Inquiry Test Report

100 points


The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience in planning an inquiry usability test, acquiring the participants, conducting the test, analyzing the results, and preparing a report.

Your assignment is to conduct a usability test using one of the inquiry methods we have read about and discussed in class. You should select a common household appliance as the item to be tested (i.e., microwave, stereo, television, telephone, etc.). You should select an item that is technically complex enough so that it might have some usability problems, but not something that is so complex that most people would have trouble using it.

You should have at least three participants who can be family members, friends, neighbors, or online acquaintances. Some examples: you could interview several people as to how they use the item, you could send a questionnaire via email querying users about the item, you could conduct a one­hour focus group, you could go to three or four friends’ houses and observe them using the item.

This is a simple test with a common item. The purpose here is not to arrive at some startling new discovery about usability, but rather for you to learn the basics:

  • planning
  • administering
  • reporting

You should prepare specific goals for the test before you conduct it. You should also prepare a list of questions or methods you will use prior to the test. The goals and the questions/methods should be included in your final report. Prepare the report following Barnum (pp. 277 ­- 320) and our discussions in class. Your audience for the report is the manufacturer’s association for the product you used in the test. Its members are eager to get information about improving their products, but they already take some pride in those products.

Getting Started

First, make sure you can access some folks who are willing to help you test this appliance. To get a real handle on this assignment, try to get people that you don’t really know. If we really know someone, sometimes we can gain insights that we might normally miss with a test in the world


  • Inquiry Test Report


  • 7 – 10 pages


Rubric and Examples