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Usability Testing

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Table of Contents

The aim behind usability testing is to get people (users) to interact with your product or service (it could be an app, a mobile device, etc.) and share their feedback about the same. The scale of usability testing is completely dependent on the topic at hand as well your requirements from the test. It’s necessary to conduct usability tests to ensure that interacting with your offerings is a satisfying experience for your users.

01

What is usability testing?

It is a technique by which one can test and measure the functionalities of their app, website or other products (typically digital offerings), by observation. Researchers monitor how a user attempts to complete tasks/achieve objectives with their product. 

The aim behind usability testing is to find out interactions which confuse users and to improve overall product experience.

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02

Why is usability testing important?

Usability tests help companies identify how their products will work in the real world. It’s great at picking up little issues which are difficult to identify during regular QA testing. In-depth knowledge possessed by a business’ employees often blind them to certain flaws about their products, as they already know their way around it. 

By getting the layperson to test your your offerings, one can 

  • Observe how long it takes users to complete certain tasks
  • Gauge if users are able to complete their intended tasks
  • Measure customer satisfaction with their product
  • Track performance metrics and analyze if they meet your objectives for usability

Usability testing can come in extremely handy when you’re testing updates, especially for software.

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03

Where can you use usability testing?

Usability testing can and should be implemented multiple times during the design process, and even after it. It can help chart a path for design decisions and user experience down the line. One should never make the mistake of performing usability testing near the end of the product development process as a method to catch bugs. 

Usability testing needs to be started early on during the product development lifecycle so that you can constructively use the feedback for improving on your design decisions.

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04

What are the benefits of usability testing?

Out of all products, websites and mobile apps can benefit the most from usability testing. Real users can help you

Identify issues with flows

  • Any process or task in your app that requires multiple steps can benefit from usability testing as it can help you make the process as intuitive as possible.

Understand if your product is up to your standards

  • Performing tests after your product is complete can help you understand if the finished article lives up to the standards you (and your users) expect from your brand.

Gather data points to which paints a holistic picture of your business

  • Heat maps, phone and online surveys can help figure out the why behind the data you collect. It can be useful to ask your users why they did what they did at certain points.

Catch errors

  • Usability tests are excellent for catching minor errors within your product which build up into major inconveniences. These can include grammatical mistakes, broken URLs and general UI and website errors.

Empathize with your users

  • Ultimately, usability tests can help your team get rid of the tunnel vision that teams usually develop while working on a project and empathize with their users. It’s likely that your users will use your offerings in many different ways and these tests can help cater to unique usage scenarios.
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05

Key elements in usability testing

Facilitator 

A facilitator is the person in charge of guiding people through the usability tests. They deliver instructions, clear user doubts and ask questions of the users. Facilitators are necessary to ensure that your test data is of high quality and can be used to glean actionable insights.

Tasks

In a usability test, tasks are activities that your users will typically perform in their daily usage with your product. It is important that you word your tasks carefully – you want to give enough to go on with, but not provide so much information that the user has no way to figure out their own path.

Participants

Participants are representative of typical users that you can expect. You can choose participants who have already used your product in the past or those who have not used it all. Facilitators guide participants through the survey process.

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06

Usability test survey template

Get to know your users

Q) What is your age?

____________________________

Q) What is the highest level of education that you have completed?

  • High School
  • Undergraduate Degree
  • Post Graduate Degree
  • Middle School
  • Other (Please specify)

Q) What is your profession

_____________________

Q) Have you ever used *insert your product name here*?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know/ Can’t say

Understanding user relationships with your brand

Q) Have you ever used this website before?

  • Yes 
  • No
  • Can’t say

Q) Have you ever used a similar site before? (If yes, please specify in the blank space below)

  • Yes
    _____________
  • No
  • Can’t say

Q) What would lead you to buy product X from brand Y?

____________________

The interaction phase

Q) We noticed that you performed *insert particular interaction or action*. Could you tell use why you did so?

__________________

Q) Did you come across any other technique of performing said task?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Can’t recall

Q) If you answered yes for the previous question, which of the two approaches did you prefer?

  • Option A
  • Option B

Q) How easy would you say it was to perform said task?

  • Very easy
  • Easy
  • Neither easy nor difficult
  • Difficult
  • Very difficult

Q) What did you think about *insert feature or attribute*

  • Loved it
  • Liked it
  • Indifferent
  • Did not like it
  • Hated it

Q) How would you rate your satisfaction with the checkout experience?

  • Extremely satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Dissatisfied
  • Extremely dissatisfied