..without me telling you what I want to know. One of the challenges in testing the comment structures we have been designing and developing is getting valuable and unbiased feedback from our test panel. Since we are not in Cedar Rapids and cannot conduct the tests in person, we have been using CoPilot, a program that allows us to see the desktop of the person using our demo. It is helpful to be able to see how the tester is interacting with our site and to see any glitches that arise for them. It is not perfect, but it is better than being blind to what the tester is experiencing.
We have been arranging times to chat with the people from our test panel and observe how they use the site. Once they have poked around, we ask them questions about their experience. We have improved our technique since the first week of testing, but it is still tricky to ask questions that are not leading. We do have specific questions we want answered, but we would are also looking for ideas that we may not have considered during design or development – we want them to tell us whatever comes to their mind while using the site. We have gotten some good feedbackand have been incorporating suggestions into the revised versions of our demos.
Another lesson we have learned is that it is best to somehow indicate to the test panel that we (the people on the phone with them) did not develop the site they are testing. We don’t want them to hold back on telling us things they don’t like or to be reluctant to give us their honest opinion. As much as we appreciate positive feedback, it is really helpful to know what they don’t like or understand so we can try to make it better while we still have time.