MS teams: usability review and analysis

Experts conducted a Usability Review following a user test on three potential users corresponding to the target. The usability review considers the responses from users on how they feel, perceive, and achieve their goals on tasks. The usability review takes account of the different factors to establish an analysis: 7 usability attributes, 10 Heuristics, 20 UX laws, and the expert’s experience.

Before analysis results:

In this user test, the three users have to perform these specific tasks:

  • Share meeting details to invite a person who’s not a part of the current meeting
  • Add a person named “Austin Brandon” to the call
  • Take some notes during the meeting which would be 50 characters long.
  • Share a particular screen along with the computer audio.
  • Stop sharing your screen after you’ve shared your screen.
  • Send a personal message to one of the participants of the video call.

The aim will be to obtain an analysis using the Seven usability attributes:

  • Effectiveness: Can the user accomplish specific tasks through this system? (ISO 9241-11)
  • Efficiency: How does the product help the user to perform tasks with the least amount of resources? (ISO 9241-11)
  • Safety: How does the system avoid undesirable situations so that the user feels safe?
  • Utility: Does the product provide the right functionality to accomplish tasks easily?
  • Learnability: Can the user learn the system as quickly as possible and without too much effort?
  • Memorability: How easily can the user remember how to use a product?
  • Satisfaction: Is the individual satisfied by using this product? (ISO 9241-11)

Analysis of the results:

Effectiveness: The user can perform the most basic tasks during the meetings. But we can notice that the user can make several mistakes by clicking on the wrong options, resulting in breaking some UX laws.

Efficiency: Users can complete tasks in no more than 15 to 20 seconds. But at some points, some tasks are not easy to perform for those who have not used the platform not often, so teams made some changes to the interface, but this did not make it easy for experienced users to get used to.

Safety: The user makes many errors while navigating the system, most of which are due to language design discrepancies, high latency during interactions with the system, as well as some transgressions of UX laws (Fitt’s Law, Jacob’s Law, Miller’s Law)

Utility: The necessary tasks are feasible, but the problems lie in the time and effort to do them.

Learnability: It is sometimes difficult for a novice user to get to grips with the system, which differs from other virtual discussion software. But the various possibilities are more than enough for the user to learn, so he can learn the most basic uses with some latency, due to additional features that add layers of complexity.

Memorability: Once learned the system, it is difficult to forget the navigating process of the system and not make the same mistakes again. The system has a uniform language design that allows for a better mental representation of the system and easy navigation. The system has tips to make it easier to navigate. Error messages are clearer, and automatic suggestions allow us to overcome them.

Satisfaction: The tool at hand is an alternative means for professionals and academics in that it can satisfy the continuity of work through video-conferencing, instant chats, and file exchange. But some learnability and safety details need to be fine-tuned to improve the satisfaction of the user, so to guarantee this satisfaction, the user has to build a mental model of this system to improve the ease of use.

Conclusion

As a whole, MS teams meet the essential needs of the user. Let’s remember that students and professionals had to be equipped with technological means to pursue their activities. The software developed by Microsoft answers the call by proposing functionalities satisfying major active users. Before taking this satisfaction into account, the idea of using this software came in spite due to the pandemic, the majority of novice users were apprehensive about this new system which was unusual compared to other videoconferencing software. This apprehension is mainly due to the vast possibilities in terms of content and functionalities that push the novice user to a necessary learning curve. We have noticed in this analysis that the user can learn the basic functionalities of the software and thus have a mental model of the system. However, we notice errors mainly due to a high latency during interactions and a transgression of the UX laws, which nevertheless allowed Microsoft to make some modifications. Finally, the learning curve will always lie in the time and effort required to remember the system.

However, the software has advanced features that are still not explored yet which are necessary among the basic features we presented previously. For example, the automatic access to other software for productivity or other purposes.

After having dissected the analysis of this software in more detail. I would like to set up a survey at the institute of design and communication to get an overall impression of the software and carry out some user testing with experienced and novice users and compare the results.

Sources:

https://uxplanet.org/usability-review-analysis-microsoft-teams-e91ff3d9cdc9

https://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/heuristic-evaluation.html

https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/the-7-factors-that-influence-user-experience

https://lawsofux.com/

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