Quasi-Usability Essay Peer Review Group 2

This is where Peer Review Group 2 will share your links to your short essays about your experiences with the quasi-usability testing of the English department web site. Just post a link to the page on your wordpress site to share with others here.

Group 2 is Andrew D., Samantha W., Marianne M., Zoe F.

16 Responses to Quasi-Usability Essay Peer Review Group 2

    • swilso93 says:

      Good easy overall. There were a few things I would go back over though.
      “After working through this quasi-usability test with the English Department website, while reading Krug and Reddish, I able to form an understanding about how websites work effectively.” You missed a word between ‘I’ and ‘able.’ You are also missing indents for your paragraphs.
      I agreed with your opinions on the English Department website. There is a ton of text to go through to find your information. I also think the website should include what possible careers would go with each program. That would be very helpful. But they probably think seeing a counselor would answer those types of questions. I also agree that the site is really boring. They should try to update it with more images with people learning from the program.
      I would agree with you it was more of a essay reflection of your personal opinions. I would connect more to the texts and focus on the test itself more than your personal opinions on the webpage.

    • Marianne says:

      Hi, Andrew. Here’s what I got from your essay, which was really good overall.
      (Apologies in advance, Andrew. I’m in WRTG328 Style & Technology right now and we are studying “The Elements of Style” and “Style: Toward Clarity & Grace” so my brain is swimming in clarity, cohesion, conciseness, and all that jazz.)
      P(Paragraph) 1, second to last sentence: insert “to” after “time” so it says “time to look.”
      Last sentence: It seems like the “as an option” is in the wrong place. Maybe put it after “around” so it makes a little better sense.

      P2, 1st sentence: change “did some research” to “researched” for conciseness and possibly add “Written Communication Program” to Eastern so we know what exactly at Eastern you are talking about.
      3rd sentence: take out either “might” or “would” and also take out “it was” after “what, or rephrase the sentence–it’s a little awkward. Were you trying to gain what you were looking for or trying to achieve your goal of something?
      Last sentence: Remove “with which” and use different word for “tacit” (means expressed or understood without being directly stated). I think you mean “peripheral” or “general”.

      P3, First sentence: Rephrase–it is a bit hard to follow and I don’t really understand it. Don’t forget to give full title and author info when you first mention the books. Maybe explain your goal before going into the website evaluation opinions.
      Last sentence: Change “supposed” to “suppose”.

      P4, first sentence: I’d rearrange the para. and put the last sentence first. Rephrase “very large amount” (maybe significant?) The original first sentence is a bit unclear. Maybe rephrase to say you had starting reading Redish’s book on writing web content b4 doing this test and combine with with the next sentence??
      2nd sentence: change “so understood” to “and understood” and remove “that”.

      P5: sounds like an afterthought. Possibly rephrase to say how your participation in this testing was shaped by your prior knowledge and familiarity with the site you were evaluating.

      P6, 1st sentence: remove comma after “instructor” and change “when” to “while” for clarity.
      2nd sentence: Flip sentence so end is at beginning so it is active.
      4th S: Who is the average user? Maybe bring it up from the next paragraph).
      7th S: What situations? prior knowledge or site and design knowledge? List them so it’s clear to reader.
      8th S: Change “.” after beneficial to “:” since you then go into the quote. in the page cite, add Krug (Krug 42)
      Last sentence: types of “users”; change “this will determine” to something like “that information will affect” so that it is clear what “this” is and it is clearer.

      P7: Doesn’t this paragraph make you one of the target audience you mentioned above? And we are all the target audience for the site, not the test.

      P8, 1st S: “What stood out for me the most” is a bit wordy and unclear. Do you mean the most noticeable problem?
      2nd S: some of the depts. (What depts?) Remove “that” before “the info” (unnecessary) and change “that was present” to “presented” for conciseness.
      3rd S: I think you need to put “usually” before “not” so it’s clearer.

      P9, 1st sentence: “sure if it” and “length of the”. Both of these scenarios sound the same to me. Check to see if you can rephrase so it’s clearer what you mean.
      2nd S: “understanding of the types” and “information relevant” or “that would be relevant”.
      3rd S: for clarity and conciseness, change “What I was looking for was” to “I was interested in finding out how”… Then the next sentences should all be past tense like the previous ones.

      P10, 1st Sentence: Who do you know? What tells you that? Do you mean actually listing personas on the site? Explain further.
      2nd S: You weren’t offered any access so I think you mean “If I had been offered access ….scenarios applicable to….getting my questions answered.”

