Principles of User Experience Research and Testing
In today’s digital world, User Experience (UX) research & testing plays a fundamental role in conceptualizing and refining all types of interactive products and services, from e-mail apps to ride sharing services. This course introduces students to the language and skills of User Experience, building on capabilities qualitative researchers already have [e.g., designing and managing qualitative research projects, building rapport, probing for clarity, getting below top-of-mind responses, and facilitating stakeholder discussions].
Students will be introduced to the language and process of User Experience through the Design Thinking framework [Research – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Testing]. They will gain an overview of how to leverage their qualitative skills in the early stages of product development [Research – Define – Ideate – Prototype]. The key focus of this class however is on the final Design Thinking phase – Testing, because learning how to set up a solid usability test is the quickest route to becoming a User Experience Researcher.
Students will gain an understanding of the best practices in usability testing as well as when and how to apply this method in their own work. Usability testing skills include UX research techniques such as persona creation, task analysis, how to understand a user’s mental model, remote and in-person card sorting. Each student will have the opportunity to design and moderate their own usability study with an outside participant using the class case study.
Moderators who have taken RIVA 201, 202, or 303; or have received the approval of RIVA’s CEO. It is expected that participants in this class have been moderators for a period of time and want to upgrade their skills.
After taking this course, graduates will:
• Differentiate approaches on how to run a usability study from start to finish: understand the steps for planning, moderating, data collection, identifying and reporting usability issues
• Develop techniques on recruiting for a usability study, using personas to identify key participant characteristics
• Identify which UX Research approach to use at different points in the product development lifecycle (e.g., concept, early prototype, released product)
• Recruit for UX Research and usability studies
• Perform a heuristic review to identify usability issues
• Define how to do a task analysis
• Determine when to do in-person, remote, or automated usability testing
• Work successfully with diverse stakeholders in a User Experience Research project
• Integrate UX Research/usability with other qualitative research methods
• Utilize ways to leverage their qualitative research skills in UX
• Use the language of User Experience with more confidence
Students will receive a comprehensive workbook, example test plans script, recruiting screeners, and usability report template to adapt for use in their own practice. We will cover methods for usability testing digital and physical products and services. The course material includes a list of UX terminology and a detailed bibliography with information on where to learn more about usability testing user experience research so that they can incorporate these techniques into their own qualitative practice. Before the class, all students are required to do a pre-work exercise to learn Mural and fundamental UX concepts.
How Students are Assessed: Students are expected to attend and participate in all modules, including lectures, practice sessions with fellow students, practice sessions with recruited respondents, and open forums. Trainers use in-depth feedback forms to provide students with individualized, targeted written and oral feedback throughout the class. On the last day of class, students will have the opportunity to demonstrate the implementation of all feedback in a UX interview with recruited respondents.