April 19th, 2005

The usability of a tiny-fonted, parched parchment...

My day was consumed with my Google Website Usability Report.

I administered my ME Project website usability test to Dr. Dicks, as a second academic "targeted user," and then Michelle Corbin as a technical communicator hiring manager.

At 6:30, I met E-Ching and Will in the Caldwell Hall Lounge, and we usability tested the Bill of Rights. It was E-Ching's "non-instructional document usability test," which is the next thing on my plate for ENG 519.

I'm wondering how many usability tests one has to do before it's clear that one "has it." I still have two more to do in the next two weeks. Alright already. I get the concept.

I must have mentioned a thousand times during the test that the typeface used for the document was way too small, especially for bi-focaled (yes, I did just make bi-focal an adjective, or is that a past-tense verb) eyes, and tried to bear some resemblance to the original, on parched parchment (is that redundant), complete with (simulated) burnt edges, and the tiniest (did I mention tiny) brush script, old-Engish (or is that old-American) typeface. Whew, that's a busy sentence. Here's the translation: The shit was hard to read.

We did the "co-discovery" type of usability test, where E-Ching presented us with tasks to do using the document, and Will and I, together, executed the tasks. The tasks were things like, "The police have just searched your house with a search warrant for drugs. They found a gun while they were looking for the drugs. What in this document, if anything, tells you if they are permitted to introduce the gun as evidence against you in a court of law?"

It was a lot of fun doing this test. Will is always fun, and E-Ching is just as sweet as she can be. Smart, too.

ENG 519 class was okay tonight. I don't know why I was struggling so much with the ideas and concepts of Flow, especially since I've read the book in its entirety, and it really resonated with me at the time, which was many, many years ago. Interesting.

I worked on my usability report until 3:30AM.