      P11: Give full meaning of acronym before using it the first time(WCM). I had to think about what it meant. at the end, put a “;” before “maybe” instead of a “.” and put a comma after “different” since these two complete sentences work together.
      Flip the last sentence for clarity. Active/passive ????

      P12, 2nd Sentence: Break the long sentence down. Put a “.” after “students.” Change “was a way to gain” to “were opportunities for funding and gaining experience” and “with a greater incentive” for clarity.
      3rd S: Change start to “Doing this” or “I understand doing this” and change “amount” to “number” for clarity.
      Last S: possibly change “still” to “However”????
      (You may want to mention in this para the comments of your classmates on this topic and that was one of the things he said he wanted to see in our papers.)

      P13, (I love this paragraph, by the way.)
      1st Sentence: For some reason I don’t like the word “lastly” but I don’t know why. Is it really a word? IDK, maybe change it to “finally” or “the final thing I note when doing this UX text” or some such thing.
      I’d put semicolons between the small middle sentences instead of periods. They are all related.
      6th S: rather bulky sentence; possibly change to something like “the lack of images makes it…” for clarity and brevity.
      7th S to end: add “that” (“and that they are”) to the list; revise middle of sentence for conciseness (“they are learning to create materials beneficial to their search” or something like that.)
      Last sentence: I LOVE this sentence. Possibly add “website” to the end????

      Last paragraph: You with a cynical world view? Nah!
      The instructions said to draw on the strengths and weaknesses of the site. Was there one thing you liked about it? Other things you can mention in closing are maybe how long it took you to do the testing, if you were able to find all the things the test asked you to, maybe what you’d do differently if you designed the site? That’s about all I can think of.

    • ZoeBelle says:


      At first I was unsure about your opening paragraph – but the more I read, the more I liked how you decided to begin your essay! I would go back through and reread your essay to fix some basic grammatical errors. Some of your sentences come off very confusing. For example, in your intro you said, “I remember trying various different paths through the English Department website while searching for what it might would require to gain what it was I was looking for.” This is pretty confusing and there are a couple of different sentences throughout your essay like this, too. A thorough re-read would help fix this. I think overall you focused too much on your personal opinions of the website and missed the point of the essay overall. You should go back and make more mention of the survey we all took, the readings by Krug and Reddish, and how the usability testing varied from each scenario and from the view point of different people.

    • swilso93 says:

      I really enjoyed your insights. You had a few spelling mistakes, like “sight” instead of “site.” And you are missing indents to your paragraphs. I did some of the same things you did, such as the second scenario. I couldn’t find what I needed on the English Department webpage. I typed “General Education,” in the search engine and found what I needed. The site doesn’t make it easy to find everything you need in one place; you have to search around. I would say that your reflection was a little bland and generic. I would try to spice it up a bit.

    • andrew says:


      Paragraph(P)1- I agree that more testing should be done on this website.

      P2- “number one most important” redundant.

      Could the design be an important aspect of accessibility? Is ease of navigation the only thing the website should accomplish? What about arguing for the important of the department?

      P3- Why do you think the scenarios came easily?

      P4- “used the search”

      “This was one of the tough parts of being the tester in the usability test, I was trying to put myself in the shoes of a student who was new to finding this kind of information.” Run-on

      What is the difference between English and Written Communications? Did you find this in the website?

      P4- Perhaps reference the scenarios in these paragraphs for clarity.

      “Perhaps the “real” me (as opposed to the me that was acting as this student for scenario two)” I would like to hear more about this distinction.

      What did relying on the search function say about the web design?

      P5- “As a senior undergraduate student now who has been navigating many university websites for information about their graduate programs, I’ve found that it gets confusing about what is meant for just undergraduate students and what is meant for graduate students.” I am a little unclear about this sentence.

      Were these scholarships applicable to you? How do you know?

      P6- What do you mean by success?

    • Marianne says:

      Hi, Zoe. Here’s what I got from your essay, which was good overall and easy to read. (Apologies in advance. I’m in WRTG328 Style & Technology right now and we are studying “The Elements of Style” and “Style: Toward Clarity & Grace” so my brain is swimming in clarity, cohesion, conciseness, and all that jazz.)

      P 1(paragraph), 1st S (sentence): change “;” to “,” because the second half isn’t a complete phrase or clause.
      3rd S: change “and” to “or” any department and add a comma before “really” I think. Remove “they” before “asked” and remove the double “a a”.

