A usability test conducted on the University of Washington’s HuskyJobs, a search engine that helps companies hire and students get hired.

September 2016 – December 2016 | Usability Research Techniques (HCDE 417)

In a team of four, I analyzed the usability of HuskyJobs’ website and conducted five usability tests. I used heuristic evaluation to develop participant criteria, tasks, scenarios, and test design. I conducted affinity analysis and wrote a report to communicate findings and recommendations. Read the final report.

Heuristic Evaluation

To better understand HuskyJobs and its usability experience, I conducted a heuristic evaluation based on Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics. By first defining the users and their goals, I was able to further define the tasks potential users might attempt. I then performed the identified tasks through the lens of the user. I identified problems based on our set of heuristics, and specified where in the interface the problem was, how severe it was, and possible design fixes. View my raw heuristic evaluation data.


Study Design

After analyzing the audience and creating participant criteria, I used our heuristic evaluation to drive the selection of four tasks that the participants would complete. For each task, I created a scenario that would be read to the participant.

Task 1: Logging in
Scenario 1: “You’re currently a junior in the Computer Science department. Spring quarter is coming to a close and you’re interested in finding an internship for the summer. Use HuskyJobs to find a software development internship at the D.E. Shaw Group.”

Task 2: Uploading documents
Scenario 2: “You’ve found a job that you are interested in. Upload your resume and cover letter so you can submit them to an employer.”

Task 3: Finding help
Scenario 3: “You’ve uploaded your resume and you’re wondering if any employers have viewed it. Find some information on HuskyJobs that will answer this question.”

Task 4: RSVP’ing to infosessions
Scenario 4: “You’ve heard your friends talking about a company, Washington Society of CPAS, and you want to learn more about it. Find an event that will connect you to this company and sign up for it.”

After developing tasks and scenarios, I wrote a script that would walk each participant through the test, as well as ensure consistency across all participants. I secured several locations for testing that would provide quiet and isolated test environments, and conducted a pilot test to identify any problems I may have overlooked.

To recruit participants that met the inclusion criteria, I created a screening survey, included a $10 Starbucks gift card incentive, and posted the survey on my Facebook page. Because many of my Facebook friends met the inclusion criteria (current UW students that have never applied to a job through HuskyJobs), I felt this was a reliable recruiting method. Each of my team members did the same, to broaden our audience.

Test Sessions

I conducted five usability test sessions. For two of these test sessions, I was a facilitator. As facilitator, I greeted the participant and helped them to their seat. I read them the script and answered any questions. I did everything I could to ensure the participant felt comfortable and understood what they were being asked to do.

For three test sessions, I was a note taker. I took notes on the participants’ think-aloud statements, as well as what I noticed as the participant completed each task.

Analysis & Results

After each test session, the team debriefed and carefully organized participant-specific notes for later reference. Once all test sessions were complete, I conducted affinity analysis on all participant data. I analyzed data by task, locating similarities across participants. After identifying a core set of results, I assigned a level of severity and scope to each finding, and suggested several recommendations.


With detailed findings and recommendations completed, we worked together to create a final report outlining the entire usability study. Read the final report.