In a recent blog post, the Office of Academic Innovation describes how it employed “pop-up” usability testing as a valuable means to collect student feedback for making improvements to the course page layout of its data visualization tool, Academic Reporting Tools 2.0. Unlike traditional forms of usability testing—such as one-on-one interviews, focus groups, etc.—“pop-up” tests are free from the constraints of small, enclosed meeting spaces and a traditional Q&A format. Instead, these tests allow researchers to interact with users during their daily routine to encourage more interaction between participants and interviewers.
“Through these tests we realized the activities used to gather feedback are not confined by rigorous interviews,” writes Ning Wang, an innovation advocacy fellow who helped design and conduct the user testing. “Due to the flexibility of the environment in these “pop-up” tests, we can actually have participants transition their roles from passive to active participants whose responses and reactions can even change the direction of the activity.”