I have noticed that there is a wealth of literature online on how to conduct a Usability Study, but I have yet to find anything to demonstrate how to analyze the data collected from a study. Therefore, I thought I’d share a technique that works well for me. I call it “Rainbow Banding”.
1. Prepare your testing protocol with spaces for participant feedback
Create a protocol template with numbered tasks and questions. Ensure there is adequate space between each to record relevant answers and observations.
2. Record the observations
Record the observations from each participant in a fresh copy of this document. If changes to the protocol, ordering, or wording need to be made, ensure you make them as early in the testing process as possible.
3. Combine your observations
Once you have recorded observations from all of your participants, combine your results in a blank copy of your testing protocol.
Create a section above labelled “Participants” and assign each participant both a unique number and colour. Start by recording the observations from each participant under the appropriate numbered heading (shown below). Use the colour associated with that participant to record the observation. If a second participant demonstrates the same behaviour or expresses the same sentiment, add a +1 to that observation in the second participant’s colour (this will make analysis easier later-on).
Once you have combined the results from 3 participants, review this list of combined observations and add subheadings to further combine and categorize the findings and observations. Do this every few participants to make it easier to tally and analyze the results later-on.
In the example above both ‘Dave’ and ‘Holly’ demonstrated the same sentiment under 2) subheading Recent Posts. +1 was added to the sentiment in each participant’s colour. You will notice that this helps reduce visual clutter and makes analysis easier at the end. You will also notice that the subheadings Readability and Navigation were added below 4). Categorizing the feedback as you go along helps chunk the data and will make analysis easier at the end.
4) Tally the Results
Once you have combined the observations from all participants, you can now easily analyze the results adding up similar sentiments, and categorizing findings into a report.
Please write me and let me know if this technique worked for you, if you have a similar technique, or if you found it worked poorly.