Vicissitudes of User Testing

To the firm:

We have completed the usability test of the revised web portal. Our tests evaluated three aspects of user interaction: the efficiency with which tasks could be completed; the effectiveness of tasks performed; and the satisfaction of users. On each of these measures, we were sobered to learn that none rated highly.

We presented the results to your CIO, and she laughed out loud. As we thought we had misinterpreted the results, we proceeded to conduct further website metric analysis through analytics software, and while we saw a high hit rate, the correspondingly equivalent bounce rate only confirmed our fears. To be blunt: there is absolutely zero interest in your website, dudes.

We feel that these website issues negatively impact the company’s image and revenue profile. Our user tests identified a number of issues that if rectified may improve user satisfaction over time. The recommendations include the following:

1. Users smacked the computer, injuring fingers and knuckles, and damaging the equipment. When your site goes live, we recommend a pop-up on the portal page advising users on anger management techniques (such as yoga, a therapists visit, or a punchable clown situated near the terminal). Or put a giant pillow in front of the monitor. Granted, users won’t be able to see what’s going on, but we feel your firm can spin this into a positive as it will increase sales of your company’s audio assist software. (We have enclosed a bill for the damaged equipment.)

2. We agree that having a cat at the computer increases users’ morale by making them comfortable. However, we do not recommend the use of live mice as pointing devices. While soft to the touch, the poor terrified creatures clung to life on the mouse pads as users moved them about. Additionally, the constant commotion of the cat chasing the mice made users feel harried and anxious as they tried to complete the credit card entry form. That users left with blood and scratches about the hands, arms, neck and face only increases the liability exposure for the company.

3. We would appreciate the return of our most capable lab assistant, whom you kidnapped on the twenty-fourth of the month. The assistant returned the doughnut to your copy room thirteen days ago and has expressed regrets and remorse, and so there is no more reason for hostage taking.

4. We love it that your firm provided staff from your in-house design team. This shows engagement. However, the employee you provided was less than satisfactory in his performance. During one test, he inflated and popped a rubber glove, scaring the daylights out of the user and the test facilitator. Also, he tended to inexplicably drift away from test monitoring. We looked and found him crouching behind the ficus tree in the lab muttering “the British are coming! The British are coming!” At critical moments, the plant shuffled into the users’ field of vision, distracting them from tasks. Finally: the propeller hat must go.

We advise your utmost and immediate attention to these matters and look forward to continued future business.