I have 25 years' experience interviewing people from all walks of life, going back to my newspaper days, through my time writing website profiles for CSCC.edu, and now with user testing. I work hard to create a friendly, nonjudgmental environment where subjects can express their thoughts openly. I have a lot of experience keeping my personal opinions out of it.
I am endlessly fascinated by people. I love seeing how people use a tool in their work, or how they create specialized language for their area of expertise. I am delighted when someone approaches a problem completely differently than I would.
Do they prefer to browse a nav menu than search? Do they open a new window every time they use Google? Do they go straight for the footer and find the phone number? Do they bookmark everything? Do they have a cheat sheet on a Post-It? Do they refer to bell pepper as "mango?" I'm here for it.
Services for Students Test
How do you complete common tasks at the college? This is one of 10 user tests I conducted in February 2021 to evaluate cscc.edu/students, a page that serves as a directory of student services. I ended up zooming out into a wider discussion.
Evaluating that page is tricky because tasks are spread across so many systems, and there are so many ways to find them. So I gave the students some free-form tasks, then prompted them with the page and watched to see if they tried to use it.
In this test, the student shows me the variety of strategies he uses to navigate the college. He has bookmarks, CougarWeb (the student information systems), his advisors, his program handbook, and the telephone center.
At the end, I stepped back to have a general conversation about how you learn about the college. He said he relied pretty heavily on Orientation - tune in at 24:09 hear me give the saddest "yeah."
Register for Classes
This is part of a series of tests I did to examine how students register for classes.
Not surprisingly, the process is cumbersome and involves several areas of the website and our third-party student information system. The quickest I saw someone do it about three minutes.
In this test, the student also walks me through some of the tools she uses outside the website, such as talking to an Academic Advisor, the Transferology website, and writing things down on a piece of paper.
Following this test, we added more resources to the Register for Classes page. We're also working on a more streamlined student information system, but that's a long-term project.