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USABILITY TESTING
The Product
8 Billion Minds is a live learning platform that fosters knowledge-trading around the world at no cost to the user. Users can teach, share or learn subjects of interest in a casual or informal setting. 
The Task
A beta site was created and was in need of testing with real users, this is where I come in. No testing was conducted prior and was needed to validate current design decisions.
I wanted to test the current beta site with real users to be able to measure the success rate for important key user tasks. This would uncover problems, discover opportunities, and learn about user's behavior and preferences.
I wanted to assess the learnability for new users interacting with the 8 Billion Minds beta site for the first time on desktop a device. I wanted to observe and measure if users understood the site's basic functions and navigation to access lessons and teachers. Finally, I wanted to identify any pain points and provide recommendations to address the issues.
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Timeline:
11 Weeks on part time schedule
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Team:
Sr UX Designer, PM, Founder & UX Designer (myself)
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Capture user feedback on current user experience of beta site
Key Goal:
THE PROCESS
Preparation is the key for successful usability testing. My role was to plan, conduct, analyze and present findings.
Pre Preparation  
Before the testing began, it was important to organize a testing plan to keep me focused and organized. I created the following usability testing process.
CREATE TEST PLAN
- Identify goals
- Create test script
- Recruit users
FACILITATE THE TEST
- Conduct test
- Observe & record     user behavior
- Notetate pain          points
ANALYZE & SYNTHESIZE
- Review video and    assess user        
  behavior
- Affinity map
- Feature 
  p
rioritization            matrix
CREATE
TEST REPORT
- Provide user             centered
  re
commendations
- Wireframes
BREAKING DOWN THE PROCESS
Once the scope of work was defined and with the goal in mind I defined my test objectives, followed by writing the test script and finally recruiting particpants.
Create a Test Plan  

Identify Testing Goals   
I set three main goals to accomplish in this usability test. 
 
  • To observe how easy users could complete the onboarding and sign up
     
  • To determine if participants could quickly and easily understand the purpose of the site and the value it provides
     
  • To observe the usability of important key features like, search for a subject/teacher, request a session, send a message and find resources
Test Objectives   
The below are the final testing tasks for the users to complete.
 
  1. Complete the onboarding steps 1-3
  2. Create an account
  3. Search for a subject you are interested in learning more about
  4. Search for a teacher
  5. Send a teacher a message
  6. Request a session
  7. Find your resources
Methodology   
I decided to conduct remote moderated testing. Zoom was used as the recording platform for all tests. The test included a short briefing before the session, task performance using the beta site on desktop device, and a debriefing.
Participants   
A total of five participants were recruited through a contact list of colleagues and friends. They were screened beforehand for basic demographics to make sure they matched the target users.
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Usability Metrics: Success Rate   
Errors will be measured using Jakob Nielsen’s scale:

   -  0 = I don't agree that this is a usability problem at all
   -  1 = Cosmetic problem only: need not be fixed unless extra time is available on project
   -  2 = Minor usability problem: fixing this should be given low priority
   -  3 = Major usability problem: important to fix and should be given high priority
   -  4 = Usability catastrophe: imperative to fix before product can be released
Test Script   
FACILITATE THE TEST
To get started, I explained the agenda for the session and made sure to put them at ease by initiating the conversation with general questions.

After they were comfortable, we began the usability test. I directed them to the beta site and explained to them the tasks one by one and encouraged them to think out loud and had them sign a video recording consent form. 

I sat back and observed users' reactions, identified pain points, and noted valuable feedback as they completed each task. Redirecting the user to the task at hand when needed.
Conducting Remote Tests    
Remote testing was held from June 10 - 14, 2022 using Zoom. Participants were given details about the session including video link and consent form through email prior to the testing date. The time allocated for session was 20-30 minutes, which included; a short briefing before the session, tasks, and a debriefing.
The Results    
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In total , we observed 35 attempts to perform tasks. Of those attempts, 10 were successful, 20 were partially successful and 5 were failures. For this particular site, we gave partial success half a point.

