Last Thursday and Friday, I have been to Helsinki University of Technology and University of Turku and done five wireframe/prototype tests. The results were, as always when it comes to usability tests, at the same time surprising and not at all surprising. I am indeed grateful for finding teachers and support staff from these schools to take part in interviews and testing.

The biggest surprise was that actually, adding random questions is not such a hard task – at least not if users first read a bit of introductory text (3 paragraphs) explaining the three core concepts (quiz/exam, question bank, random question). That is, in the test the setting was somewhat artificial since users were told to first familiarize themselves with the conceptual model of the application (actual usage of the application was not explained though). Clarification: Novice users did without  trouble create single questions to the quiz before having read the text, though.

So, the tests gave a preliminary promise that if users understand the underlying concepts, with a reasonable UI no further documentation is needed for a simple task such as creating an exam. This was the real challenge I thought we were facing with the UI, but it seems we are getting there, though slowly. As usual, we discovered several issues, too, but more about them as soon as I get the results into a reasonable format.

It is June 2nd, the first official day of Summer Code. As I have already done a great part of the actual usability work and there still is a substantial amount of usability research to do before implementing the UI as PHP, I will publish a new project plan today. (Update: I did.) I am also planning to do my masters thesis about this project, but I have not gotten very far with that, yet.

  • Currently, I am still processing the interview data I gathered in the six interviews we did in May.
  • Based on that work, I will publish an as-easy-to-read-as-possible usability document in Docs, based on which discussion about the actual usage scenarios can continue in the Moodle community.
  • After that, I will put the current prototype and the findings of the actual usability tests online, too.