Chapter 8. Prepare Test Materials

One of the more labor-intensive activities required to conduct a usability test is developing the test materials that will be used to communicate with the participants, collect the data, and satisfy legal requirements. It is important to develop all required test materials well in advance of the time you need them. Apart from the obvious benefit of not having to scurry around at the last minute, developing materials early on helps to explicitly structure and organize the test. In fact, if you have difficulty developing one particular type of test material, this can be a sign that there are flaws in your test objectives and test design.

While the specific content of the materials will vary from test to test, the general categories required will hardly vary at all. This chapter contains a list of the most common materials you need to develop a test, as well as examples of the various types of test materials. As you develop them, think of these materials as aids to the testing process. Once they are developed, their natural flow will guide the test for you. Be sure to leave enough time to include the materials in your pilot test. The test materials reviewed in this chapter are as follows:

  • Orientation script

  • Background questionnaire

  • Data collection instruments

  • Nondisclosure agreement and recording consent form

  • Pre-test questionnaire

  • Task scenarios

  • Post-test questionnaire

  • Debriefing topics guide

All the parts can be rolled up into what we sometimes call a session ...

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