So, the success rate was (10+(20*0.5))/35 = 
57% of Success Rate.
ANALYZE & SYNTHESIZE
I reviewed the recordings of the testing sessions and carefully laid out the identified pain points that each user experienced. I then used affinity mapping to analyze and synthesize the data into categories.
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What I discovered:
  • Search for a subject - Some users questioned if thier subject was available and were confused with the suggested list. They thought they were limited to the provided suggested list.
  • Completing onboarding steps 1-3 - One user wasn't sure if the example greeting was an example or something someone had typed. All completed steps 1-3 but all expressed some sort of unsureness of the form being used.
  • Creating an account - All users did not like having to figure out their time zone
  • Searching for a teacher - After searching and coming to the matches screen, some users questioned if the cards available were teachers. It was not as obvious. They would all like to see more details on bios and experience. 
  • Requesting a session - 2 users skipped the duration feature and all had to think about thier time zone.
  • Sending a message to teacher - Most users were confused by the button stating message send, close here after they submitted their messages.
  • Finding resources - All users spent time clicking on the about us, chat icon or info button hoping to find help or resources. None found it.
  • Adding thier time zones -  all users expressed frustration with the current experience of figuring out their time zone.
FEATURE PRIORITIZATION 2x2 MATRIX
To help prioritize the issues, we used a feature prioritization 2x2 matrix to help us prioritize the categories of issues by how important they were to the business (x-axis) and to the users (y-axis). With the founder, other ux designer and myself, we organized each issue in its corresponding area and labeled them order of importance.
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CREATE TEST REPORT
I created a test report that included each of the eight pain points uncovered through testing. Each pain point had a recommendation that was user-centered. I presented my findings, insights, and recommendations to the founder, product manager, and other ux designer. Below are the top 3 issues identified from the 2x2 matrix above.
Sign up   
Pain point: All but one user was able to enter info. All users did not like having to figure out thier time zone. They all felt unsure about the time zone feature. I also kept in mind what users stated and added additional features to help make the sign up/log in process easier, faster and secure. 
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Beta sign up form
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Beta time zone list
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Recommendation: Remove the time zone list and add find my location feature and use a more familiar form.
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Onboarding Steps 1, 2 & 3
Pain point: All completed all three steps of the onboarding but they all expressed some sort of unsureness about the form being used. 
 
  • Starting with the introduction screen was a bit intimidating for some users, so changing the order of steps was our first solution.
Old order
1. Introduce yourself to the community
2. What subject do you want to learn?

3. What subjects can you teach?

 
New order
1. What subject do you want to learn?
2. What subjects can you teach?

3. Introduce yourself to the community

 
Since the goal of the site was to provide a live learning platform that fosters knowledge-trading around the world and users felt uncomfortable introducing themselves the above new order was done. 
Beta onboarding steps 1, 2 & 3
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Recommendation: The form was updated to a more common form, the UI was updated to suit the brand, the footer was removed from onboarding screens, and the action buttons were updated.
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Search/Landing Page
Pain point: All users found the search box on the landing page, but some questioned if their subject was available and were confused with the suggested list that would appear as they input their subject. They thought they were limited to the list.
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Insight: Allow the user to. be the first user to create a subect category if their subject isn'f found
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Insight: Give the user options to get engaged and get excited to sign up
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Beta Search/Landing Page
Recommendation for Search/Landing Page
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Action Buttons
Improved accessibility by adding contrasting colors for the action but
Typography
Improved the readability of the title and subtitle by reducing the lines of text, change in font and utilizing the negative space better.
Search/Explore
Some users were not sure what to search so to engage them I added an explore button to help them view possibilites.
NEXT STEPS
Testing and Reiterating

In order to validate my design decisions above my next steps are to conduct yet another usability test to measure the success rate of the updated features and UI.
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