Professional Project

Professional Project

Professional Project

HMH User Testing Process Overhaul

HMH User Testing Process Overhaul

HMH User Testing Process Overhaul

HMH User Testing Process Overhaul

HMH User Testing Process Overhaul

HMHUT_Project_Banner

Project Overview

Throughout 2017, I spearheaded an effort to overhaul our design studio's user testing process. This case study describes the project and all of its components—reworking the process, creating a documentation suite, and forming a new testing partnership.

Project Overview

Throughout 2017, I spearheaded an effort to overhaul our design studio's user testing process. This case study describes the project and all of its components—reworking the process, creating a documentation suite, and forming a new testing partnership.

My Role 
Designer, Testing Moderator, Testing Lead

Client
This is an internal project, ultimately benefitting millions of students and teachers.

My Role 
Designer, Testing Moderator, Testing Lead

Client
This is an internal project, ultimately benefitting millions of students and teachers.

About the Challenge

A user testing overhaul for an organization as large as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt requires tackling some unique challenges. At any given time, our design studio is working on nearly a dozen large projects. Redesigning how we test meant being considerate of each team's distinct schedules and the unique needs of their projects. Additionally, rolling out a new process for our global team requires a high level of organization and clear communication. This initiative focused on our in-person testing since remote testing isn't always a viable option for the types of content we design.

About the Challenge

A user testing overhaul for an organization as large as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt requires tackling some unique challenges. At any given time, our design studio is working on nearly a dozen large projects. Redesigning how we test meant being considerate of each team's distinct schedules and the unique needs of their projects. Additionally, rolling out a new process for our global team requires a high level of organization and clear communication. This initiative focused on our in-person testing since remote testing isn't always a viable option for the types of content we design.

User Testing Guide

Refining the Process

Because our projects serve very large groups of users (entire states and regions), each one operates on a unique schedule. In the past, that's led to inconsistent testing practices... but no longer! Our new User Testing Guide provides specific guidelines and best practices for our design teams. Designers can now spend less time creating testing procedures and more time designing. With a unified process, we get out of our own way and focus on well-informed design. We've also brought all face-to-face testing to one central location in Orlando, FL, to ensure scientific accuracy and a unified process.

Refining the Process

Because our projects serve very large groups of users (entire states and regions), each one operates on a unique schedule. In the past, that's led to inconsistent testing practices... but no longer! Our new User Testing Guide provides specific guidelines and best practices for our design teams. Designers can now spend less time creating testing procedures and more time designing. With a unified process, we get out of our own way and focus on well-informed design. We've also brought all face-to-face testing to one central location in Orlando, FL, to ensure scientific accuracy and a unified process.

Crafting the Documentation

It's not the most flashy part of any project, but a unified documentation suite is crucial for gaining the most from a new process. I designed a series of templated documents for our various teams to use in preparation for face-to-face testing. Once again—letting designers focus on design, rather than custom documentation. The centerpiece of this suite is the Protocol Template, which allows any of our designers to hit the ground running with a top-notch, scientifically sound testing plan. Other documents include everything from detailed notetaking logs to scientific emotion-ranking scales that measure a user's emotional state at the conclusion of a test session.

Crafting the Documentation

It's not the most flashy part of any project, but a unified documentation suite is crucial for gaining the most from a new process. I designed a series of templated documents for our various teams to use in preparation for face-to-face testing. Once again—letting designers focus on design, rather than custom documentation. The centerpiece of this suite is the Protocol Template, which allows any of our designers to hit the ground running with a top-notch, scientifically sound testing plan. Other documents include everything from detailed notetaking logs to scientific emotion-ranking scales that measure a user's emotional state at the conclusion of a test session.

Documentation Suite
Unique Partnership

Building the Partnership

Overhauling this process has meant studying our strengths and conducting an honest evaluation of our testing weaknesses. In an effort to ease us into the new process, I've helped establish a partnership with Full Sail University in Orlando. Their unique suite of tech makes quick-turnaround testing more achievable for our organization. For design teams not based in Orlando, I organize and moderate on-site user testing here in The City Beautiful.

Building the Partnership

Overhauling this process has meant studying our strengths and conducting an honest evaluation of our testing weaknesses. In an effort to ease us into the new process, I've helped establish a partnership with Full Sail University in Orlando. Their unique suite of tech makes quick-turnaround testing more achievable for our organization. For design teams not based in Orlando, I organize and moderate on-site user testing here in The City Beautiful.

This has all been done with the goal of collecting the most accurate, actionable data possible—to better inform our design and engineering priorities.

This has all been done with the goal of collecting the most accurate, actionable data possible—to better inform our design and engineering priorities.

This has all been done with the goal of collecting the most accurate, actionable data possible—to better inform our design and engineering priorities.

This has all been done with the goal of collecting the most accurate, actionable data possible—to better inform our design and engineering priorities.

This has all been done with the goal of collecting the most accurate, actionable data possible—to better inform our design and engineering priorities.

Implementing the Process

This has all been done with the goal of collecting the most accurate, actionable data possible—to better inform our design and engineering priorities. Naturally, rolling out the new process across our seven global locations is a top priority. With a variety of projects at different stages, not everyone has had the chance to benefit from the new testing process—yet. Two projects in need of testing have used it, and all future projects will benefit from it as their testing needs arise.

Implementing the Process

This has all been done with the goal of collecting the most accurate, actionable data possible—to better inform our design and engineering priorities. Naturally, rolling out the new process across our seven global locations is a top priority. With a variety of projects at different stages, not everyone has had the chance to benefit from the new testing process—yet. Two projects in need of testing have used it, and all future projects will benefit from it as their testing needs arise.

© Joseph Brueggen 2018