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Date: 15 December 2016

To: Dr. Bruce Maylath


From: Jenna Murphy
Subject: Usability Report on How to Cook a Spanish Omelet

Abstract
Instructions describing How to Cook a Spanish Omelet were tested to
determine several features of usability, including the clarity of the instructions, the
effectiveness of the pictures, and the quality of the final product. Test subjects with a
variety of ages and cooking experience were provided with the necessary materials and
equipment to perform the instructions in a kitchen setting. All test subjects had basic
cooking knowledge and skills. By observing test subjects, their completion of a
questionnaire, and an informal discussion including an examination of the final product,
the tester was able to gather data about the usability of the instructions. An analysis of
the data revealed multiple areas where instructions needed to be clarified and equipment
needed to be adapted to contribute to the overall usability instructions. Additional
suggestions from test subjects were used to adapt the instructions for higher quality of
the final product. Several steps will be amended and equipment modified. No changes
were made to the pictures due to test subjects finding the pictures very helpful and
requesting no changes to the pictures.

Introduction
Preparing and cooking food is often shaped by unique cultural contexts.
Usability testing of the instructions for How to Cook a Spanish Omelet revealed areas
in which members from an American audience with basic cooking knowledge and skills
needed additional information to perform the instructions successfully. The purpose of
the usability test conducted on these instructions sought to determine the effectiveness
of the instructions for cooking a Spanish omelet in several ways. First, could the test
subjects complete the instructions and cook the omelet thoroughly in 1 hour? (For
example, was the omelet burned? Were elements of the omelet still raw or uncooked?)
Second, were there any terms or procedures that the test subjects did not understand or
for which they needed additional explanation or definitions? Finally, were the pictures
clear and helpful? Testing the instructions to find the answers to these three questions

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was deemed necessary to provide a more comprehensive overview of usability given the many factors
involved in the success of the recipe.
Methods
Four test subjects, including two males and two females with ages 21, 23, 29, and 36, were
asked to complete usability testing. The selection of test subjects with varying ages and genders was
made to develop a more thorough usability test that represented a variety of ages and both the male and
female genders. In addition, the cooking knowledge and skills of these individuals ranged from basic to
slightly more advanced. The Instructions state that anyone with basic cooking knowledge and skills
can complete the recipe, so it was necessary that all test subjects have at least basic cooking knowledge
and skills. It should be noted that none of the test subjects had made a Spanish Omelet before, and only
one test subject had a conception of what a Spanish Omelet was prior to completing the testing. Each
test subject was provided with the necessary ingredients, equipment, and kitchen setting to complete
usability testing at my apartment in order to control the number of variables involved in the usability
testing. The test subjects completed their usability testing at different times, during which time I was
the sole observer.
My methods included the Observations (Appendix B), the Questionnaire (Appendix C), and the
Notes from the Informal Discussion with Examination of the Final Product (Appendix E). The
Observations (Appendix B) recorded the time in minutes that that test subjects needed to complete the
instructions. The purpose for recording the time was to determine if the time listed in the Introduction
to the instructions was the same as the test subjects times for completion. The time listed in the
Introduction to the instructions stated that the Spanish Omelet was, Ready in 1 hour, or sixty minutes.
The reason the instructions stated that the Instructions could be completed in sixty minutes was due to a
Spanish co-authors experience of his mother preparing the omelet. Usability testing needed to

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determine if members from an American audience could complete the omelet within the same
timeframe. The Observations also allowed the tester to observe the test subjects and record any
verbalized comments test subjects made regarding problems related to unclear, confusing, or
problematic steps, pictures, or equipment. The Observations also allowed the tester to observe and
record any difficulties with or deviations from the instructions on the part of the test subjects.
The Questionnaire (Appendix C) included several categories for evaluation of the instructions
by the test subjects including the clarity of instructions, the effectiveness of the pictures, the quality of
the final product, and the overall usability of the instructions. Regarding the clarity of the instructions,
the Questionnaire asked test subjects questions about any unclear terms, steps or procedures, and why
those steps or procedures were unclear. Test subjects were also asked to include any other suggestions
for improving the clarity of the instructions. Regarding the effectiveness of the pictures, the
Questionnaire asked test subjects how helpful the pictures were, on a Likert scale of one to four, with
one being not helpful, two being somewhat helpful, three being helpful, and 4 being very
helpful. Test subjects were also asked about removing or adding pictures. Regarding the final product,
test subjects were asked to rate the quality of the final product on a Likert scale of one to five, with one
being uncooked/raw, two being undercooked, three being thoroughly cooked, four being
overcooked, and five being burned. Test subjects were also asked to provide any additional
comments regarding the quality of the final product.
The Notes from the Informal Discussion with Examination of the Final Product (Appendix E)
allowed the tester to record comments test subjects made regarding problems related to unclear or
confusing steps, equipment, or any other problem areas in the instructions after the test subjects had
completed the Instructions. The Notes from the Informal Discussion with Examination of the Final
Product also allowed the tester to evaluate the quality of the final product in comparison to the test

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subjects evaluation of the final product in the Questionnaire (Appendix C). Finally, the Notes from the
Informal Discussion with Examination of the Final Products also allowed the tester to record test
subjects responses to any further questions the tester might have regarding usability testing.
The rationale for choosing these methods was multifaceted. The recorded Observations indicate
the amount of time it took for test subjects to complete the instructions and provided additional insight
into problem areas within the instructions. The Questionnaire allowed the test subjects to reflect on
their experience with the instructions and record their answers without direct interference or influence
from the tester. This method led to responses more fully reflecting the test-subjects experiences. In
addition, the Notes from the Informal Discussion and Examination of the Final Product allowed the
tester to assess the final product and compare the test subjects responses with the final product. The
Notes from the Informal Discussion and Examination of the Final Product also provided the tester with
the opportunity to ask further questions after the test subjects had completed testing to gather additional
information for improving the instructions.

