What is usability testing and how is it different from other research methods and experiments?
Usability testing is a great experiment method that allows you to find out what works in your product and what doesn’t.
Usability tests usually take place in a special kind of lab that allows recordings of the sessions or observing the participant by team members in the other room. Participant gets a product or a prototype and a series of situations that are created to test the usability and intuitivness of the product.
The participant goes through the situations and the designers with other stakeholders are able to see how is their product actually used and what parts should they work on.
1. Set a research goal - write down what you want to achieve through usability testing. Try to be as specific as possible. You can add a few secondary goals as well.
2. Set a date - find a date which will suit your team.
3. Recruit respondents - define the number and the type of respondents you want to recruit (their age, abilities, skills, level of education etc.). You can recruit them by yourself or use help from a recruiting agency. Make sure to let the respondents know about the date and place where the testing will be conducted.
4. Write a scenario - define situations you want to test out. Try out how long does each situation take and set the timing for the usability testing session.
5. Test out a prototype - find out if there aren’t any bugs or mistakes in your prototype or product. Make sure it’s ready for testing.
6. Conduct usability testing - bring your team members to the testing so they can see how the users interact with the product. Don’t forget to record your sessions.
7. Analyze your sessions - find out what worked and what didn’t. Try to visualize the weak spots and bring new ideas from the testing to your team.
8. Make a summary - point out the most important findings and insights and make sure the designers will include them in the product.
There are plenty of articles about usability testing on our blog. If you are interested in this topic, make sure to visit it.
Before investing into a new solution, conducting initial tests with your users can ensure your concept is strong enough to bring into later development stages. This testing phase helps to identify the most efficient solutions to bring forward for development and launch.