      P2, 1st sentence: Take out “number one” as it’s redundant; don’t forget to list the title and author of the book the first time you mention it. Take out the last three words because they are also redundant.
      5th S: RE “information should just be there”: Do you mean having one page? Maybe explain what you mean; it’s not clear.
      Last S: I don’t think the elipses at the end is necessary.

      P3, 1st Sentence: flip 1st 2 words, “All that being said. Make the sentence positive instead of negative: say “I think” instead of “I don’t think”. Use neither/nor instead of either/or at the end.
      2nd S: remove “that” before “I would” and explain what you mean by “most of the scenarios” before going into the details below.

      P4: Break this Para up; it’s pretty long and easier to read if shorter.
      1st S: put a comma after “major” since it’s an interjected phrase between the main parts of the sentence.
      4th S: break it up with a period after “test” instead of a comma; it’s a run-on. Also, may want to change “finding” to “searching for”. I think that is what the new students are doing — finding is the result of the searching for.
      5th S: set off the appositive phrase “and assuming that since my major was English” with commas at each end.
      6th S: Remove “that” after “quickly realized” — unnecessary word.
      8th S: “apart” should be 2 words in this instance, or just “part” without the “a”.

      P5: This is another long paragraph that would be easier to read if it were broken down into shorter sections.
      5th S: change “sight” to “site” and remove “that” after “information”. I think it sounds funny to say “searching for” when the term “search” is all throughout this section. If you substitute “looking” it just flows a bit easier to me.
      6th S: remove “a” before “information”.
      7th S: You say “I often never”… Which one is it? I don’t think it can be both. Also, later you say “navigate my way to finding” which is a little awkward. Rephrase to say something like “navigate when trying to find” or “when searching” or something.
      8th S: remove the “in” from before “keywords” — it is redundant.
      9th S: I think you want to say “that is” instead of “this is” to start the sentence.
      10th S: Passive sentence. Rearrange and put “in the search bar” after “I typed ‘AP English'” (I typed “AP English” in the search bar). Then change “English Dept. page” to English Dept. section or some other word that indicates is is more than just one page to the ED website.
      Last S: remove “that” from end of last sentence. Word is not necessary.

      P6: This is a good paragraph but it is also pretty long. Again, break it down for ease of reading, especially when it is an Internet-based document.

      Last P, 1st Sentence: Move “overall” to the end.
      2nd S: “different types of students” a little unclear. Maybe revise with “students in different scenarios” or something similar. Or maybe call them the target audience from different scenarios???

      Zoe, Your essay was good overall. You provide good examples of what you say and it is clear what you mean. According to my understanding of Krause’s directions, we are supposed to incorporate quotes from both Krug and Redish’s books in our explanations. Remember to also include info about the survey results of the rest of the class, comparing them to your results. And don’t forget to properly cite the books, both inline and at the end.

    • swilso93 says:

      Very effective essay. It felt very professional with all your information and detail. I would put indents in your paragraphs though. Make sure you put the page numbers of the quote you are using as well. When you talk about “A/B” testing, I would define what that means. Your readers may not know what that means specifically. Don’t forget to use commas after quotation marks and parenthesis. I would go through and proofread it. Just to catch some grammar mistakes and such. WordPress doesn’t really have a easy spelling/grammar check tool to use. You reflection was a little generic though; I would try to work that out again. I loved your pictures at the end! It really gave the essay something extra.

    • andrew says:


      Do you explain or reference the graphic?

      Paragraph(P)1- Were we looking at UX? I think we probably were to some extent. Can you make the distinction between UX and Usability? Were we learning about users or about the website?

      P2- “For the project in this class..” What class?
      I also found myself looking for issues.

      “seeing the results of the survey helped reinforce the effectiveness.” What do you mean by this?

      P3- This paragraph kind of feels like another introduction since it uses another anecdote. I am not sure how it fits in the reflection.

      P4- “When I looked at my classmates’ responses to this survey…” Do you have examples of what you are referring to here?

      P5- I like your use of the quotation here. Giving the page number would probably suffice for the citation. Also, follow this up with an explanation for what you mean when you say, “I think doing this survey really demonstrated that fact.”

      P6- Do you think this would provide better insight to the testing we did? How are they related?

      P7- Do “personas” and “scenarios” indicate strength or weakness in the website?

      P8, P9- You could maybe combine these paragraphs. Maybe explain how the mobile aspect of the website relate to the testing we did or the web content itself?

      P10- What makes these the “right questions?”