Results
The use of the above methods for usability testing produced a wide body of results. The results
will be examined below in relation to the method which produced them.
Results of the Observations
First, the data located in the Observations (Appendix B) revealed that test subjects were not able
to complete the task within one hour or 60 minutes. The instructions from my co-authors in Spain
stated in the Introduction that the Spanish Omelet was Ready in 1 hour. These results of the time

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needed by test subjects to complete the task reveal that there is a conflict between the time for
completion stated in the Introduction to the instructions and the test subjects application of those
instructions during usability testing. As shown in the Figure 1 below, Test subject 1 completed the task
in 70 minutes. Test subject 2 completed the task in 80 minutes, and Test subjects 3 and 4 each needed
90 minutes to complete the task.

Figure 1: Time for Completion


(in minutes)
Test Subject 4
Test Subject 3
Test Subject 2
Test Subject 1
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90 100

In addition, the Observations revealed other results in the form of verbalized comments test
subjects made regarding problems related to unclear or confusing steps or equipment. These results are
shown below in Figure 2. Test subject 1 did not make any verbalized comments regarding the

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instructions. Test subject 2 wondered aloud about using a bowl for the sliced potatoes and diced onions,
about stirring the sliced potatoes and diced onions for uniform cooking, about how to perform step 19,
and about the amount of oil in the pan. Test subject 3 wondered aloud about where to put peelings from
potatoes and onions, about where to put the sliced potatoes and diced onions, and if the use of the
gloves was required. Test subject 4 wondered aloud about
wearing the gloves for cutting the onion and about where to put peelings from the
potatoes and onions.

Figure 2: Verbalized Comments of Test Subjects by


Topic
as recorded in Observations (Appendix B)
Test Subject
number:
1
2

Audible Comment Topic:

Observations
also allowed

NA

The

Use of a bowl for sliced potatoes and


diced onions
Wondered about stirring sliced potatoes
and diced onions for uniform cooking
Wondered how to perform step 19
Amount of oil in the pan
Where to put peelings from potatoes and
onions
Where to put sliced potatoes and diced
onions
Wondered about necessity of using gloves
to cut onion
Necessity of using gloves to cut onion
Where to put peelings from potatoes and
onions

the tester to
observe and
record any
difficulties
with or
deviations
from the
instructions
on the part of

the test subjects. These results are shown below in Figure 3. Test subject 1 did not display any difficulty
or deviation related to the instructions. Test subject 1 followed the instructions very carefully. Test

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subject 2 displayed difficulty getting the potato mixture out of the pan when it was flipped in step 19
and tried to remove the burned egg residue with the spatula. Test subject 2 turned off the heat on the
stove after cooking the potatoes and onions. Test subject 3 sliced the potatoes thicker than pictured in
the instructions, cooked the potatoes and onions longer than the instructions required, and drizzled oil
in the smaller frying pan before adding the potato, onion, and egg mixture. Test subject 4 did not
display any difficulty or deviation related to the instructions. Test subject 4 read through the first pages
of the instructions very carefully before beginning.

Figure 3: Displayed Difficulties or Deviations of Test


Subjects by Topic
as recorded in Observations (Appendix B)
Test Subject
number:

Displayed Difficulty or Deviation Topic:

NA

NA

Results of the Questionnaire

Sticking of omelet mixture in step 19: test


subject used a spatula to remove egg
residue
Flipping procedure in step 19 was difficult
Turned off the heat on the stove after
cooking potatoes and onions
Sliced potatoes thicker than pictured
Cooked potatoes and onions longer than
directions required
Drizzled smaller frying pan with oil before
cooking

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The Questionnaire (Appendix C) included several categories for evaluation of the instructions
by the test subjects including the clarity of instructions, the effectiveness of the pictures, the quality of
the final product, and the overall usability of the instructions. The test subjects responses to the
Questionnaire (Appendix C) are recorded in the Questionnaire with Responses (Appendix D).
Clarity of the Instructions
Regarding the clarity of the instructions, the data from the Questionnaire reveals that test
subjects did not find any terms unclear, confusing, or needing additional explanation. However, data
from the Questionnaire does reveal that all test subjects found steps or procedures that were unclear,
confusing, or needing additional information. Test subject 1 listed step 18 as problematic because it did
not define cooked in relation to the step. Test subject 2 also listed step 18 as problematic because the
instructions for the length of time the omelet should be cooked on each side was not clear enough. Test
subject 3 listed step 2 and step 5 as problematic because a side bowl was needed to put the potatoes and
onions in. Test subject 3 also listed step 19 as problematic because the procedure for flipping the
omelet was unclear. Test subject 3 listed step 18-19 as problematic because the instructions for the
length of time the omelet should be cooked on each side was not clear enough. Test subject 4 listed step
2 and step 5 as problematic because a side bowl was needed to put the potatoes and onions in. Test
subject 4 also mentioned step 19 as problematic because the flipping process was unclear. These results
are displayed below in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Problematic Steps or Procedures Listed by Test


Subjects
as recorded in the Questionnaire with Responses (Appendix D)
Test Subject
number:

Problematic Step or
Procedure:

Rationale:

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1

Step 18

Step 18

Step 2 and Step 5

Step 18-19

Definition of cooked is
unclear
Length of cooking time
unclear
Needed side bowl for sliced
potatoes and diced onions
Length of cooking time
unclear

