The Story/Test/Story Method: A Combined Approach to Usability Testing and Contextual Inquiry

The Computers and Composition logo, published to "Mapping Personas: Designing UX Relationships for an Online Coastal Atlas" and "The Story/Test/Story Method: A Combined Approach to Usability Testing and Contextual Inquiry"

My newest article, “The story/test/story method: A combined approach to usability testing and contextual inquiry” is currently available in Computers and Composition. In the article, I introduce a new method that represents a combined approach to usability testing and contextual inquiry that can be used in the classroom and beyond.

Why Do We Need an Approach that Combines Usability Testing and Contextual Inquiry?

All UX projects, whether conducted in the classroom or elsewhere, have constraints, with notable ones being time and money. The Story/Test/Story Method follows a paradigm shift in UX research methods that have shifted toward Leaner and Agile approaches. UX designers need to do more with less and need flexible methods that can be adapted to a variety of situations while still accounting for both the usability of a product or service and its context of use. Teachers who want to teach UX in a classroom setting experience even more constraints.

What Does the Story/Test/Story Method Look Like?

Essentially, the Story/Test/Story Method employs three main components:

  • Story – The Preparation and Intake: Tasks are designed for usability tests that seem appropriate to the users being tested and the application being critiqued. Users are segmented into groups, recruited, and interviewed in a semi-structured manner to generate an initial feel for their context of use.
  • Test – Assessing Usability: Users are asked to complete a usability test in which they attempt tasks developed in phase one and their reactions to these tasks are carefully observed and recorded.
  • Story – Assessing the Probability of Future Outcomes: Users are asked to reflect on their experiences in the usability test and to articulate their wants and needs for future versions of the application they’ve spent time with.

Get the Full Article

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2020.102548 (permanent) (subscription required)

Cite The Article (APA)

Getto, G. (2020). The story/test/story method: A combined approach to usability testing and contextual inquiry. Computers and Composition, 55, 1-13.