June 9, 2015
Usability testing is a method for testing the ease of using any technique or program by allowing real users to use it. During the test users will be required to complete tasks while being under the observation of the researcher(s). The researcher(s) will observe where the users face issues and confusion. The focus will be to find any trends in usability issues.
Types of Usability Testing
There are different types of usability tests:
1. Comparative Usability Testing
An example of comparative usability is the comparison of usability between different websites. These tests are usually performed for comparing your site with competitor sites. It is also used for comparing different designs to determine which one offers best user experience.
2. Explorative Usability Testing
Explorative usability testing is used when launching new products. It is usually constructed even before the product is launched. It is performed for determine what content and functions a product must have to meet the needs of targeted audience. The key is to find any gaps in the market so that they could be exploited.
3. Usability Evaluation
This will involve testing a new or an existing service and it can be conducted before or after launch. It will test an updated design to check if it provides a better user experience (UX) and is intuitive. The goal is to make sure that any potential problems get highlighted and addressed before the launching of the product.
Different Stages of Usability Tests
The following are the main stages in usability tests:
Selection of the Subjects – There are several crucial aspects to selecting your subjects for the test. They shouldn’t be related to the company or the researchers. They shouldn’t be introduced to the company name or brand name.
Pre-Usability Testing – This will involve putting the subjects at complete ease. They should feel that they are using the service at home. The testing should be performed in an area where they feel comfortable. Avoid using the terms like “market research” or “usability test.”
Starting the Test – The user must become familiar with the environment before the test starts. Get initial feedback from the subjects about what they expect from the service and what they would want it to be like.
Setting Tasks – Set the tasks which will be essential for the success of the service. These tasks should be able to get your audience to of what you want them to do. You can also ask users to suggest tasks. It could not only help provide you indications about the expectations and needs of your users, it could also provide insights into new proprieties and functionalities.
Some of the other important aspects of usability tests include:
- Wording and presentation of the tasks
- Behaviour during testing
- Post-usability testing
Post usability test will involve gathering all the information once the tasks have been completed. This will help you in determining if the service met the expectations and whether the subject’s view of the service/company/brand has changed after the test.
When conducting tests, make sure to ask for suggestions. This will help users know that you value their views and opinions. It can also help you improve your service.