Step 19

Procedure for flipping the


omelet was unclear

Step 2 and Step 5

Needed side bowl for sliced


potatoes and diced onions

Step 19

Procedure for flipping the


omelet was unclear

In the Questionnaire, test subjects were also asked to provide any other suggestions about
improving the clarity of the instructions. In response, test subject 1 suggested that more information
about the type of frying pan required should be included in the instructions, such as if the pan should be
glass or non-stick. Test subject 2 suggested including a more precise time for how long to cook the
omelet on each side. Test subject 3 suggested listing the amount of olive oil needed per step. Test
subject 4 suggested listing the amount of olive oil in the step it is used.
Effectiveness of Pictures
Regarding the effectiveness of the pictures, the Questionnaire asked test subjects how helpful
the pictures were, on a Likert scale of one to four, with one being not helpful, two being somewhat
helpful, three being helpful, and 4 being very helpful. Test subjects 1, 2, 3, and 4 found the

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pictures very helpful, as shown in Figure 5 on the following page. In addition, test subjects did not
request that any pictures be added or removed from the Instructions.

Figure 5: Helpfulness of Pictures


as recorded in the Questionnaire with Responses (Appendix D)
Test Subject 1
Test Subject 2
Test Subject 3
Test Subject 4
0
Not Helpful

1
Somewhat Helpful

3
Helpful

4
Very Helpful

Quality of the Final Product


Regarding the final product, test subjects were asked to rate the quality of the final product on a
Likert scale of one to five, with one being uncooked/raw, two being undercooked, three being
thoroughly cooked, four being overcooked, and five being burned, on the Questionnaire. Test
subjects 1 and 2 described the final product as overcooked and Test subjects 3 and 4 described the
final product as thoroughly cooked, as displayed in Figure 6 below.

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Figure 6: Quality of Final Product


as recorded in the Questionnaire with Responses (Appendix D)
Test Subject 1
Test Subject 2
Test Subject 3
Test Subject 4
0
Uncooked/Raw

1
Undercooked

2
Thoroughly
Cooked

4
Overcooked

5
Burned

Test subjects were also asked to provide any additional comments regarding the quality of the
final product on the Questionnaire. Test subject 1 commented that it was unclear how much oil should
be used in the small frying pan to cook the omelet mixture. Test subject 2 commented that the final
product did not hold together as well as the image of the omelet in the Instructions. Test subject 3 also
commented that the final product tasted good, but could have retained its shape better. Test subject 4
commented that the final product did not remain completely intact like the image in the Instructions.
In addition, test subjects were asked to provide suggestions for changes to the instructions that
they believed would improve the quality of the final product on the Questionnaire. Test subject 1
suggested that a further clarification about the use of oil throughout the Instructions be included. Test
subject 2 suggested that specific times for cooking in each step and the use of a non-stick pan should be
added to the instructions. Test subject 3 suggested the use of a ceramic or Teflon pan, covering the
egg and potato mixture while cooking, and pre-oiling the smaller frying pan before adding the egg and
potato mixture. Test subject 4 suggested the use of a non-stick pan, including specific times in minutes
for cooking the omelet in the directions, and that the smaller frying pan be oiled before adding the egg,

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potato, onion, and salt mixture. The suggestions for improving the quality of the final product as
suggested by the test subjects are included in Figure 7 on the following page.

Figure 7: Suggestions for Improving the Quality of the


Final Product
as recorded in the Questionnaire with Responses (Appendix D)
Test Subject
number:

Suggestion:

Clarify when, where, and how much oil to


use throughout the instructions

List specific times for cooking in each step


Use of a non-stick pan for cooking

Use of a ceramic or Teflon pan


Cover the omelet mixture while cooking
Use of oil in smaller frying pan before
adding omelet mixture

Use of a non-stick pan for cooking


List specific times for cooking the omelet
Use of oil in smaller frying pan before
adding omelet mixture

Regarding overall usability, test subjects 1, 2, and 3 provided no comments on the


Questionnaire. Test subject 4 commented that the instructions were very easy to follow!

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Results of Notes from the Informal Discussion with Examination of the Final Product
The Notes from the Informal Discussion with Examination of the Final Product (Appendix E)
allowed the tester to record comments test subjects made regarding problems related to unclear or
confusing steps, equipment, or any other problem areas in the Instructions. Test subjects 1, 2, and 4
thought that flipping the omelet was the hardest part of completing the procedures. Test subjects 1, 2,
and 3 thought that using fewer potatoes would help the overall quality of the omelet. Test subjects 2, 3,
and 4 thought that cutting the potato slices thinner would be helpful. Test subject 2 also suggested
adding more eggs to the recipe. Test subjects 3 and 4 thought that the Instructions should include
information about where to put the chopped potato and onion. Test subject 3 thought that an additional
bowl was needed for discarding eggshells and vegetable peelings and that a measurement for the salt
should be included in the food preparation portion of the Instructions. Test subject 4 thought that the
required amounts of olive oil and salt should be included in the step they are used and that a non-stick
pan would be lighter in weight for flipping the omelet in addition to being helpful in preventing the
omelet from sticking. The unclear or confusing steps, equipment problems, or any other problem areas
are outlined in Figure 8 on the following page.

