My Experience with Usability Testing
During my time at Turner as a Digital Asset Management Specialist, or as we would call ourselves, DAM specialists. Yes, that's right - I was a DAM(n) Specialist. The team was working with a small team of developers on creating a personal in-house program for our cataloging needs. I got to experience what it was like to be a client and working with developers to create a site, which has helped me tremendously in understanding clients for myself in terms of design. We would have weekly meetings going over the necessary actions that we needed to have in order to continue our workflow; cataloging assets such as photography, designs, and the like doesn't sound like a cumbersome process but it DOES have a specific workflow that makes it successful. The team I was on, which consisted of 3 plus our manager, would catalog 7,000 assets each month, give or take... we even had to catalog 7,000 assets in about 4 days thanks to one monster of a task our Germany division laid out for us. That's ID'ing talent, keywords, descriptions, sources, and a slew of other things.
In terms of this usability testing for our new cataloging program and how I feel it benefited myself. I now have a firmer grasp on what it takes to communicate to clients more effectively, and that if you aren't listening to your clients - things go down hill fast. You have to put yourself in their shoes, it doesn't matter if they tell you how they work - you have to fully understand and imagine yourself in that position doing what they do, day in and day out. You're there to fix the clients issues and problems, while creating a fix to those issues that they can benefit from and understand. This team of developers within Turner would have benefited greatly from having a user experience designer in there with them.
Usability testing takes months, and for good reason. User experience and user interface designers are necessary. I did create some concepts for a homepage and I hope my design skills helped play a part in that; however, I was laid off before I could see it to fruition. Let's just say there was no homepage at all, and if you've ever encountered a cataloging program you know it's necessary or else things can get quite confusing. I was fortunate enough to walk away from that experience with a better understanding overall and I can't wait to take the knowledge and help clients further.