**UPDATE – We’re now fully booked up with testers for both days. If you’d like to be on standby, or take part in the beta test in April, please email me at email@example.com.**
**We’re now offering £20 plus tea and cake to testers, as well as bus/rail fare from within Greater Manchester (don’t worry if you already signed-up, you can still claim the £20 and tea and cake and travel). And our everlasting gratitude.**
Want to try-out Comma’s new self-publishing platform?
We’re doing some testing of the MacGuffin website and app on the 11th and 12th February, and we’d really appreciate your help.
It’s at the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Digital Labs – a dedicated user-experience test space. You’ll be asked to try a few basic tasks (like sign-up to MacGuffin, search for a story, upload a story), and describe your thought process along the way, so we can smooth out usability and navigation issues.
It’ll take about 25 minutes. We can offer £20 for your time, give you tea and cake, and reimburse local travel costs (e.g. rail or bus within Greater Manchester). It should be quite interesting*, and you’ll be helping to shape something that should be a useful tool for readers and writers.
*definitions of interesting may vary. Interestingness of participation may go down as well as up.
If you’re up for it, please have a look at the time-table below, and email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer, saying which time on which day you’d like to do.
If you can’t make it, but know someone else who might be interested, please share this with them.
If you need to know more, please read these FAQs:
Q. I want to volunteer for the test. Should I just turn up?
A. No, please have a look at the time-table, to see what slots are still waiting to be filled, then email email@example.com to book a slot.
Q. What kind of people are you looking for?
A. We’re looking for a mix of people of different ages and from different backgrounds, who have at least a passing interest in reading and/or writing fiction or poetry.
Q. I’m not very tech-y. Does that matter?
A. Not at all. In fact that’s better.
Q. Did people really ask these questions?
A. No, I just made them up. If you want to ask a real question, please do, in the comments section below.
Q. Do I have to bring a story to upload?
A. No, if testing that function, we’ll supply you with some dummy content.
Q. What happens in MMU’s Digital Lab?
A. Participants sit with either a laptop or an iPhone and try to complete a few tasks, like search for and read a story, and tell us what they’re thinking as they’re doing it (e.g. why they’re clicking on certain things).
Q. Will you be filming the user-testing, and will the film be made public?
A. We need to film the tests for the purposes of our user research, so we can study how you interact with MacGuffin, which helps us improve things like the layout of the pages, and the navigational tools. We’d also like to share some footage we capture (of the tests, and brief interviews with participants) with the project funders, and in some cases, as short clips here on the blog or on YouTube.
Q. Do I need any special skills?
A. Aside from at least a cursory interest in fiction or poetry, volunteers don’t need to have any particular expertise or tech skills to participate in the platform test (on Weds 11th). However, to participate in the iOS test (on Thurs 12th), you do need to be (or to have been) an iPhone user.
Q. Do I need to bring anything with me?
A. Just your natural sense of curiosity and sunny disposition.
Q. I booked in to do a user-test and now I can’t make it. What should I do?
A. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, so someone else can fill your slot. If it’s like, on the day or something, please phone Jim on zero 7 eight 9 one 5 eight 2 five 2 nine.
Q. Will you be doing an Android version of MacGuffin?
A. Yes we will, and we’ll need testers for that in a couple of months. If you’re interested, please email me us at email@example.com, and mention Android in the subject heading.
Q. I’d like to claim public transport travel expenses from my home to the test venue (on Oxford Road, Manchester) and back. Is that okay?
A. Sure, we’d be happy to cover that, if the travel is within the greater Manchester region. However, please email firstname.lastname@example.org beforehand to check (just in case you somehow live somewhere so expensive to travel from, it would bankrupt the project), and remember to bring the ticket receipt with you on the day.
Q. I can’t make either of these days. Will you be doing any other user testing?
A. Yes, lots! We’ll be doing ‘guerilla’ tests as we make small iterative changes to MacGuffin over the next few months, and then staging a beta test in April (we’re looking for over 100 volunteers for this). Please drop us a line at email@example.com if you’re interested in either.
Q. I’m sick of reading these questions that no one even asked. Can they stop?