Figure 8: Unclear or Confusing steps, Equipment


Problems, or Any Other Problem Areas
as recorded in the Notes from the Informal Discussion (Appendix E)
Test Subject
number:

Steps, Equipment Problems, or Any Other Problem


Areas:

Flipping the omelet was hardest part of


Instructions
Use of fewer potatoes
Flipping the omelet was hardest part of
Instructions

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Use of fewer potatoes


Cut potato slices thinner
Add more eggs to the recipe
Use of fewer potatoes
Cut potato slices thinner
Unclear where to put sliced potatoes and
diced onions
Bowl for discarded vegetable peelings and
eggshells
Cut potato slices thinner
Unclear where to put sliced potatoes and
diced onions
List amounts of olive oil and salt in the step
they are used
Use of a non-stick pan (not as heavy)

The Notes from the Informal Discussion with Examination of the Final Product also allowed the
tester to evaluate the quality of the final product in comparison to the test subjects evaluation of the
final product in the Questionnaire (Appendix C). The final product of test subject 1 remained intact and
was thoroughly cooked, with a few breakage points. The omelet of test subject 2, 3, and 4 did not
remain intact and fell apart in many locations.
Discussion
The Results of the usability testing suggest that many changes could be made to improve the
overall usability of the instructions. The problems the test subjects identified were listed in different
and various locations throughout the Observations, Questionnaire, and Notes from the Informal
Discussion with Examination of the Final Product by each test subject. For example, test subject 1
identified a specific problem in the Questionnaire that test subject 2 identified in the Notes from the
Informal Discussion. Despite this manner of identifying problems, the problems that the test subjects
identified did converge into several categories. Therefore, changes will be discussed in the following

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categories: changes to time for completion, changes to problematic steps, equipment changes, and
changes to improve the quality of the final product.
Changes to Time for Completion:
Because test subjects were not able to perform the instructions within one hour, or 60 minutes,
revisions to page one of the instructions stating that the recipe is Ready in 1 hour should be made. A
broader timeframe for recipe completion, such as Ready in 70-90 minutes is an example of a text
modification for this issue. Because none of the test subjects had made a Spanish Omelet before, test
subjects lack of familiarity with the recipe may have been a factor in longer completion times.
Additional usability testing could confirm if resolving problematic steps, equipment changes, and
implementing other changes to improve the quality of the final product would result in shorter
completion times.
Changes to Problematic Steps:
In addition, changes adding clarity to a number of steps are necessary and will be discussed in
chronological order. Steps 1-5 are related to preparing the potatoes and onions. In response to the test
subjects wondering if gloves were necessary, a tip could be added to step 1 that states, Tip: You may
want to wear kitchen gloves to protect your hands from odors and juices, but the gloves are optional.
This tip would clarify the depiction of the use of gloves in the pictures as an option and not a
requirement.
In addition, although test subjects were given measurements for the thickness of the potato
slices in step 2: Cut the potatoes into thin slices, approximately 1/16 in. or 2 mm, test subjects
reported needing further clarity regarding how thinly to slice the potatoes in the Observations,
Questionnaire with Responses, and the Notes from the Informal Discussion. A tip could be added to the

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instructions that states, Tip: It is important that you slice the potatoes very thinly to aid the cooking
process. The necessary thickness of the slices, 1/16 in. or 2mm. is pictured in the image below. This
tip would direct the user to the image which depicts the necessary thickness and reinforces the stated
measurement in a visual representation.
Feedback from the test subjects in the Observations regarding stirring the potato and onion
mixture and lack of clarity about the use of olive oil in the Observations, Questionnaire and Notes from
the Informal Discussion, reveal that changes to steps 6 and 8 should be made. Olive oil is used in steps
6 and 8. Steps 6 and 8 could also be modified to be understood more clearly. Regarding step 6, an
addition of the required amount of extra-virgin olive oil could be included in the text of the directions,
as requested by test subjects. Step 6 could read, Pour 2/3 cup or 150 ml. of extra-virgin olive oil into
the large frying pan. If the measurements are included in the step in which they are needed, the test
subjects would not need reference the Ingredients page to find the measurements. In step 8 the user is
instructed to add the potatoes and onions to the pan with olive oil. Because test subject 2 had wondered
if he should stir the potatoes and onions to aid even distribution in step 8, the step could be rewritten to
state, Pour the sliced potatoes and diced onions in the frying pan with the extra-virgin olive oil. In
addition to this change, a step could be added after step 8 that states, Stir to evenly distribute the
potatoes and onions in the pan to ensure uniform cooking. These changes would add a specific step
after step 8 to clarify if users should stir the potatoes and onions.
Also, test subjects requested that the required amount of salt be listed in step 15, which reads,
sprinkle the egg, potato, and onion mixture with the salt. Step 15 could be re-written to state,
sprinkle the egg, potato, and onion mixture with tsp. or 3 grams of salt. Adding the required
amount of salt in step 15 would aid users by providing them with the required measurement in the step

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it is needed. Test subjects would not need to refer to the Ingredients page to find the necessary
measurement.
Other steps that proved to be problematic for test subjects as recorded in the Questionnaire with
Responses and in the testers Observations, included step 18. Test subjects reported in the
Questionnaire with Responses and the tester recorded in the observations that test subjects wondered if
the heat should be turned on and to what temperature. Regarding step 18 in which the egg, potato,
onion, and salt mixture is added to the smaller frying pan, a step could be added before step 18 that
states, Turn the burner on to medium heat. This direction could be accompanied by a picture of the
temperature dial for that burner to provide a visual representation of medium heat and add clarity to the
step. With this addition to the step, test subjects would be clearly directed to turn on the heat to a
particular setting, instead of making assumptions about the required heat.
An additional problem was identified by test subjects regarding step 18, which also instructs the
user to pour the egg, potato, onion, and salt mixture into the pan. Requests for a specific cooking
time in step 18 were reported by test subjects in the Questionnaire with Responses. An addition to step
18 could read, Pour the egg, potato, onion, and salt mixture into the pan. Allow the omelet mixture to
cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the omelet has formed a golden-brown underside. Tip: You will know
when one side of the omelet is cooked when it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and has formed a
golden underside. Listing a specific cooking time would clarify the time the omelet mixture needs to
cook.
According to the feedback recorded in the Observations, Questionnaire with Responses, and the
Notes from the Informal Discussion, step 19 was the last of the problematic steps for test subjects. In
addition to stating, When one side of the omelet is cooked, flip it upside down using the pan lid (or
plate), another tip could be provided to step 19 that would further clarify what is meant by cooked

