Usability testing

Usability testing

Usability testing is the process of assessing a product using real users. Usually, participants will attempt to execute standard activities during a test while observers watch, listens, and take notes.

This study aims to evaluate the product’s usability, gather qualitative and quantitative information, and assess participant satisfaction.

What’s UX usability testing?

UX (user experience) is fundamental to a product’s success, therefore it’s critical to put the user at the forefront of all design and development decisions from the start. A product must fulfill end-user needs in a way that is intuitive, simple, and elegant. Just meeting those goals is not enough. Every product must provide an outstanding user experience.

A vital part of good user experience design is usability testing. It enables you to test hypotheses, support research, and prevent unpleasant shocks or disappointments during late development or go-to-market. The only way to ensure that a product will deliver what customers are ready to pay for is through usability testing.

What are the 3 types of usability testing?

Moderated testing: In this type of user testing, a moderator who is knowledgeable about facilitation, quality assurance, and the product itself guides testers through test cases. In addition to collecting end-user input, the moderator will also compile comments and observations. Moderated testing can be done in person or remotely.

Usability Labs: Usability labs are planned events when end-user testers are hired and pre-defined testing is carried out on certain functions. Using qualitative and quantitative techniques, end-user preferences and behavioral information are acquired throughout these testing sessions. Usability labs need more preparation, but the results are more thorough and comprehensive.

Guerilla Testing: This kind of testing involves approaching potential end users and asking them to participate in a brief (10–15 minute) sessions that are focused on certain test cases or objectives. Testing costs are often low since guerilla testing may be as informal as approaching people in a coffee shop. The breadth, extent, and focus of the input, nevertheless, might vary.

What types of usability testing are there?

The primary usability testing techniques are briefly described in the section below:

Hallway Testing

This type of testing implies the use of random people to test the website instead of using experts who have experience and training in website testing.

Remote Usability Testing

You can test a website’s usability testing using users from different nations and time zones. Occasionally, you can use video conferencing for remote testing, while other times, the user and the evaluator work independently.

Expert Review

A professional in the area is consulted to assess the website’s usability. When evaluating a site, the expert may be brought to a testing facility or the testing may be done remotely with automated findings for review.

Paper Prototype Testing

Simply said, this usability testing technique entails producing rough, even hand-sketched, interface designs that you can use as prototypes or models for a design.

Questionnaires and Interviews

Interviews allow the observer to pose direct questions to the participants because they are one-on-one encounters. Similarly, using questionnaires, the observers can pose questions.

Do-it-Yourself Walkthrough

In this method, the observer creates plausible scenarios to simulate a usability test, as the name suggests. Then, just like a user, they proceed through the process themselves.

Controlled Experiments

A strategy that resembles scientific research and usually entails a side-by-side evaluation of two items and meticulous statistical balance in a lab.

Automated Usability Evaluation

To automate online usability testing, you can create numerous research papers and prototypes, all with varying degrees of success.

What isn’t usability testing?

The techniques listed below are not categorized as usability testing:

  • A/B testing: In contrast to usability testing, which looks at user behavior, A/B testing involves comparing various iterations of a website to see which performs best.
  • Acceptance testing: Acceptance testing is a technical test for quality assurance, not an assessment of how user-friendly and effective the product is.
  • Focus groups: When doing a focus group researchers assemble a small group of people to talk about a certain subject.
  • Surveys: Surveys are a tool for measuring user experience and can be employed in conjunction with usability testing to get user feedback.
  • Heatmaps: Heatmaps are a wonderful way to watch and objectively measure behavior on your website, but since they report on user behaviors on average, they aren’t exactly usability testing.

Examples of Usability testing

Here you can find some real-world examples of usability testing:

Movista

Movista is a workforce management program used by manufacturers and retailers’ suppliers. A smartphone app, aids users in planning and carrying out duties both in-store and out in the field.

Feature

Movista is poised to introduce new messaging, chad, and announcements offerings as a part of a broader redesign of its entire platform. This will improve communication between those working in-store and those out in the field.

Usability testing strategy:

Due to the late stage of the development of Movista’s new communications function, they tested a high-fidelity prototype.

They conducted these tests to address any remaining usability problems, which can be more difficult to spot during the process.

