IxD301 – Usability Testing

IxD301 – Usability Testing

During week 9 we ran through the methods and importance of usability testing. Usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users. Typically, during a test, participants will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes.  The goal is to identify any usability problems, collect qualitative and quantitative data and determine the participant’s satisfaction with the product.

To run an effective usability test, you need to develop a solid test plan, recruit participants, and then analyse and report your findings.

Benefits of Usability Testing

Usability testing lets the design and development teams identify problems before they are coded. The earlier issues are identified and fixed, the less expensive the fixes will be in terms of both staff time and possible impact to the schedule.  During a usability test, you will:

  • Learn if participants are able to complete specified tasks successfully and
  • Identify how long it takes to complete specified tasks
  • Find out how satisfied participants are with your Web site or other product
  • Identify changes required to improve user performance and satisfaction
  • And analyse the performance to see if it meets your usability objectives

Whilst doing further research on usability testing, I came across the Nielson Norman Groups website on usability testing. They explained it very well summarising the ultimate goals as…

They also summarised the main elements of an actual user test…

The blog also explains the different types of Usability tests. Explaining the difference between Qualitative vs Quantitative, and Remote vs In-Person testing.

For my projects during the first semester, I got my younger sister to help me. She was able to point out what I needed to improve on. It’s really useful to see someone with a fresh set of eyes react to your work. I watched as she used my prototype of my app as well as her first time seeing my portfolio site. I was also able to see where I could improve through watching her. It helps you get a better understanding of how people use apps.

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