    • ZoeBelle says:


      I really enjoyed your essay. First off, I think it would be helpful to make reference to the graphic that you included. Even if it seems obvious, I still think it’s something your should elaborate on for your readers. It’s a nice touch! I also liked the graphics that you included at the end of your essay – would it be possible to include them in your essay next to their respective scenarios? That may be something to toy around with (if you already hadn’t). I think it would also be helpful to give more specific examples as to how your answers differed from your classmates’ responses (you mentioned this a few times). For example, “While I didn’t struggle with this scenario all that much, I noticed many of my classmates were doing this. I don’t think I had a problem with it because…” There were a few grammatical errors in your essay that Samantha and Andrew already mentioned and would be easy to fix.

      Great job, overall! Nice job including your citations and the graphics were a really cool touch.

    • andrew says:


      Paragraph(P)1- “For starters, focus on what you want your site visitors to do, as Redish says in Letting Go of the Words. (Redish, 18.)” Did you use a quotation?

      “But number one, the most important thing of all, “Content.”” Unsure about this sentence.

      “These two concepts go hand in hand…” Not sure exactly which concepts.

      P2- “It has what information you will need or want; but it is hard to navigate and find what you need.” “When I conducted a usability test on this site, I found several different things; good and/or bad.” The semicolon separates independent clauses.

      “According to Redish on the subject of design…” How does this passage relate/contradict what was said about design in your first paragraph?

      P3- I like how you keep bringing in the survey results. I need to do more of that.

      “One thing that I did like as I was looking for this,” What is this? What you are referencing from the first sentence of the paragraph is ambiguous.

      “So in case, I somehow or someone else…” Awkward wording

      The focus of this paragraph was a little unclear to me. Perhaps take a second look at it.

      P4- How does the quote at the end of this paragraph relate to your experience with needing to use the search function? What is the link between the two?

      You mentioned two scenarios at the beginning of the paragraph but only address one.

      P5- “English Department’s” possessive.

      “It led me”

      I would like to hear a reflection on the repeated use of the search function. What exactly does this say about the quality of the website? Why do you think you had a more difficult time finding this info? Also, you having this difficulty may still be significant in a small test group like this.

      P6- Watch those semicolons.

      Maybe a reflection on why you have never thought of usability testing. We certainly recognize when usability is bad.

    • Marianne says:

      Hi, Samantha. Here’s my insights from your essay, which made some really good points. You did a good job remembering the cites, too. I think MLA style changed over the summer so be sure to go to the Purdue OWL website and see what the current style is for both inline and end cites–it’s a little different than how you have it. (Apologies in advance. I’m in WRTG328 Style & Technology right now and we are studying “The Elements of Style” and “Style: Toward Clarity & Grace” so my brain is swimming in clarity, cohesion, conciseness, and all that jazz.)

      I really like your opening sentence.
      P 1 (paragraph), 2nd S (sentence): change “want” to “what” before “people”. (Do you possibly mean people looking at EMU’s site instead of the world? Sounds a little grand, although I know potentially anyone in the world could go to the site.)
      3rd S: Is this a quote? Give full name of book and author on first mention. Also, I may be wrong but I thought she said we should focus on what our site visitors will want to do, not what we want them to do. Maybe rephrase to clear it up.
      4thS: remove “number one” – redundant
      5th S: replace the comma before “content” with a dash or remove it and add “is the” before content.
      6th S: “web sites” Either one word or two, unless you are specifically talking about capital W “Web sites.” I checked all the style manuals and all but MLA has it as 1 word. Check the whole essay and be consistent
      9th S: need a period after the “)” not before the closing quote. (check OWL)
      10th S: “These two concepts” — what two concepts? I thought it was just one-content.
      Last S: This is an awkward sentence hard to follow. Do you mean you will know what your site visitors want to do? We can’t control them. Rephrase.

      P2, 1st Sentence: rephrase into a positive style: “could be better” instead of “isn’t the best”.
      2nd S: I think it should have a comma instead of a semi-colon separating the clauses–dependent. Also, for brevity and clarity, maybe change the end to something like “hard to find that information” instead of “hard to navigate and find what you need.”

      P3, 1st Sentence: Remove comma after “site” and change ending for clarity to something like “several different good or bad things of note.”
      2nd S: For clarity and conciseness, rephrase this something like, “The first thing you notice when looking at the page is”…. and also “…banner near the top is all….” This sounds like you mean the EMU banner at the top of the page, not the ELL Dept. heading which is below the EMU heading. I totally didn’t notice it until I read the comments from some people who did and I looked at the top of the page and couldn’t figure out what they were talking about.