They aimed to obtain more statistically significant findings to confirm their designs before launch by conducting the test on a larger sample size. The fundamental structure of the usability test involved giving participants a fairly precise task to complete before asking them an open-ended question about their experience.

The group would rank people’s comments and then consider alternative options if there was a steady demand for them.

They ultimately decided to move the stage of picking a recipient to far earlier in the process based on the insights they gained from the final findings and feedback.

McDonald’s

One of the biggest fast-food restaurant businesses in the world, McDonald’s serves an astounding 62 million people per day. McDonald’s, however, was slow to adopt the mobile revolution as its app for smartphones just debuted in August 2015.

In light of the opposition, McDonald’s needed to catch up. They chose to work with UK-based SimpleUsability before releasing their app in the UK to find any usability issues. Twenty usability tests were to be conducted as part of the test strategy, with task scenarios that spanned the whole customer experience from beginning to end. 225 end-user interviews were included in the test strategy.

Several usability problems were found during the investigation, including:

  • Poor call-to-action button display and functionality
  • Issues with communication between restaurants and the mobile apps
  • The overall user experience was hampered by the absence of order personalization and favoriting

SoundCloud

With more than 175 million unique monthly listeners, SoundCloud is the top music and audio distribution network in the world. To continuously test the usability of the SoundCloud mobile app, SoundCloud recruited test IO, a usability testing company with offices in Berlin.

SoundCloud’s strict development schedule necessitated the necessity for ongoing human user testing to guarantee that all new upgrades function properly on all devices and OS versions.

The main goals of SoundCloud’s ongoing usability tests were to:

  • Offer mobile app users a user-friendly listening experience
  • Find and fix software bugs before the general release
  • Streamline the process of creating a mobile application

They found over 150 usability flaws, including 11 critical ones, in the initial usability assessments. Internal bug testing probably wouldn’t have uncovered these problems. This is because they used users from a variety of devices and locales to test the software.

A testing scale this vast would have been exceedingly costly and challenging to accomplish without remote usability testing.

Halo: Combat Evolved

The first video game in the wildly popular Halo franchise was “Halo: Combat Evolved.” Within ten years of its release, Microsoft was able to sell more than 46 million copies of the Halo video games worldwide, contributing to video game and hardware revenues of more than $5 billion.

The Halo team assembled a group of console gamers to test the prototype of their game to see if they enjoyed playing it. And if they weren’t having fun, they were interested in finding out why not.

They placed the test participants in a sizable outdoor environment for the usability sessions, where opponents were waiting for them on the other side of the open area.

What the designers of the game expected:

They expected that when players sprinted closer to the adversaries, major combat rife with excitement and action would ensue.

What happened:

The test subjects would maintain the greatest possible distance from the adversaries and fire from a distance across the outdoor area rather than placing themselves at risk by moving closer. Although it was a secure and successful technique, the players found it to be quite dull and uninteresting.

The solution:

To warn players when they were too far from adversaries, the aiming indication in the center of the screen changed in size and color.

Website usability testing?

Website usability testing is the process of assessing your website’s functioning and design by watching visitors’ actions and behavior while they carry out particular tasks.

What methods of usability testing are there?

Moderated + in-person usability testing

The most control is provided in-person, moderated tests. They require a lot of resources, but they are great for gathering comprehensive data.

  • Lab usability testing: This kind of usability testing is conducted inside a lab that has been specially designed for it. While a skilled moderator watches and observes, test participants work on computers or mobile devices to accomplish tasks.
  • Guerilla testing: In this type of testing, people are randomly selected from a public area. They are requested to do a brief usability test in return for a gift card or another kind of reward.

Moderated + remote

You need a skilled moderator to conduct moderated and remote usability tests, using a computer or phone.

  • Phone interviews: In a phone usability test, the user’s online activity is remotely recorded while the moderator gives participants spoken instructions on how to accomplish tasks on their computers and gather information.
  • Card sorting: It involves writing topics on digital note cards and letting people organize and categorize the cards. They discuss their reasoning in a debriefing session led by the moderator after sorting the cards.

Unmoderated + remote

These passive testing methods, which mainly rely on computer programs, shed light on how people interact with a website in its “natural habitat”.

