Detailing the ins and outs of a super-computer monitoring tool and learning more about the users who need it.

Background

  • In late 2010, I was hired on to a small team of researchers from the University of Michigan School of Information to perform usability studies on a highly domain-specific web application for measuring use across the Teragrid super-computer network.
  • Funded by the National Science Foundtation, the product, XDMoD (eXtreme Digital Metrics On Demand), working with developers in Buffallo and other remote sites, my team met each week to review site changes and give recommendations on how to provide the best user interface.
  • A thorough heuristic evaluation was performed on the XDMoD system, analyzing the user expereince based on Jakob Neilsen’s ten heuristics for effective web design. In addition, our team laid the foundation of user testing with an extensive usability testing script, pre and post questionaires, tasks, logging materials, and an overview of the overall testing process to stakeholders

Heuristic Evaluation

  • A thorough heuristic evaluation was performed on the XDMoD system, analyzing the user expereince based on Jakob Neilsen’s ten heuristics for effective web design.
  • After performing individual passed through application screens and performing a variety of tasks inside the system as individuals, researchers sat down to find where problems overlapped, develop synthesized findings, and translate that into useful recommendations for developers and stake holders.
  • These were presented in a cohesive report and presentation to cross-functional teams and stakeholders

Usability Testing

  • To further find points of pain and delight for users, usability testing was arranged to bring in potential users of XDMoD
  • Our team laid the foundation of user testing with an extensive usability testing script, pre and post questionaires, tasks, logging materials, and an overview of the overall testing process to stakeholders