      P4, 1st Sentence: “Looking at the class results for my classmates that took this test as well; there were similar responses to mine about the banner as their first impression.” This sentence just sounds a little awkward to me, like there must be a shorter, simpler way to say the same thing. Maybe coming at it from this way: “When I looked at the class survey results, I noticed several of my classmates had the same first impression of the site.”
      2nd S: ( I loved Jaclyn’s comment about the “d”. too funny) Do you need to reference the question that was asked for clarity? Not sure.
      3rd S: The beginning of this sentence is a little awkward. Maybe starting something like “Regarding the subject of design, Redish says”… or similar .
      Last S: the semi-colon doesn’t belong as these are not both complete clauses. This sentence seems to be missing something to make sense. It may be passive or may be a word missing. Rephrase or rearrange for clarity.

      P5, 1st Sentence: include where the information is that was easy to find. “some information in the..” Delete the comma after “such as” since it is describing what info.
      2nd S: maybe put quotes around the headings of what you clicked so they stand out more, or italicize or something. Not clear as is.
      3rd S: change ; to , since not full clauses.
      4th S: “as I was looking for this” Do you mean as you were navigating the English Dept. site to complete the survey? “for this” is not clear.
      5th S: Starting out with “So in case” makes it sound like it is part of the previous sentence. Maybe rephrase something like: “if I somehow (or someone else) get stuck …Major, I can contact”… and setting off “or someone else” with parens makes it a bit clearer.
      6th S: You say “design of your site”. Should this be “design of a good site”??? The previous sentence uses “I” and now you are using “your” so I’m confused.

      P6: This long paragraph should be broken down to assist readers.
      1st Sentence: passive. Rephrase. Maybe put “online” before “usability” and drop “given to us” or change to “I took”.
      3rd S: remove the comma after “looking” and add an apostrophe to Departments.
      4th S: “…engine on the site and…” What site are you talking about? EMU’s main site? This is a very long sentence so you may want to shorten it as much as possible. Can possibly rephrase to: “gen ed page, which gave me all the info I needed.”
      5th S: sounds like you’re mentioning the survey results for the first time. Maybe add: “looking again” and also say “this class” instead of “the class”. change the “;” to a “,” before “everyone”. At the end of the sentence you say “found their information” but it’s not clear. Maybe change to “found the requested info”
      6th S: right before the book name you say “statement in from” and I think that should be just “in” or just “from” there. After the title use a “:” instead of a “.” because the first part of the sentence is an introduction to the quote so they are connected complete clauses.

      P7, 2nd Sentence: add an apostrophe to “Departments”.
      Last two S: “It led me through” instead of “lead me to” . These sound like they should be joined into one sentence. Maybe say at the end “…until I eventually found the requested information about 10 minutes later.

      P8: (Sounded like Andrew had a hard time finding that info, too, when I read his essay.)
      1st S: add “people” to say “most people seem” and then after the comma, say “but I couldn’t” — I think you just forgot the “I” there. Put in a comma after “quite as easily” and change “or some” to “and some”
      4th S: change the semicolon near the end to a comma. Do you mean you would make financial aid info its own section of the Eng. and Lang. Lit Dept. site, or do you mean EMU’s site, or what? I think I would break this paragraph into two somewhere in here to help with reading online. Maybe before the next sentence.

      Last P, 1st Sentence: do you mean the whole concept of usability testing or do you mean doing this test? clarify.
      In second sentence do you mean before this class or before reading this book or what? Change the sentence where the semicolon is, something like: “but after doing the test I wondered how…”

      Great that you remembered the works cited section. Don’t forget to check Purdue Owl for the new style of inline and end cites.
      You had some great insights from the test and wrote a solid essay.

    • ZoeBelle says:


      I thought your essay was great. I think Marianne and Andrew covered most of the grammatical parts that I would fix in their feedback. I thought you had great insights into your thought process for every scenario. I also noticed how you tried to make a point to relate back to the survey responses and Redish throughout your essay. One thing I think you could do is include more information about what you would be thinking if you WERE those people in the scenarios (such as a graduate student looking for information or a brand new freshman). I agreed with your recommendations for the scholarships on the Graduate student page – but I think you could expand on this even more. Great job on including your Works Cited, as well!

      Overall, great essay. I think you captured everything that Professor Krause was looking for. The grammatical fixes and some expansions on certain parts would leave you in a great place.

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