  • Session recording: This type of usability testing is using software to capture behaviors like mouse clicks, movement, and scrolling from actual (but anonymous) users.
  • Online testing tools and platforms: Numerous online testing tools enable you to observe user activity on your website from a distance. Some of those platforms let you pay participants to take quick tests, while others keep an eye on the actions of actual users as they navigate your website.

Unmoderated + in-person

You can administer unmoderated in-person tests in a controlled physical environment without a test administrator.

  • Observation: Researchers can observe participants’ facial expressions and body language during observational testing without the moderator’s involvement.
  • Eye-tracking: Using a specialized pupil-tracking gadget attached to a computer, researchers track and analyze users’ eye movements during eye-tracking testing. The computer can produce heatmaps or movement pathways diagrams by examining where users focus their attention when asked to perform a task.

Why Usability testing should be a priority

The danger of creating the incorrect product is decreased by conducting usability testing properly, when necessary, with the appropriate group of individuals, saving time, money, and other valuable resources. In other terms, if done early on, when the product is still in the paper prototyping stage, it identifies issues when they are simple and inexpensive to resolve. Additionally, when carried out on a mature product, it aids in understanding user success rates and the time required to perform tasks.

10 benefits of usability testing

Your close familiarity with your website or app may make it difficult for you to spot some usability difficulties that unbiased users from the outside may notice—helping you identify problems that you might have otherwise overlooked.

Using usability testing can help you to:

  1. Validate your prototype
  2. Make sure your product lives up to expectations.
  3. Determine the problems with complex flows
  4. Additional numerical data points
  5. Detect small mistakes
  6. Develop compassion
  7. Get buy-in for change
  8. Improve the user experience
  9. Saving money
  10. Save time and resources

Usability testing for Mobile?

Mobile app usability testing involves evaluating a mobile app’s usability on actual users. It demonstrates how simple the mobile application is to use and explains how it can better assist a brand’s main marketing goals.

Usability testing for Desktop?

You can do desktop application usability testing to uncover faults and defects in software and identify areas that you need to strengthen.

What are some Usability Testing interview questions?

There are basic questions that can be useful in every testing scenario, even though each case necessitates a new collection of usability test questions.

The following are three major categories of user testing inquiries:

  • Screening questions: a set of inquiries designed to assess a test taker’s qualifications.
  • In-test questions: a sequence of inquiries focused on your test objective. There are both general and particular inquiries regarding your product in the in-test questions.
  • Post-test questions: a series of inquiries you make after the meeting. These could involve elaborating queries.

How to do Usability testing?

A researcher (referred to as a “facilitator” or “moderator”) encourages a participant to complete tasks during a usability-testing session, typically utilizing one or more particular user interfaces. The researcher monitors the participant’s behavior and hears feedback as they complete each task.

How is usability testing performed?

Here are five steps on how you can perform usability testing

  1. Make task analyses and metrics decisions

You must first determine your metrics. Usability testing can reveal a wide range of problems, but if it isn’t targeted to identify particular metrics, it won’t be a good use of your time or money.

  1. Choose the ideal test type

Usability testing comes in a variety of shapes and levels of effort and expense. The measurements and activities you developed in the first phase will determine the type of test that works best for your website.

  1. Locate Reliable Participants

A UserTesting poll found that 41% of businesses hire between six and ten users, while 33% hire five or fewer.

  1. Decide When, Where, and Who

The decisions you have to take from here are:

  • Remote or in person
  • Moderated or unmoderated
  1. Repeat

Even though there is some debate regarding its contribution to innovation, iterative testing is the secret to great usability. What does iteration in the context of design mean? It implies that your work is never over; after developing a website, you continue to

How do you prepare for usability testing?

Recruiting people, assigning team roles and tasks, preparing or utilizing other forms, producing questionnaires, using standard post-test questionnaires, designing or using qualitative feedback methods, and testing the test are some of the actions involved in preparation for usability testing.

What are some business benefits of usability testing?

You can develop your product to provide an ideal user experience the more knowledge you have about how your users interact with it.