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and prepare the user if the omelet is sticking. For example, an additional tip reading, The omelet
should have formed a firm, cooked edge around its circumference before it can be flipped, would lend
further clarity. An additional tip highlighted among the steps could suggest that users have a spatula
ready to gently probe the omelet if it is sticking and will not come out of the pan. Figure 9 on the
following pages outlines the changes to problematic steps.

Figure 9: Changes to Problematic Steps


in the Instructions Given to Test Subjects
Step Number:
1-5

Current
Instructions:
Peel the potatoes
using the vegetable
peeler.

Amended
Instructions:
Peel the potatoes
using the vegetable
peeler. Tip: You may
want to wear kitchen
gloves to protect your
hands from odors and
juices, but the gloves
are optional.

Cut the potatoes into


thin slices,
approximately 1/16 in.
or 2 mm.

Cut the potatoes into


thin slices,
approximately 1/16 in.
or 2 mm. Tip: It is
important that you
slice the potatoes very
thinly to aid the
cooking process. The
necessary thickness of
the slices, 1/16 in. or
2mm. is pictured in the
image below.

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6

Pour the extra-virgin


olive oil into the large
frying pan.

Pour 2/3 cup or 150


ml. of extra-virgin olive
oil into the large frying
pan.

Additional step
after Step 8

NA

Stir to evenly
distribute the potatoes
and onions in the pan
to ensure uniform
cooking.

15

Sprinkle the egg,


potato, and onion
mixture with the salt.

Sprinkle the egg,


potato, and onion
mixture with tsp. or
3 grams of salt.

Additional step
requested before
Step 18

NA

Turn the burner on to


medium heat.
*Picture of dial
included

18

Pour the egg, potato,


onion, and salt
mixture into the
smaller frying pan and
cook on medium
heat.

Pour the egg, potato,


onion, and salt mixture
into smaller frying pan
and cook on medium
heat. Allow the omelet
mixture to cook for 5-8
minutes, or until the
omelet has formed a
golden-brown
underside. Tip: You will
know when one side of
the omelet is cooked
when it does not stick
to the bottom of the
pan and has formed a
golden underside.

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19

When one side of the


omelet is cooked, flip
it upside down using
the pan lid (or plate).

When one side of the


omelet is cooked, flip it
upside down using the
plate. Tip: The omelet
should have formed a
firm, cooked edge
around its edge before
it can be flipped.

Equipment Changes:
Changes to the description of equipment should also be made, as evidenced by the test subjects
feedback in the Questionnaire with Responses and Notes from the Informal Discussion, as well as the
testers Observations. A bowl for collecting the sliced potatoes and diced onions should be included in
the necessary equipment and referenced in the instructions. For example, additional steps could be
included that instruct users to place the potatoes and onions in the bowl and then set this bowl aside to
complete the next steps. In addition, test subjects feedback in the Questionnaire with Responses and
the Notes from the Informal Discussion, as well as the testers Observations suggest that a specific pan,
such as a non-stick or ceramic pan be listed and used as part of the required equipment. The description
of the required equipment on pages one and two could be amended to list the necessity of using nonstick or ceramic pans. Finally, there were suggestions made in the Questionnaire with Responses for an
additional bowl for garbage, such as the potato and onion peelings, to be listed as part of the necessary
equipment. An additional medium-sized bowl could be listed under the required equipment to serve this
purpose. Figure 10 below outlines the equipment changes. These changes would lend additional clarity
to the Instructions.

Figure 10: Equipment Changes

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Requested Equipment:

Changes:

Additional Bowl for Potatoes and


Onions

An Additional Bowl will be


specified under Materials and
Equipment.
A non-stick or ceramic pan will
be required under Materials
and Equipment.
An additional bowl will be listed
under Materials and
Equipment.

Different Frying Pan

Additional Bowl for Garbage

Changes to Improve the Quality of the Final Product:


Because of the variation in the quality of the omelet, suggestions to improve the quality of the
omelet as recorded in the Questionnaire and Notes from the Informal Discussion with Examination of
the Final Product should be added to the instructions. A change that decreased the number of potatoes
used in the recipe could be made. Rather than requiring four potatoes, the instructions could call for
three potatoes. In addition, a small amount of oil could be added to the pan before step 18, to coat the
pan and help decrease any sticking. The step could read, Pour 2 tablespoons or 30 ml. of extra-virgin
olive oil to the pan. Because of this use of additional olive oil, this amount would also need to be
added to the list of Ingredients on page 3 of the Instructions.
Conclusion
The changes outlined above should aid users of the Instructions How to Cook a Spanish
Omelet. Many changes should be made to the Instructions based on the Results of usability testing.
Furthermore, additional usability testing would allow the Tester to determine if other changes to
procedural steps, equipment, and instructions related to the quality of the final product result in greater

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clarity and overall usability. Further tests of the Instructions could explore the impact of these changes
and provide greater gains for users.

