Tool Creation Directions and Usability Test Memo
There are two final tasks for Level 2 that you must complete. The first task asks you to come up with a tool, made of everyday household items. The purpose of this tool is to offer a more ergonomic experience for students who often stress and strain their bodies when writing papers: looking down at sources, looking back to the computer screen to type, etc. Then, your job is to write directions on how to construct and use the tool. The second task asks you to conduct usability tests to determine the effectiveness of the tool and your directions and then write a memo that reveals the results of the test. Effective instructions must always be highly reader-centered: meaning they must respond to the needs of readers and users. Together, these tasks encourage the growth of problem-solving skills, grant you experience conducting usability tests, recording and presenting data, and asks you to practice writing as a producer who thinks like a consumer. The Particulars While I say above that there are two final tasks to Level 2, we might argue that there are actually four. As I mentioned above, you will need to do the following: With the ergonomic problem in mind, develop and design a tool that helps students overcome that problem. Your tool doesn’t have to solve the problem completely, but it should still be useful. Then, you have to build the tool using every day household items—or at least items that can be easily obtained via the Internet. It should be simple enough that almost anyone could make the tool and use it. The deliverable for this task is an instruction set. The instructions must do two things: A) direct the reader how to construct the tool and B) instruct the reader on how to use the tool. The design and language of this document should keep the reader in mind—who is going to be using this tool and reading your instructions? How can you best convey to these readers how to make and use your tool via text and design? The next step is to have no fewer than 2, but ideally 3 (three is the magic number) people attempt to construct and use the tool you designed. This is the actual usability test. You should conduct this test in a controlled environment to avoid outside interference and to prevent skewed test results. Observe any difficulties the subjects experience with the instructions—doing so will help you revise your instructions to make them even better. Record the amount of time that subjects require to understand and correctly construct and use the tool. Also note any questions—which you’re not allowed to answer!—that the subjects ask or anything else that subjects do or say while constructing and using the tool. You might encourage your subjects to “think out loud” while completing the usability test. Finally, write the Usability Test Memo. The memo must include the following parts—note them, as the usability test memo genre is different than the memo genre we’ve been writing in up until now. The memo should be between 2–3 pages, no fewer than 1000 words. Introduction: Remind readers of the topic and target instruction audience Objectives: Identify the objectives of your user test Method: Thoroughly, accurately, and persuasively describe test procedure and instruments, and user selection process Results / Discussion: Specifically, and in great detail, report test results. Include descriptions of tester difficulties and questions Conclusion: Describe test results and their consequences. What are you going to do moving forward? Things to Keep in Mind The key thing that you’re trying to accomplish with this task is to convey to others, in writing alone, how to build and use a tool. But, the formatting of the instructions and to some extent the usability test memo is up to you. What makes the most sense in terms of design and formatting for this rhetorical situation? Minimum Requirements for Instructions Between the creation and how to use the tool, there should be no fewer than four (4) steps. You must design the instructions with your audience and purpose in mind You must develop a tool that helps to address the issue of ergonomics when writing papers using ordinary, easy-to-obtain materials The instructions must be organized and easy-to-follow You must research the problem that your tool intends to assuage Minimum Usability Test Memo Have 2–3 people build and use the tool you created based on your composed instructions alone Ethically record the successes and failures of the instruction set during the usability tests Your usability test memo must contain and adequately treat all parts of the genre: Introduction, Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusion Your usability test memo should be 2–3 pages long, no fewer than 1000 words, and should adhere to the memo genre’s formatting conventions. Write and design your memo with an audience and purpose in mind Minimum Requirements for Level-up Memo In many ways, the Level-up Memo is more important than the deliverables themselves. This is where the learning actuallyoccurs, so take this seriously. To that end, you Level-up Memo must address all of the below prompts in order to beat this level. The memo should be between 1–2 pages long. Who is your audience for each deliverable? What have you done in terms of design and choice of language to appeal to these audiences? What purposes, apart from the obvious ones, do your deliverables fulfill? (Hint: You might have to think about this some). What were the results of your usability test? How did you revise your instructions as a result? In your own estimation, what are the most effective elements of your materials? Why do you think so? If given more time and resources, what would you have like to have done differently? How do you think that these differences would have improved your materials? If you chose to pursue a Composite (C) score, what did you do, specifically, to modify your materials beyond the minimum requirements? How did your modifications make your materials even better?