Create a usability test plan
This usability test was conducted on the document titled “How to Create a Spreadsheet in Google Docs” and its aim was to find out how user-friendly the guide was. The major finding of the test was that the guide was not comprehensive enough to adequately fulfill the function it was designed for. The primary reason for conducting this study was to find out how relevant the guide was in the process of creating a spreadsheet for a walkathon. By following the guide, the user should have been in a position to create a three-column document, with some rows bearing drop-down selection options.
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The candidate that was selected for the test was a college student, who had prior experience with Microsoft Excel. The subject had used Google Docs before but only for sharing Microsoft Word Documents. For this test, the subject was given the guide and asked to follow its direction and create a three-column Microsoft Excel document for recording the details of participants in a walking event. One of the columns was to carry the walker’s name, while the second was for recording the amount the walker raised, and the third to fill in the organization with which the walker was affiliated. The “Organization” column was to use in-cell dropdowns for better editing control and processing.
The subject was observed as he prepared the document and the amount of time taken between one step and the next noted down. Interviews with the candidate were also be conducted at each step of the exercise to determine how easy it was for him to complete the action.
Discuss the findings of your usability test
The document titled “How to Create a Spreadsheet in Google Docs” was meant to be a guide for individuals who do not have prior experience with the google spreadsheet software. However, the first two steps assumed that the user of the document had already been exposed to Google Docs.
Among the critical steps that were ignored, was how to get to the Google Docs option from Gmail and how to identify the spreadsheet option. The other weakness of the guide was in the third step where it was requiring the user to select the “Data validation command”. This directive left the test candidate fumbling because it did not explain how to get to the option.
Finally, the guide required the user to save the work after completion, disregarding the fact that the spreadsheet did not come with a ‘save’ option. The candidate spent a whole minute on this task because he was looking for a saving option, as would have been the case in Microsoft Excel. It is only upon performing a search on Google that he was able to notice that the document was getting saved automatically.
Create a “new” usability test plan using the attached “How to Create a Spreadsheet in Google Docs” based on your findings (above)
You are going to use Google Docs to create a spreadsheet for a walkathon. You will create three columns: one for the walker’s name, one for the amount the walker raised, and one for the organization with which the walker is affiliated. The “Organization” column will use in-cell dropdowns for better editing control and processing:
In-cell dropdowns make inputting data easier by reducing typing errors. A set of predetermined values allow for editing control and better processing ability. Your spreadsheet can decide if you want to validate a range or a set of values.
- Sign in to your Gmail account.
- On the top right, click on the square icon that is made up of nine small squares.
- From the options, select Drive.
- Inside the Drive, you will see a drop-down option titled ‘My Drive’ at the top left. It is the second item in the second row on the page, from the left.
- From the ‘My Drive’ option select Google Sheets.
- A new spreadsheet will be created and it will have the names ‘Untitled Spreadsheet’ at the top.
- Double click on the name and type in any name you want, then click ‘Enter’.
- Now go to the first row in the first column and title it “Walker’s Name.”
- Title the second and third columns “Amount Raised” and “Organization”, respectively.
- Go to the third column, place your cursor in the first row, and double click in the box.
- A drop-down list will present and from it choose the “Data Validation” command.
- The Cell Range should display for you, and should be Sheet1!C: C. (The sheet number might be different.)
- The “Criteria” should be “Items” from a “List.”
- Select “Enter List Items” and enter the names of the sponsors (i.e., organizations).
- Return to your spreadsheet and enter three different walkers and three different amounts, and choose their organizations.
- Reopen the third column’s “Data Validation” and enter “Help Text” that says: “Choose the walker’s organization” and then return to the spreadsheet where you can enter the fourth walker and choose the organization and see how the help text helps prompt you.
- Enter a fifth walker and for the organization type “Pancake House”; note that it lets you do this.
- Reopen the third column’s “Data Validation” and unselect “Allow Invalid Data, But Show Warning.”
- Return to your spreadsheet and add a sixth walker. Specify an “Organization Type” of “Pancake House”; now it will not let you because you have been prohibited from entering invalid data. This will let spreadsheet users sort by organization more accurately.
- The spreadsheet is automatically saved with each change and you can exit the window once you are done with the process.
Justify how your revisions improve the instructions based on your findings from the usability test
The changes implemented on the page were arrived at after it became clear that various elements of clarity had been disregarded in the first design. When creating a guide for a technical product, it is imperative that the creator ensures that individuals who have no prior experience with the product can use it to accomplish desired tasks (Gabrielle & Kellerman, 2014; Kumar, 2014; Namita, 2012; Anbuvelan, 2007, Lil 2005; Gallager, 2008).
It is for this reason that the first six items in the revised guide are tailored to help novices access the software. The 11th item in the revised guide provides a detail that had been omitted in the original manual, and without which the user could not proceed to the next step.
Accessing the “Data validation” command was an important part of the guide and it was necessary that the user was explicitly shown how to access it.
Anbuvelan, K. (2007). Principles of Management. New York, USA: Firewall Media.
Gabrielle, K., & Kellerman, E. (2014). Communication Strategies: Psycholinguistic and Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Abingdon, England: Routledge.
Gallager, R. (2008). Principles of Digital Communication. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
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Kumar, A. (2014). A textbook of security. Mumbai, India: Goyal Brothers Prakashan.
Lil, R. (2005). Technical Communication. Ontario, Canada: Thomson/Nelson.
Namita, K. (2012). Industrial Economics and Telecommunication Regulations. Mumbai, India: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.