A shared-reading iPad application developed in partnership with McGill University Child Phonology Lab that uses animations and interactivity to encourage a participative reading experience engaging both the parent and the child.
As the application was designed to be used by a parent and child at the same time during the calm bonding moment of story-time the usability study protocol and lab setup needed to be adjusted to take that into account.
To help the parent and child recreate the calm and bonding experience of story-time in the context of a meeting room, I decided to try and limit the presence of observers in the room as well as create an environment conducive to relaxation in the lab.
To achieve this, I decided to structure the user research session a bit differently than we usually would:
- The meeting room we used as a lab was reconfigured to offer multiple comfortable seating options as well as a possiblity to dim the lights to create a cozy moment.
- Each session started with a serie of simple explanations of the application, of gathering consent and making sure that the parent and child had snacks and drinks.
- I then started the recording and left the parent and child alone in the room to go through the application and the short story that was available.
- Only once the story was done I would come back in the room and gather the child and parent feedback on the experience by using pointed questions toward specific parts of the application.
Thanks to this approach we were able to gather detailled informations on the overall usability of the application and discover potential issues that did not surface in the standard user reviews.
This approach also allowed me to demonstrate that even if the data is less complete and structured, having a usablity test that mimick as much as possible the conditions of usage will bring important insights and illustrate avenues for improvement.