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Paper on Usability Testing of iTunes

Added on -2019-09-18

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ContentsIntroduction...........................................................................................................................................1Aim........................................................................................................................................................1About the report...................................................................................................................................1Limitations.........................................................................................................................................1Experimental Design..............................................................................................................................2Participants............................................................................................................................................2Tasks......................................................................................................................................................2Prioritization of Issues...........................................................................................................................2Summary of overall findings..................................................................................................................2Performance Data.................................................................................................................................2Usability Issues......................................................................................................................................2Recommendations.................................................................................................................................2Evaluation Discussion............................................................................................................................2IntroductionITunes is among the most popular music players, media management and digital content e-tailing platform in the world today. It has been on a steady rise since its inception nearly a decade ago. The rise in popularity was mainly attributed to the fact that it was a simple and intuitive player offering features and benefits that surpassed its competitors. However, over the years it has grown into a mature platform offering many different features and solutions which it may not have been originally designed or thought for. As a result, it has become bundled with several functionalities andperforms several additional tasks than it used to do earlier. While the interface has grown revamps and overhauls several times since its inception, many people find iTunes today a lot more difficult to handle than they used to. The paper will present a usability testing of iTunes with a pre-defined set of users and would also present a summary and analysis thereafter.AimThe main aim of this usability testing is to assess the usability of iTunes from the perspective of general users performing typical tasks. At the end of this test, a conclusion can be drawn to the degree of usability of iTunes and what are the recommended solutions for the overall usability problems reported.About the reportLimitationsThis study is exploratory and qualitative in nature, and thus the objective is not to obtain findings that are generalizable to a larger population. Our goal is not to compare and rank systems based on the user data. Rather, we seek to obtain deeper insights into how users evaluate their experience. We expect that this will contribute toward building a user experience evaluation framework that may be used for future evaluation studies involving a larger population. In addition, we note that the
participants in this study were all students in Information Studies. On the surface it would appear that the results may be biased towards “savvy users” given the knowledge and perceived expertise of users in this study. However, many of the patterns that appeared from interviews in fact indicatedthat satisfaction with usability heuristics correlates more with persona types than with expertise of the system. Experimental DesignDifferent participants - single group of participants is allocated randomly to the experimental conditions. We chose this method of measuring usability it seemed sensible to observe users and determine where the major interface interaction issues were occurring. We did not perform a heuristic evaluation because we wanted solid evidence of usability problems.ParticipantsConsiderationsThe preferred age group would be from the young adults to those in their near thirties. It is quite likely that the actual audience varies much more, but this age distribution was assumed to be potentially the most interesting one to take the new delivery mechanism into use. The gender of the audience was not considered to be a factor. The visually impaired were not accommodated in the design to any great extent either.SelectionAudience selection was done entirely on Facebook groups in a randomized manner. The total count was 5. The gender distribution was nearly even. Also each of the participants were asked to have some working knowledge about the iTunes environment. In the end, all of the participants stated they had used iTunes. The participants were not technologically oriented with a few exceptions. Twoout of the five had considerable technical background whereas the remaining six were not as fluent with digital devices. The age distribution was narrow and averaged at 30 years. The youngest of the participants was 24 years old while the oldest had turned 32. The exact ages of each individual user are found __. Over the course of one week, these five people participated in user tests. Of the five, two were novice iTunes users with 10 or fewer songs in their iTunes library and two were advanced iTunes users with 1,000 – 10,000 songs in their iTunes library. The final user was an intermediate iTunes user also with 1,000 – 10,000 songs in their iTunes library. Four of the five participants also used Windows as their primary computing platform. Interestingly, the five participants ranged widely in the length of time they had been using iTunes – from novice users with only zero to five months of experience to an advanced user with more than twenty four months of experience.Test ProcessTeamviewerEstimated and Actual DurationLatest versionDuring weekendsNotes were taken Users were asked for feedback
The role of the observer was to take notes (with pen and paper) about the responses and reactions of the test person as well as to get first hand experiences how the users felt about the software. No audio-visual recordings were taken during the interviews, again to make the situation more comfortable to the test users.After following through the task assignments with both applications, the users were asked to fill in a questionnaire and evaluate their experiences. Also, an informal discussion was held about the experience.TasksUsability MetricsSuccess Rate In a given scenario, was the user able to complete the assigned task.Error Rate Which errors tripped up users most? These can be divided into two types: critical and noncritical. Critical errors will prevent a user from completing a task, while noncritical errors will simply lower the efficiency with which they complete it. Time to Completion How much time did it take the user to complete the task? This can be particularly useful when determining how your product compares with your competitors (if you’re testing both).Prioritization of Issues0 Superficial usability problem: may be easily overcome by user or occurs extremely infrequently. Does not need to be fixed for next release unless extra time is available. 1 Minor usability problem: may occur more frequently or be more difficult to overcome. Fixing this should be given low priority for next release. 2 Major usability problem: occurs frequently and persistently or users may be unable or unaware of how to fix the problem. Important to fix, so should be given high priority. 3 Usability catastrophe: Seriously impairs use of product and cannot be overcome by users. Imperative to fix this before product can be released.Summary of overall findingsWhile Apple’s iTunes digital music application is usually commented on having a simple interface andconsidered easy to use, a series of user tests covering the functionalities of importing music, creatingplay lists, and burning CDs revealed a number of specific usability problems. The user test tasks werebased on the findings from the previous heuristic evaluation and user survey. Problem areas identified by applying heuristics were then further tested with real users. These specific usability problems were clustered into nine general problem areas and ranked according to severity and the ease with which they could be fixed. They are addressed in detail in this report, providing information about the general problem, some specific examples, and a high-level recommendation for solving the problem.

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