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Appendix A-Instructions (as given to test subjects)

HOW TO COOK A SPANISH OMELET

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION...........................................................2
DESCRIPTION OF THE EQUIPMENT...............................2
MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT.......................................3
INGREDIENTS.................................................................4
Food Preparation Instructions........................................5
Cooking Instructions......................................................8
TROUBLESHOOTING..................................................21

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INTRODUCTION
The objective of these instructions is to make a Spanish omelet. In these
instructions you will learn how to cook an original Spanish omelet like it is made in
Spain.
Everyone with a basic knowledge of cooking can make this easy and delicious
recipe.
To be successful, you must do the following:

Follow the directions in numerical order.


Use the required measurements of the ingredients.
Use the correct time limits for cooking.
Use the correct temperature for cooking.

SAFETY
This is a fantastic recipe to make with your family, but make sure that you
remember to take safety precautions:

when you are around small children


when using sharp knives
when using hot cooking surfaces

DESCRIPTION OF THE EQUIPMENT


It is important to prepare your kitchen for making this dish. If your kitchen is
ready, you will be able to give all of your attention to the recipe.
Your kitchen should be clean. You will need a clean work area to prepare the
ingredients.

Murphy 26
Also, your frying pan and other equipment should be in good condition. For
example, if your frying pan or other equipment is not clean, the omelet will stick
and burn.

SERVES 4

READY IN 1 HOUR

MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT


To make this recipe you will need:

A deep and large frying pan, (approximately 14 in. or 35 cm.)


Another frying pan, (approximately 11in. or 28 cm.)
Matching lids for the frying pans
A sharp knife
A vegetable peeler or paring knife
A cutting board
A spatula
A large bowl
A medium sized bowl
A whisk or fork
Aluminum foil or plastic wrap
A pot holder to prevent you from burning your hands
A serving dish that is the same diameter or larger than the small frying pan,
(approximately 12in. or 30 cm.)
*You may also want to gloves for food preparation, as pictured below.

Murphy 27

INGREDIENTS

1 Onion
4 Potatoes, washed, cleaned, and dried
2/3 cup or 150 ml Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
6 Eggs
Salt for seasoning, approximately teaspoon or 3 grams of salt

Murphy 28

Murphy 29

Food Preparation Instructions


1. Peel the potatoes using the vegetable peeler.

2. Cut the potatoes into thin slices, approximately 1/16 in. or 2mm.

3. Cut off approximately in. or 1cm. from both ends of the onion with
the sharp knife.

Murphy 30

4. Peel the light-brown papery skin back with your fingers.

5. Using the sharp knife, dice the onion into pieces, approximately in.
by in or 1 cm. by 1 cm.

Murphy 31

6. Pour the extra-virgin olive oil into the large frying pan.

Cooking Instructions
7. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in the large frying pan over medium heat
for 1-2 minutes.

Murphy 32

8. Place the sliced potatoes and diced onions in the frying pan with the
oil.

the

the
even
below.

Tip:
Make sure
potatoes and
onions are

uniformly
distributed in
pan to ensure
cooking. See

Murphy 33

9. Place the lid on the frying pan.

10.
Allow the extra-virgin olive oil, sliced potatoes, and diced onions
to cook until tender with the lid on the pan for 8-12 minutes, stirring
every 2-3 minutes.
Tip: Potatoes and onions should be soft when pierced with a fork.

Murphy 34

11.
After 10 minutes, use a spatula to place the sliced potatoes and
diced onions into a large bowl.

12.
into a medium-sized

13.
with a whisk or fork.

Crack the eggs


bowl.

Beat the eggs

Murphy 35

Murphy 36

14.

Pour the eggs over the potatoes and onions.

15.

Sprinkle the egg, potato, and onion mixture with the salt.

16.

Stir the Sliced Potato, Diced Onion, and Salt mixture.

Murphy 37

Murphy 38

17.

Cover the bowl with egg, potato, onion, and salt mixture with
plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Set aside for 15 minutes.

18.
Pour the egg, potato, onion, and salt mixture in the smaller
frying pan and cook on medium heat. Do not stir after you have
poured the mixture into the pan.

Murphy 39

Tip: Prepare to flip the omelet. Gather any necessary equipment,


including the frying pan lid (or a plate) and the pot holder. Clear your
sink area. You may want to flip the omelet over your sink to catch any
juices.

19.
When one side of the omelet is cooked, flip it upside down using
the pan lid (or plate).
Tip: You will know one side of the omelet is cooked when it does not
stick to the bottom of the pan and has formed a golden crust. You can
probe along the side of the omelet with your spatula to prevent the
omelet from sticking.

Murphy 40

Step 19 is accomplished in the following sub-steps:


A. Place lid (or face-down plate) on the smaller frying pan.
B. Place hand, using the pot holder, on top of the lid or center of the
plate.
C. Using the other hand, hold onto the small frying pan handle.
D. With one hand on the lid (or plate) and one hand on the frying pan
handle, quickly flip or rotate the frying pan upside down.
Tip: When you have accomplished this step, the uncooked side of the
omelet is facing down on the lid (or plate) and the cooked side of the
omelet is facing up.
The pictures below are labeled with the letter that corresponds to
each sub-step.
A., B., and C.

D.

20.

Slide the
omelet from the
lid (or plate)
back into
the
smaller
frying
pan.

Murphy 41

21.
Return the frying pan to the
stove and
cook the omelet for
approximately 5 more minutes on medium heat or until the bottom
side is golden brown and the texture of the omelet is springy but firm.

