This semester, Skilltype was invited to participate as the ‘customer’ within a project-based course at Simmons University’s School of Information. Guided by professor Rong Tang, Ph.D., two teams of students enrolled in “Usability and User Experience Research (LIS 455)” reviewed user research methodologies, designed and executed two usability studies, completed heuristic reviews of the Skilltype platform and synthesized their results into a final written and oral report.
The usability studies conducted by the two student teams (Learners Supreme and Managers Magnificent) focused on scenarios such as library professionals visiting Skilltype to access training content and library leaders seeking Skilltype talent data to plan staff development. Each team recruited a pool of testing participants, completed a pre-test and conducted synchronous online usability testing within Lookback.io (an online testing environment). The student teams measured time for each task scenario, rates of completion and recorded participants’ observations and response to ‘think aloud’ prompts during each test session.
The students work uncovered key insights about users’ first impressions of Skilltype as well as their mental models, expectations and experience with talent software. Key findings from the student’s work will be incorporated into Skilltype’s product roadmap for further software development. For example, the findings from the Learners Supreme team identified areas where Skilltype’s curated metadata and tags can be better displayed to provide more context for discovery of training content. Findings from the Managers Magnificent team highlighted areas where navigation may be improved on the platform.
On a personal note, returning to the classroom at Simmons University School of Information to observe the students’ final presentations was a pleasure and a privilege as an alumna of Simmons (MLIS, GSLIS 2003). While there were no courses for Product or Project Management when I was a student, I learned many fundamentals about managing people and the flow of work or data in a knowledge organization. It was gratifying to see that interdisciplinary courses like LIS 455 now exist to provide students with valuable opportunities to practice their domain knowledge in a real-life setting. Thank you to Professor Tang, the students of LIS 455 and the 10 volunteer test participants.