THE NOVICE DESIGNER GUIDE TO USABILITY TESTING
A well-planned and methodical approach to usability testing will ensure that all your design efforts will pay off with an appealing end-product.
You may be new to this concept and therefore you may need to know a little more about usability testing and why it is so important in product design.
Let us look at why usability testing is so important and how it should be handled to deliver the most useful results.
Recruit the correct participants
One of the biggest challenges of usability testing is making sure you recruit the correct participants. There is no point in using someone in your testing if they are not the correct match for your business needs.
Time should be taken to carefully manage the interviewing process. It is vital to filter the applicants you receive down. To save time in the long run it is good practice to make sure that only the right kind of candidates are attracted in the first place. The use of a recruitment specialist to home in on the recruitment process will help get the right people the first time around.
Measure using effective metrics
You have your goals and objectives set and you have a set of participants ready and raring to go. The next and probably the most important step is setting a series of metrics that can be measured. Think about what you want the testing to achieve and how the results can be measured and compared to one another.
An example of a metric that can be measured effectively for say a piece of software would be to measure how many mouse-clicks it takes the user to reach a part of the software. With a large enough set of testers, you will be able to ascertain how long it takes on average and where problems may arise.
Pinpoint any problems
As a quick overview, there are two main reasons to deploy usability testing when creating a new product or service. The first being the aim of identifying any issues that have remained undetected up until this point and secondly, to gather the input from the outside testers who can help to reveal overlooked opportunities of which the product or service could take.
Usability testing has so much power and leverage when it comes to designing a new product. You are getting valuable first-hand feedback on what the user likes and what the user perhaps does not like. This part of the process is the perfect opportunity to learn more about what the user would like to see available and how they would like it to look in your product or service.
After all, these testers are your target audience and you need to know what they require. It can be daunting hearing a list of critique and suggestions, but it also allows for the development of features which you may never have even thought of but would be hugely advantageous to the product.
Change the perspective
Sometimes the best way to look at your product is to step away and try to think outside of the box. It can be difficult to analyse something clearly when you are so close to the development. It is hard to have that objective view when you are so passionate about the project. Seeing any flaws in the design can be difficult.
Taking yourself away from the development for a moment and looking at your product from a new angle and perspective can be hugely beneficial as you begin to see the product in a new light.
The recruitment of users for testing automatically gives you that new perspective and they can give you valuable insights that are likely to increase the success of the product in the long term.