The following are some of the main benefits of usability testing in the creation of apps:

  • Save a ton of time and money: You may check that your app works properly and that its primary features are clear to use by conducting user testing. As a result, you may quickly find and fix problems with the user journeys early in the initial design rather than investing in a final project that doesn’t work out.
  • Find excellent opportunities: More than ever, they want convenience. If the possibility exists, users who wish to acquire a specific product through their app but are unable to do so because the ordering process is flawed or complicated would undoubtedly order it from a rival. You can find user annoyances through user testing that otherwise would go unnoticed.
  • Assure ease of use: Even though participants have no trouble using the application, a usability test can show how long it took them to figure it out if they ran into any problems, and how many steps they had to take to complete a particular task.
  • Obtain a significant competitive advantage: With so many applications available, you will need to go above and beyond to give your consumers an app they will select over another. The development of a product that goes above performance and gives a much-improved user experience is aided by usability testing.

How to conduct usability testing?

With the aid of this strategy, you can comprehend how simple it is for a user to utilize the application, how adaptable it is with controls, and how capable it is of achieving its goals.

Here are some steps on how to conduct usability testing:

Create the objective and purpose

Ask yourself what the test’s purpose is before you begin the actual testing. Is it the gathering of user data or the verification of user behavior when using the interface? The testing format will be determined by the purpose.

Select the test method

Select the testing technique that best fits your product taking into account the budget, people resources, and stage of product development.

Create the test strategy

Establish the testing process’s objective to keep the goals succinct.

List the queries and assignments

After the strategy has been decided, it is time to get ready for the test itself. Give the users a list of the responsibilities and inquiries that will help them get there.

Select a location and space

Consider the ensuing organizational issues:

“Where will the testing take place?”

“Will the testing be held online or onsite?”

Select the moderator

Select a person who interacts with the user and controls the entire testing procedure, leading the user every step of the way.

Determine the collaborators, helpers, and observers

Engage assistants, observers, and collaborators who can help you conduct the test in an objective and transparent manner for full efficiency.

Locate and select the participants

Decide who your target market is, then choose groups of users to test the product with. Ensure that you hire individuals who are not involved in product development. You’ll require 5-7 users.

Assemble the test materials

To perform the test, assemble the testing prototypes.

Hold a short warmup

By enquiring about their expectations for the project, you can try to break the ice.

Give users an assignment and a goal

While you shouldn’t try to sway the user’s opinion of the product, you should make sure they are fully informed of the objectives and tasks they must accomplish.

Keep an eye on how the consumer uses the app

Testing serves a purpose that goes beyond merely achieving objectives. Another important factor is how the user navigates the app flow.

Summarize the user’s experience

Gather the testing data so that you can further evaluate it with product managers and designers.

Analyze data and observations

Be prepared for unforeseen test findings. Analyze the data, and prepare to make significant adjustments to the current products.

How to do usability testing for a web application?

If your main method of doing business is online, your website is your online real estate. However, the likelihood of a bad user experience increases if the website doesn’t follow contemporary web design principles. The usability and intuitiveness of your website should be excellent regardless of how or why users go there.

QAs put a website through several user scenarios that are likely to be encountered when using it as part of online usability testing or web usability testing. It entails carrying out several user behaviors that new website visitors typically take.

Another QA observes user actions as they are being carried out to assess how usable the site is. Feedback is given right away since any problems that arise throughout the testing process can be seen and noted by the observer right away.

How to do usability testing for a mobile application?

Usability, according to research, is crucial to the success of mobile apps. In reality, a recurring theme across popular mobile phone applications is that users tend to think of them as simple to use, user-friendly, and quicker to complete tasks.

Mobile application usability testing can be done using one of two main approaches. Each has advantages and cons of its own, as is obvious. Which are:

  1. Laboratory-based usability testing
  2. Remote usability testing

The “Components” of a usability test conducted in a lab

In lab-based usability assessment, test subjects are observed as they complete prescribed tasks on a mobile device.

The Test Method

The testing process can be divided into the following six steps:

  1. Welcome and sign the permission form
  2. Preliminary interview
  3. Completing the test requirements
  4. A post-test survey
  5. Interview after test
  6. Debriefing

It’s critical to remember that usability testing is more than just a task to cross off the project schedule. The team should have a purpose for testing, and then put the findings into practice.

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