This blog post is the third part in my series on how to write smarter with the Ephox Cognitive Assistant. If you’ve just tuned into the discussion, I recommend you start from the beginning.
We put our Cognitive Assistant to the test using the Validately service, and the results were astonishing.
“This is a great concept! I love the idea of a search engine running in the background, finding information to strengthen my writing.”
In October 2016, we ran an unmoderated observational research study to test the usability and utility of the Ephox Cognitive Assistant editor extension. In this experiment, 20 participants were given a writing task and asked to enrich their writing using the technology.
The task prompted participants to write a blog post about an imagined trip to New York City, and to provide information about:
- The city
- Any attractions, landmarks, shows, movies or restaurants
- Any famous sports teams based in New York City
The test task intentionally did not prompt the participants on how to achieve the task. We were interested in exploring the natural way in which participants would interact with the Cognitive Assistant.
Users find it intuitive, and useful
“Looking at this cognitive assistant, that is interesting. The internet tells me a lot, about what New York is about, and I can insert it right here. It gives me a lot of extra information that I need, and it makes writing very simple because it’s integrated.”
We found that all participants were able to intuitively interact with the sidebar to insert links, images or rich media panels into their writing. A majority (85%) of participants reported that the integrated Cognitive Assistant was useful to them.
[On opening cognitive assistant] “Oh that’s cool. It shows me facts about the Statue of Liberty. . . I like this system, how you can get facts on what you are typing about.”
Another participant said:
“The New York Giants … actually I don’t follow sports, so I will use the cognitive enhancer ([to get some info on this topic)].”
Users know what they’re looking for
Since conducting the experiment in late 2016, we came across other interesting revelations. One of the most important points of feedback from the user testing was that people wanted to be able to customize their own “search” terms. We soon discovered that participants considered this task a “make or break” feature for the editor. Shortly after, we included Search into the latest version of the Cognitive assistant.
A summary video shows excerpts from the user test results below.
We all know the importance of user testing. Like you, we sometimes get feedback that indicates our assumptions are wrong, or that the ideas are good but the execution is lacking. However, the Cognitive Assistant was well received. We’re excited about this, and believe the future of content creation involves cognitive technologies that will greatly improve the way we all communicate.