Empirical Testing Preferences

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    Personally, I do not have extensive (well, really much of any) experience empirical testing in person. The limited experience I have with empirical testing comes from my studies and from the contact I’ve had with classmates in LIS 636, as we have worked to create user-friendly websites. Throughout that experience, I have found it difficult to get timely feedback from others in my group, or to get feedback at all. The course isn’t over and the assignment isn’t complete, so I certainly do not say that to pass judgement on my peers. I’m sure we’ll get it together! I think that this difficulty serves to illustrate a negative aspect of empirical testing, however– it can be difficult to gather data, especially if your test group involves busy students, and if you are reaching out to them remotely (as opposed to face-to-face). Users may very well have more pressing matters to attend to, and it’s easy to push voluntary testing aside, and perhaps forget about it all together.

    From what I have read, and just based on my own experiences working with people, I do feel that individual testing may be better overall than focus groups. People in a group tend to be hesitant to speak out, and might just agree with whoever happens to be the most vocal. Individually, they will probably be more honest, and developers will likely get more detailed information.

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