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Accidentally testing oneself - My Little Journal of Positivity

About Accidentally testing oneself

Previous Entry Accidentally testing oneself Jul. 9th, 2010 @ 10:13 am Next Entry
You may or may not know that I work in user experience.

This was my off half hour this morning.
This morning, I usability tested myself,
among several other things...


  1. Get on bus [normally 10-15 minute ride].
  2. How about a quick email check on mobile phone?
    [Motorola CLIQ:Android, 2 weeks and still shiny]
  3. Open [in GMail] a promotional email from a
    certain major book/etc. retailer touting their eReader!
  4. Specifically touting "Got a BN eReader? Get a Free Coffee!"
  5. Don't drink coffee, but do like the idea of a BN eReader.
    Am trying out 2 different ebook apps already, sure, add a third...
  6. Text in email that says "Download eReader" is bold and
    differently colored. Try clicking that to download. Success?
  7. Fail. Does not download eReader(or do anything else).
  8. Irritated and pressed for time, so missed seeing smaller
    link farther down page -- after some more promo text -- which says
    "Download it now". It? What's an 'it'? I'm skimming for 'eReader'.
    Fail.
  9. Also ignore link at top saying "Hurry! Offer Ends July 15.
    Coffee's On the House - When You Show the eBook You're Reading*"
    not expecting it to do anything other than blather on more about
    the promotion, how wonderful coffee is, how wonderful ebooks are,
    etc. Because I don't care about the coffee, dammit, and I'm not
    reading an eBook yet because I don't have your eReader yet. Fail.
  10. Use a link in email to go to major book/etc. retailer
    website home page.
  11. Search for 'eReader'.
  12. Search results don't bring up eReader in 4 results,
    but do have link to "Download eReader" in footer. Success?
  13. Fail. Link says "page not found".
  14. To add insult to injury, it suggests I use search.
  15. Impatient [bus has turned onto Columbia Pike] I go to
    Google and search 'barnes noble ereader'. [I used to be a
    librarian, kids, don't try this at home.] Link to [correct]
    page shows up 2nd or 3rd.
  16. Go [back] to BN via Google. Find "Download eReader."
    Success?
  17. Fail. Link wants to send me to iTunes to download. WTF?
    If I wanted iTunes on my smartdevice I woulda bought an iPhone.
  18. [Whole rant re: years of me vs. iTunes deleted for time.]
  19. Bus is now on Hayes St. I have about 3 more minutes of
    Internet connection before going into heavy shielding [aka the
    DC Metro]. Back to Google and search just 'eReader'... looking
    for reviews, maybe, to see if this thing is even worth my time.
  20. See a result for ereader.com. Ooh! Go there. Success?
  21. Maybe! Top banner even says "a Barnes & Noble Company"
    and in left nav there is a top link for "FREE eReader Software
    ▪ Download Now!" Click on that.
  22. Ooh! Nice listing of phones and Android is right there!
    Click on "Android", hoping it doesn't route me back to iTunes...
  23. Adds "eReader for Android" choices at bottom. Extra step,
    but I sure feel I'm on the right path now... click on that as
    bus turns into Pentagon.
  24. Android applications manager tells me I'm default set
    NOT to install apps that are NOT from the official Android store.
    Oops. I know how to fix that, though. Quick detour through Settings
    and I'm downloading and installing eReader.
  25. Launch eReader. Hmm, no obvious BN branding? Sure hope
    I have the right app... can't worry about that for the next 5
    minutes as I transfer modes of transportation and lose Internet.
  26. Temporary reconnection as subway crosses above river.
    List of ebooks available. Choice for Categories or "View ebooks
    by Author". [I used to be a *cataloging* librarian, kids, so I
    know how erratic categorizing fiction can be.] Authors! Ooh!
  27. Nooooo! Search and browse design unthinking! Gives me
    a list for 'A' authors, with choices at top for the other letters
    of the alphabet. However, it also alphabetizes the middle initial
    A. as the start of a last name.
  28. And, it displays results as 'first name last name'.
  29. And, should you scroll down to 'Mariano Azuela ' at
    bottom of 'A' list, no way to get to 'B' list without scrolling
    back up to top of page, which is a royal pain on mobile devices
    where the screen is long and thin.
  30. Back underground and on to work, via a maze of twisty
    corridors that all look alike...


Some people debate the 'validity' of usability testing because
it's generally set up to do specific scenarios in a limited
time session with supposedly artificial testing stress added.

I'm now wondering if my usability tests are too nice...
Leave a comment
From:technoshaman
Date:July 9th, 2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Your tests are fine. Usability? FAIL.

Be good to yourself.
[User Picture Icon]
From:vvalkyri
Date:July 9th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Good gracious, how annoying!
[User Picture Icon]
From:gorgeousgary
Date:July 9th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Just curious, what are the other two ebook apps?

Also, guess I shouldn't try and download eReader for my 'Droid unless I'm at home with time to kill...
[User Picture Icon]
From:netpositive
Date:July 10th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Laputa and Aldiko are what I'm trying out at present, free from Android Market.

I haven't really compared them side-by-side yet as far as their features go. Quick opinions include:

(1) While reading: Aldiko scrolls its pages side-to-side like a microfilm reader, where Laputa has a cool "flip" animation as the default or the option to scroll top-to-bottom. Advantage: Laputa flip.

(2) Brightness/contrast: for reading, Laputa uses whatever you have set for screen brightness in the Settings, where Aldiko is set to "Bright Light! Bright Light!" (Both also have a reverse contrast option of going to white-on-black. Might try that at night.) Advantage: Laputa for using Settings rather than imposing its will.

(3) Back catalog: They have a lot of the same (mostly free/OOP) titles available -- but they use separate folders (and maybe formats) for storage, so you'll probably want to pick one fairly quickly before you start filling up in earnest. :) Advantage: Laputa currently has a slight edge with me because somehow it's got access to Zelazny's Amber series. "Carl Corey" has just broken out of the hospital and gone to see his sister Flora. :)


And in one of those great ironies, in looking at the BN web site on my laptop today I find out that the BN eReader for Android actually isn't *available* yet. At least from BN. But you sure couldn't tell that from the original ad! *rolls eyes*

To download eReader ("a Barnes and Noble company") directly: http://www.ereader.com/ereader/software/browse.htm
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