22.
Remove the frying pan from heat, and place the plate, face
downward,

Murphy 42

on top of the smaller frying pan.

23.
With one hand on the plate and one hand on the frying pan
handle flip the frying pan upside down, as in step 19.

Murphy 43

24.

Set the frying pan aside.

25.

Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

TROUBLESHOOTING

Using a non-stick (tefln coated) pan may help you flip and slide the
omelet more easily.

If you are having trouble getting the omelet out of the pan, you can
use the spatula to gently probe the omelet.

You may need to adjust your cooking times and temperatures slightly,
according to your altitude and location.

If you do not have extra-virgin olive oil, you can substitute vegetable
oil.

Appendix B-Observations
Test Subject: 1
Age: 36
Completion Time: 70 minutes

Test subject cut the potatoes and onions very meticulously and carefully, referencing the
picture several times
Test subject followed instructions with exactness
Test subject did not ask questions

Test Subject: 2
Age: 22
Completion Time: 80 minutes

Wondered about stirring the sliced potatoes and diced onions for uniform cooking.
Turned off heat on the stove after cooking potatoes and onions in step 10.
Wanted to know how to make the quick movement in step 19.
Concerned about not enough olive oil in the pan.
Potatoes and eggs did not come out of pan when flipped
Tried to remove burned egg residue with spatula.
Wondered about using a bowl for sliced potatoes and diced onions

Test Subject: 3
Age: 29
Completion Time: 90 minutes

Wondered where to put peelings from potatoes and onions


Wondered aloud if she had to use the gloves or not
Wondered where to put the sliced potatoes and onions
Test subject sliced potatoes thicker than pictured in the instructions
Cooked potatoes and onions longer than the instructions
Drizzled oil in the second smaller frying pan

Test Subject: 4

Age: 21
Completion Time: 90 minutes

Test Subject read through first pages of instructions very carefully before beginning
Test subject wondered aloud about wearing gloves for cutting onion
Wondered where to put peelings from potatoes and onions

Appendix C-Questionnaire

(as given to Test Subjects)


Please remember that usability testing is an objective test of the effectiveness of the instructions
and not your abilities. Please be honest.
Clarity of Instructions
Were there any terms that were unclear, confusing, or needed additional explanation?
Circle One.
Yes

No

If yes, please explain your response by listing the terms and why they were unclear, confusing,
or needed additional explanation.

Were there any steps or procedures that were unclear, confusing, or needed additional
explanation?
Circle One
Yes

No

If yes, please explain your response by listing the steps or procedures and why they were
unclear, confusing or needed additional explanation.

Please list any other suggestions that you believe would improve the clarity of the instructions.

Effectiveness of Pictures
How helpful were the pictures provided?
1-Not helpful

2-Somewhat helpful

3-Helpful

4-Very Helpful

Is there any place in the document that you would have liked to see a picture?
Circle One.
Yes

No

If yes, where would you place a picture and what would you like the picture to illustrate?

Is there any place in the document that you would have removed a picture?
Circle One.
Yes

No

If yes, which picture would you eliminate and why?

The Final Product


Please describe the quality of the final product by circling ONE descriptor below.
Uncooked/Raw

Undercooked

Thoroughly Cooked

Overcooked

Burned

Please provide any additional comments on the quality of the final product, in terms of being
thoroughly cooked, below.

Are there any changes to the instructions that you believe would improve the quality of the final
product, in terms of being thoroughly cooked? Please describe below.

Overall Usability
Please provide any additional comments or suggestions you have on the overall usability of the
instructions below.

Thank you for completing the questionnaire! Your responses are valuable to comprehensive
usability testing!

Appendix D-Questionnaire with Responses

Please remember that usability testing is an objective test of the effectiveness of the instructions
and not your abilities. Please be honest.
Clarity of Instructions
Were there any terms that were unclear, confusing, or needed additional explanation?
Circle One.
Test Subject 1: No
Test Subject 2: No
Test Subject 3: No
Test Subject 4: No
If yes, please explain your response by listing the terms and why they were unclear, confusing,
or needed additional explanation.
Test Subject 1: NA
Test Subject 2: NA
Test Subject 3: NA
Test Subject 4: NA
Were there any steps or procedures that were unclear, confusing, or needed additional
explanation?
Circle One
Test Subject 1: Yes
Test Subject 2: Yes
Test Subject 3: Yes
Test Subject 4: Yes
If yes, please explain your response by listing the steps or procedures and why they were
unclear, confusing or needed additional explanation.
Test Subject 1:
Step #18: Define cooked since the pan may not be transparent and stirring the content
to see the cookings progress is prohibited.

Test Subject 2:

Step #18 wish there were more specific instructions for the length of time the eggs should
be cooked on each side in the pan.

Test Subject 3:

Step #2 and Step #5: Side bowl needed to put potatoes and onion in
Step #15: How much salt should be used?
Step #19: The flipping process is very detailed but almost in a way that further confuses.
Almost distracting.
Step #18-19: How long the egg/potato mix should cook before removing to flip.

Test Subject 4:

Step #2 and Step #5: The instructions didnt specify where to put potatoes and onion after
chopping
The step before cutting the onion, I needed another plate because the cutting board was
filled with potatoes.
The step after pouring the mixture into the small pan: would have been helpful to tell the
user to turn the burner on and how high
The step in which I flipped the omelet was difficult, but the steps were clear so I think it
might have just been user error.

