User Test Report by Amanda Zarate (student example)

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Note from Instructor Sandy Brown Jensen: In this image, an owner of a Samsung Galaxy does a User Test for waterproofing (HINT: It didn’t work). User Testing of Instructions is essential at multiple stages of your project. In this post, Technical Writing student Amanda Zarate demonstrates how to use user testing videos as the evidence she needs to support her claims. (Image: Digital Times.com)

To           Sandy Brown Jensen, WR 227 Instructor, LCC

From      Amanda Zarate, Pre-Dental Assisting Student, LCC

Date       April 23, 2016

 

Subject   User Test Report

 

INTRODUCTION

My instructions are a step-by-step guide on how to make a paper bag book cover. (Click to see final instructions.) My audience is for those who are in college, who want to keep their textbooks, or any book, free from wear and tear. My audience could also be anyone who wants to make a book cover for their favorite book, or any book of their choice. This memo will state how I wrote the instructions, the feedback I received, and what I did to make them better.

OBJECTIVES

My objective in this report is to present each of my user testers for my Instructions and to systematically evaluate their feedback. Then I will asses their feedback for what I can do to improve my Instructions. I plan to conclude with an overview of my take-aways from this User Testing process.

METHOD

In order to test my Instructions, I asked four classmates to video themselves actually using the drafted Instructions. My test readers were Kallista Wilson, Shelby Taylor, Whitney Snell, and Ryujiro Yoshioka. Each test reader is a college student, who has to buy textbooks each term. Those textbooks need to stay in like-new condition in order to sell the book at the end of term, so I feel they were good representatives of my target audience.

The location of the test was done in the reader’s home, which was appropriate for this activity as my target readers would most likely be using the instructions in their homes, as well.

I asked each of my user testers to follow the instructions posted on how to make a paper bag book cover. This was done while they filmed themselves. Once completed, they posted the video for my viewing and gave me written feedback, which I evaluated to see what changes I needed to make in my draft.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The information that I gathered from my test readers was very helpful. I was able to identify that some were confused about where to make the first cut on the paper bag, during Step 1.

At that point, I noticed a huge error on my part. My instructions incorrectly said to make two cuts, one on each side of the bag.

The video below shows Shelby attempting my instructions. I could tell right away I had done part of my instructions wrong when she was unsure about the first cut. She cut it on both sides like I instructed, which I shouldn’t have. She also assumed it was down the middle of the bag, since I hadn’t explained more specifically where to cut.

I had to fix that part of the instructions, and change it to only one cut, on one side of the bag. Also, as the instructions were read out loud by the test readers, I could tell some of my steps were too lengthy. As seen below, Kallista’s review was filmed from a great angle. She also read the instructions from her phone while being filmed, and I could tell I had too many words in some of the steps.

I went back and revised it, cutting out quite a bit of information that might have been too repetitive. She also had some confusion with the first cut in my instructions.

Whitney had trouble because she used a softback book, as seen below.

For this reason, I added a lot more troubleshooting tips, including that the instructions will work best when using a hardback book.

*Ryu’s video feedback wasn’t posted through YouTube therefore, I didn’t have a url code.

CONCLUSION

What I learned from this assignment is that in order to have well-written, easy-to-understand instructions, I must write a rough draft first. Then, have someone test my instructions before I submit it, or before I make it public. I was so wrapped up in the layout of the assignment, and I was experiencing some overall stress, which caused me to have flawed instructions. Amazingly, all the test readers had success, even with my mistake included in the instructions.

Writing great instructions was a much more difficult task than I originally thought.

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