing can provide this perspective, lab-based testing can be an expensive and time-consuming process that frequently only serves to rubber-stamp projects at the end of the development cycle.
To address these concerns at UW-Milwaukee, the Letters and Science IT Office has developed a suite of remote usability testing apps which provide web interfaces for designing and deploying tests, as well as for analyzing test results. Current apps include surveys, card sorting, tree testing, timed testing, and click tracking—each of which can be run on mobile devices and desktop/laptop computers.
This session will introduce the components of this testing suite, and share the details of our partnership with UWM’s Professional and Technical Writing program and the L&S Usability Testing Lab to form a campus usability testing research group. We’ll discuss our strategies for making these resources available for students to gain practical experience, and for campus technologists to integrate usability testing in all phases of the design process. Our goal is to begin building a theoretical base of user knowledge that can inform and improve future campus development efforts.
Web Applications Developer, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Danny Harvey works as a web applications developer in the LSITO Web Development Office at UW-Milwaukee. His professional experience includes fourteen years as a Materials Engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. and twelve years as a web and mobile app developer at Eastern Illinois University. Harvey provides technology support for business processes, research and assessment.
Lead Documentation Specialist, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Josh Ebert is the Lead Documentation Specialist at the College of Letters and Science (L&S) IT Office and an M.A. student in the English Department’s Professional and Technical Writing program. Ebert is the co-founder of the L&S Usability Testing Lab, and works closely with L&S administrators and IT staff to develop documentation and improve L&S business processes.