Today we did usability testing. I’m incredibly happy that we’ve set up a system of monthly testing. I’ve never done enough — in my opinion — at my previous jobs, and the few times I was able to do some it was illuminating and useful.
We’ve taken our process wholesale from the “rocket surgery” book, which is an expansion of a chapter from the original classic, Don’t Make Me Think. Which is nice because it gives us a timeline, forms, and scripts. And it includes something that wasn’t emphasized in the original, which is the importance of observers. Again, not going to go into the particulars, but having observers is powerful. A few people will be stuck with their preconceived notions, but almost everyone gets some interesting revelation watching other people use the web.
I was the one conducting the tests again today, which I sort of like doing, and which my coworkers seem to think I’m really good at. (My standard response: “I’ve had a lot of therapy.”) But I find it terribly exhausting. I’m not sure how much is introversion, or if some of it goes all the way to social anxiety, but after 2-3 hours of testing followed by an hour or so of debriefing, I pretty much just want to curl up in a ball.
I’m glad that my job allows for time away from others. I think back to working at the Museum, especially when I was part time and almost entirely doing stuff out “on the floor,” and I can’t imagine doing that all day. I can’t see being a teacher, either.
So this afternoon I’m listening to Mozart with my headphones on, trying to find some interesting but not too stressful programming projects (OMG OTHER PEOPLE’S CODE), and recharge myself.