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What is usability? Why does it matter?

 

Background

Usability testing refers to the evaluation of a product or service by testing it with actual users. While usability testing can take many forms, the aim is to test how well a product aligns with the intended user goals and needs.

 

 

What is usability?

 

  • Intuitive design: was it easy to understand?
  • Ease of learning: was it easy to navigate?
  • Efficiency of use: was it easy to use?
  • Memorability: is the user likely to remember how to use it?
  • Error frequency and severity: was an error encountered?
  • Subjective satisfaction: is the user happy?

 

 

Why does usability matter?

Design is an inherently collaborative process. Throughout a project lifecycle, team members often become fatigued, which leads to an inability to identify subtle errors in an experience and inevitably, user error. Usability testing provides team members with highly valuable, unbiased opinions that improve design quality.

Usability is a necessary condition for success. If a website is difficult to use, users leave. If users leave, businesses fail. The job of a project team is to design a product that satisfies user needs and provides them with the necessary information as quickly as possible.

 

Goals of usability testing

  1. Determine design inconsistencies and usability problem areas that may cause user error.
  2. Collect quantitative data on participants’ performance, including drop off rates, time to completion, load time and more.
  3. Determine user satisfaction with the product and likelihood to recommend to a friend.
  4. Establish baseline user performance and user-satisfaction levels for future usability evaluations.

 

 

Usability evaluation methods

 Remote Usability Testing

    • Utilize UserTesting.com. We can conduct a test within an hour. Test can be moderated if we feel the project requires user handholding or additional explanation.
  • In-Person Interview
    • Participants can be either clients, recruited via email, or non-clients, recruited via Twitter. During the interview, we first ask users a series of exploratory questions, followed by a series of test tasks.
  • Focus Group
  • Eye-Tracking Study
    • Eye tracking studies determine whether you are focusing a user’s attention in the right place on a webpage.
  • Heuristic Evaluation
    • In a heuristic evaluation, we review either a competitors’ site or a sub-set of our own site for accepted usability principles.
  • Card Sorting
  • Satisfaction Surveys

 

 

Usability Testing Steps

 

  1. Identify purpose of test
  2. Identify appropriate usability testing method
  3. Define test tasks
  4. Recruit participants
  5. Administer test
  6. Administer follow up questions
  7. Compile preliminary test findings
  8. Write final report

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Request for Usability Testing

 

Your name:

Date:

 

 

Please answer the following questions to provide a clear picture of your test overview and objectives:

 

Purpose of Usability Test

 

  • What are you hoping to learn from usability testing?
  • What are you testing? (Mobile application, desktop website, paper prototype, etc.)

 

 

Technology Needs

 

  • Are you testing a mobile or desktop application?
  • If mobile, are you targeting iOS or Android?
  • What browsers are you targeting? (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)

 

 

When would you like your usability testing to begin?

 

  • Please provide approximate dates.

 

 

Target User Profile

 

  • What is your target demographic?
  • Do you want to test customers or non-customers?

 

 

Please list your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

(e.g. conversion rate increase of 2%, higher customer satisfaction scores, etc).

 

 

Please provide any additional information