Usability Testing

What is Usability Testing?

Usability testing is a technique being used in user-centered interaction design in order to evaluate product through testing it into the users. This could be seen as irreplaceable usability practice because it will give direct input whether how real users would use the system. This is considered to be in contrast with the usability inspection methods wherein experts would use different methods in evaluating user interface without having to involve the users.

In addition, usability testing focuses with measuring human-made products capacity in terms of meeting the intended purpose. Some of the products that would commonly benefit from this kind of testing are consumer products, foods, web applications and sites, documents, devices and computer interfaces. Usability testing indeed measures the usability or the ease of use of a certain object or set of objects wherein general human and computer interaction studies would attempt formulating universal principles.

How to do it?

If you have already planned your test and you have also recruited test participants then its tie to conduct the test. In order to do so, you must choose which moderating technique that is right for the test then set up the equipment and space and make sure that you should consider pilot test before testing with having actual participants.

Moderating Techniques would include the following:

  • Concurrent Think Aloud or CTA which is used in order to understand the thoughts of participants once they interact with product through having them think aloud as they work. It has this goal of encouraging participants to keep running stream of consciousness once they work.
  • In Retrospective Think Aloud or RTA wherein the moderator would ask the participants to retrace the steps once the session is complete. Most of the time participants will watch a video replaying their actions which doesn’t contain patterns that are eye-gaze.
  • Concurrent Probing or CP would need that once participants work on with certain tasks once they say or do something interesting and unique the researcher would now ask follow up questions.
  • Retrospective Probing or RP would need waiting up until the session is already completed and so ask questions about the actions and thoughts of the participants.

Before the idea of conducting the said usability test, there is a need to make sure that you have almost all the needed materials, documentation and consents checked and prepared. You could run the pilot test at least a day or two before the first session allowing you to have time dealing with any technical issues.

You should bear in mind that usability testing is considered not just a milestone that should be checked off during project schedule. There is a need to have a goal why they are testing and implementing the rules as well.

Benefits of Usability Testing

There are indeed numbers of benefits that usability testing could offer. Some of these benefits are the following:

  • Learn whether the participants are able to complete specific tasks successfully
  • Identify whether how long it would take to complete the specified tasks
  • Find out whether participants are satisfied with your site and some other products or services
  • Identify also the changes needed in order to improve user experience, satisfaction and performance as well
  • Analyse the performance in order to see whether it meets the usability of the devices

— Slimane Zouggari