Usability Test A :: Carrie Garzich
Subject: Jessica Garzich
My subject was a student who spends approximately 15 hours a week online, primarily visiting a Web forum, talking to people through instant messenger and sometimes reading Yahoo news. Her favorite sites include that forum (Peloria), Homestarrunner.com and thespark.com. She has been using computers since she was three or four years old (she is 18) and the Internet since 1997.
She noticed the content first — science fiction, technology and space — and said these were things she liked. She also mentioned later, when I asked her how she would go about changing the text size, that she had noticed the site's feature for that early on and was impressed by it. She thought she would first click on either the lead story — which was was about the Galileo spacecraft at the time of the test — or the quote in the upper left hand corner of the page because those were things she was interested in.
She was quick to pick up on the purpose of the site — news — and seemed to understand what sorts of content could be found under the subcategories listed on the left side of the page, as well as what to click on to find Wired Magazine content.. She also understood that content in the center of the page was the "latest-breaking stuff." However, when I asked her about the list of story links on the right side, she felt these were stories that were not quite as big as the content in the center of the page. She did not indicate that she understood these stories were from wire services, as opposed to Wired Magazine or Wired News content.
Non-Wired content was also an issue when I asked her to do a key task: searching for a story on a topic of her choice, selecting an article to read out of the search results and then emailing that article to a friend. Her search for the video game "Soul Caliber II" brought up two results and she clicked on the second. This was actually a link to an off-site story (Wired often includes links to articles of note on other sites in its news roundups, which is likely how this story came to be listed in the search returns), and although the site she went to did have an email-this-story function that she was able to find, it wasn't quite the desired task.
Other items of note included her response to the Flash advertisement for Verizon that popped up over the text in the middle of the home page; she didn't like the ad because it interfered with her ability to go read that story. She picked up, upon returning to the home page, that the home page had changed colors, and hit refresh several times to view the different color schemes.