Please list any other suggestions that you believe would improve the clarity of the instructions.
Test Subject 1:

It might help if more information about the pans used was provided (e.g. needs to be
glass or nonstick)

Test Subject 2:
Having a more precise length of time for which to cook the eggs on each side once you
have the omelet mixture will definitely add more clarity to the recipe and cook time.
Test Subject 3:

List the amount of olive oil needed per step

Test Subject 4:

List amount of olive oil needed in the step it is used

Effectiveness of Pictures
How helpful were the pictures provided?
1-Not helpful

2-Somewhat helpful

3-Helpful

4-Very Helpful

Test Subject 1: Very Helpful-4


Test Subject 2: Very Helpful-4
Test Subject 3: Very Helpful-4
Test Subject 4: Very Helpful-4
Is there any place in the document that you would have liked to see a picture?
Circle One.
Test Subject 1: No
Test Subject 2: No
Test Subject 3: No
Test Subject 4: No
If yes, where would you place a picture and what would you like the picture to illustrate?
Test Subject 1: NA
Test Subject 2: NA
Test Subject 3: NA
Test Subject 4: NA
Is there any place in the document that you would have removed a picture?
Circle One.
Test Subject 1: No
Test Subject 2: No
Test Subject 3: No
Test Subject 4: No
If yes, which picture would you eliminate and why?
Test Subject 1: NA
Test Subject 2: NA

Test Subject 3: NA
Test Subject 4: NA
Do you have any other comments about the pictures?
Test Subject 1: NA
Test Subject 2: NA
Test Subject 3: NA
Test Subject 4: NA
The Final Product
Please describe the quality of the final product by circling ONE descriptor below.
1-Uncooked/Raw

2-Undercooked

3-Thoroughly Cooked

4-Overcooked

5-Burned

Test Subject 1: Overcooked-4


Test Subject 2: Overcooked-4
Test Subject 3: Thoroughly Cooked-5
Test Subject 4: Thoroughly Cooked-5
Please provide any additional comments on the quality of the final product, in terms of being
thoroughly cooked, below.
Test Subject 1:

Inevitably some oil will transfer into the large bowl in Step #11. Its not clear what
quantity, if any, is acceptable for Step #17 (i.e., cooking in the pan). The presence of oil
will, I think, change the consistency for better or worse relative to the instructions in Step
#11.

Test Subject 2:

The final product displayed some elements of success, but could have been a more
polished finished dish. The final dish did not look like the image in the recipe book. The
eggs and potatoes were not mixed as well and did not hold together like in the pictures. It
tasted good, though.

Test Subject 3:

It tasted good, but could have retained its shape better.

Test Subject 4:

It was thoroughly cooked but it did not all stick together like the picture. My final
product did not look like their final product.

Are there any changes to the instructions that you believe would improve the quality of the final
product, in terms of being thoroughly cooked? Please describe below.
Test Subject 1:

Explain if the oil is to be drained, incidentally retained from transfer via spatula, or
altogether poured in the large bowl.

Test Subject 2:

If there were more instructions with cook time with each step, how to mix the omelet
mixture, and how to slice the potatoes and onions, I think the final product might have a
better chance at being successfully done. Also, a better pan, like a non-stick.

Test Subject 3:

Use a Ceramic or Teflon pan.


Allow cover to be on while egg/potato mixture is cooking before flipping to cook
thoroughly.
Pre-oil pan once rested egg mixture is ready to be cooked.

Test Subject 4:

I think the pan should have been greased and I should have been given a time for cooking
the omelet.
I needed a different pan that didnt stick.

Overall Usability
Please provide any additional comments or suggestions you have on the overall usability of the
instructions below.
Test Subject 1: no comments
Test Subject 2: no comments
Test Subject 3: no comments
Test Subject 4: Very easy to follow!

Thank you for completing the questionnaire! Your responses are valuable to comprehensive
usability testing!

Appendix E-Notes from Informal Discussion


Test Subject: 1
Age: 36
Completion Time: 70 minutes
Felt that flipping the omelet was the hardest part of the completing the procedures
Omelet remained intact and was thoroughly cooked, with a few small breakage points.
Suggested that decreasing the number of potatoes might help overall quality of the
omelet.

Test Subject: 2
Age: 23
Completion Time: 80 minutes

Felt that the flipping of the omelet was the hardest part
Thought that the flipping of the omelet contributed to it sticking
Omelet did not remain intact. Omelet fell apart in many locations.
About half the potatoes within the omelet were not fully cooked. Test subject thought this
was probably due to the test subject cutting the potatoes into larger slices than called for.
Suggested that decreasing the number of potatoes might help overall quality of the
omelet.
Overall: I was not sure if there should have been fewer potatoes added and more eggs to
the recipe.

Test Subject: 3
Age: 29
Completion Time: 90 minutes

Thought that instructions should include information about where to put the chopped
potato and onion
Thought that a trash bowl might be helpful for discarding eggshells and peelings
Thought that instructions about setting aside pans or bowls might be helpful
Suggested making a note about the thinness of the potato slices
Suggested that measurement for salt be included within food prep instructions
Suggested keeping lid on smaller frying pan while cooking both sides of the omelet.
Omelet did not remain intact. Omelet fell apart in several locations.

Suggested that decreasing the number of potatoes might help overall quality of the
omelet.

Test Subject: 4
Age: 21
Completion Time:
Felt that flipping the omelet was the hardest step.
Wanted another bowl for putting sliced potatoes and diced onions into.
Thought the instructions were clear.
Thought I should list amounts needed (of olive oil, salt, etc.) in the step they were used.
Thought that the omelet did not remain intact due to flipping motion and sticking to the
pan. Thought a ceramic or non-stick pan would help and not be as heavy.
Thought that cutting the potato slices thinner would help.