Usability Testing Research and Refresh
This would be my second time considering usability testing for a project so I already have a bit of an idea of how it goes but for a refresher I looked at the book “Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug which had been suggested reading in a couple modules now.
I learned a lot from this book. His first law of usability is that the overriding principle of digital design is to make actions as clear and easy to complete as possible so that users know immediately what to do. This could be make the wording of call to action buttons more clear and to the point, or the overall layout of your site for instance. Having things self evident just makes everything seem better. Although sometimes you can’t make things self-evident but if that’s the case he said you should always make things self explanatory.
Other things I learned about usability testing were the difference between focus groups and usability tests, it always makes your product better, doing it with one user is better than none at all, thinking broader scope of users, it’s an iterative process and nothing beats it. Also there’s no good excuse not to among other things relating to how one would actually go about testing.
Lat time I did testing, my target user base was 8-13 year old kids so my research on usability testing for that was more focused on how to test with kids. This time though I had to focus more on understanding the process for testing young adults aged 18-25.
Here are some of the things I looked at that helped me better understand usability testing…
- Usability TestiNG – usability.gov
- How to Conduct Usability Testing in Six Steps – toptal.com
My Usability Testing
For conducting my usability testing I managed to convince a couple of my friends back home to be my guinea pigs.
I only recently discovered that Adobe XD has a mobile application?! Which was great because coincidentally I had set the screen size to fit my phone perfectly. One design problem I noticed immediately while setting up my prototype was that I did account for the bit of screen that’s cut out at the top of the newer i phone so I went and fixed that straight off the bat.
I had two friends roped in and I my process wasn’t as formal or professional as you’d get for an actual real life Usability testing for an actual live product that people really use but it worked for me in terms of seeing if my app works as it should and if things make sense to the user as it should.
We went out for lunch and then because I had them both there together I didn’t want to run through the same tasks for both of them because then for one the tasks wouldn’t be fresh but at this point I only had the one flow built so instead what I did is I went through the tasks with user A and then I had a bunch of elements of each screen listed out in my sketch books and asked user B what they think each thing means or what content will they access by clicking each button. The comments I’m not sure are a proper usability testing technique but it’s sort of a derivative of more professional methods just simplified, this though is just to see if what makes sense as a designer of the app line up with a users assumptions.
The tasks were pretty problem free across the board which actually disappointed me a bit because last time I did testing and something went seriously wrong it was actually quite invigorating as it was like a real time expression of why usability testing is so valuable. That said though, the fact that everything ran through smoothly even down to the logout button being hidden away in the burger menu, was actually really validating for a ui designer.
So onto User B, this was an interesting process as I needed to give the user a bit more context as to the actual purpose of the app before starting out but with her lack of full context, she was actually able to give me a few ideas of features that could enrich the app a bit more like being able to reflect on your day in the journal and being able to track different things. These are ideas I continue to consider as I keep fleshing out my prototype.
So overall, even though it wasn’t accurate to the professional world of ux, it did what it needed to do and I found out the things I needed to know and then some so I’d say this was a successful attempt at user testing.