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A Beginner’s Guide to Usability Testing

Usability testing is an outstanding user experience (UX) research procedure that entails assessing a product or service using real-world users. With usability testing, users will ideally try to perform standard tasks during a test while observers take notes, listen, and monitor the exercise.

Often, the motive is to identify usability problems, gather qualitative and quantitative data, and, more importantly, evaluate users’ satisfaction with the product or service. Developing an efficient, amusing, and effective experience for your customers is crucial.

So, are you new to usability testing and are looking for an in-depth guide to help you test your product, website, or service? If so, here’s a comprehensive beginner’s guide to usability testing:

Different Types of Usability Testing

Generally, there are three main categories of usability testing, namely:

1. Qualitative and Quantitative Testing

Qualitative usability testing is the most fruitful technique for pinpointing problems with the user experience of your product or service. It intends to collect data, insights, and narratives about how individuals use a product or service. Simply put, it’s a more helpful usability testing method than quantitative testing.

On the contrary, quantitative usability testing aims to gather information and define parameters, including the number of errors, task completion rates, and time on task, among others. If you’re looking for a usability testing method for benchmarking, quantitative testing is the ideal alternative.

2. Moderated and Unmoderated Testing

Choosing between moderated and unmoderated types of a usability test is a crucial phase in preparing your usability test. All forms of usability testing are categorized under a moderated or unmoderated technique, and certain forms can work with either technique.

Broadly speaking, the objectives of moderated testing against unmoderated usability testing are similar. It’s only the presence of a facilitator (moderator) – and sometimes the surroundings that change.

3. Remote and In-person Testing

Deciding whether to use an in-person or remote approach when undertaking a usability testing exercise is mostly dependent on what product or service you want to test. Tangible products will normally fall under an in-person usability test. On the contrary, online tools or software will test perfectly under a remote usability test.

What Are the Steps To Performing a Usability Testing?

At this juncture, it’s paramount for you to understand the steps you’ll need when undertaking usability testing for your products or services. They include:

1. Planning

The planning stage is where you have to define the objectives of your usability test. Here, you must determine the system’s fundamental functionalities and goals. Also, you’ll have to allocate tasks to testers that will expose these essential functions to the test. Furthermore, in this stage, you’ll have to select the usability testing method, and the quantity and demographics of usability testers.

2. Recruiting

In this phase, you’ll have to recruit the required number of testers per your usability test plan. It’s advisable to start this phase as soon as possible, as it may take a while before you get perfect testers that suit your demographic and professional profile.

3. Perform the Usability Testing

During this phase, you’ll be required to undertake the actual usability testing and ensure you record the tests for further analysis.

4. Data Evaluation

In this phase, the usability testing data you recorded or collected in the previous step is broadly evaluated to arrive at suitable conclusions. In this phase, you’ll also have to develop practical recommendations for enhancing your product or service’s usability.

5. Reporting

In the final phase, you’ll have to communicate the usability test outcomes to all interested stakeholders, including customers, product designers, project sponsors, and developers, among other stakeholders. For this, you can use tools such as productreportcard.

What Differences Are There Between Usability Testing and User Testing?

The distinction between these two terms is a controversial topic that confuses even some experts in the industry.

Nevertheless, user tests are carried out to substantiate a product’s demand. On the contrary, usability testing evaluates whether or not the final product or service users can execute what they need on an existing prototype. The other difference is that user testing takes place before product development, while usability testing comes at later stages.

Final Word

During a project lifecycle, you can leverage usability testing in different ways. Your company will likely provide a prosperous product if you fulfill the needs and expectations of your users. You can use this guide to understand better the steps, types, and requirements for a successful usability testing project.

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