A practical guide to usability testing: What you need to know


User testing

Usability testing allows you to assess the success and ease of use of your products, such as a website, before entering the real markets. In highly competitive business environments, it is paramount to ensure that your prototypes and products are up to par with the usability standards of your respective industry. Here’s a practical guide that will inform you all about usability testing, its various types, and its benefits for your business.

What is usability testing?

Suppose you want to introduce a new website for your business. Before releasing the final version in the mass consumer markets of your respective industry, you would prefer to get some insight. And for that, usability testing is a must.

Usability testing allows potential users (or customers) to use your product, such as a website, so that they can suggest points of improvement or usability issues. Therefore, the ultimate goal is to focus on  providing a better consumer experience.

Types of usability testing methods

There are two main types of usability testing methods: moderated and un-moderated. Moderated usability testing occurs when the test participants are in contact (sometimes observation) with a moderator/facilitator in person or at a remote location. Moderators answer the questions of the test participants in real-time and define further tasks and activities with the prototype.

Conversely, unmoderated usability testing lacks direct supervision and may require assessment of the results at a later date. The test participants are usually at the location of their choice but may sometimes be in a lab or any other controlled environment.

Here are a few specific types of usability testing methods that you should consider when you want to provide a better user experience.

 

  • Lab Testing
  • Guerilla Testing
  • Card Sorting
  • Phone/Remote Interviews
  • Tree Testing (Reverse Card Sorting)

 

Advantages of usability testing for your business

Firstly, usability testing provides you an opportunity to see the potential success of your new or re-designed product or service (e.g., website) without spending a lot of money. You can learn the potential limitations and setbacks of your product design before it makes its way to the market or reaches your customers.

Secondly, there is convenience in performing usability testing. Apart from the lack of substantial testing costs, you can easily record and analyze the data at your flexibility. Taking notes, recording interviews through digital media, and conducting questionnaire-based assessments are handy tasks.

Moreover, you are able to gain deep insights into consumer interaction patterns by learning customer behavior. Plus, you can cater to their needs and preferences in a better fashion. Furthermore, with intuitive designs and high usability, your products enjoy a higher demand in the market.

Lastly, the results from usability testing are unbiased and accurate as you perform them in a controlled environment. The only condition that moderated testing implies is that the test participants act natural for accurate results and assessments.

 

How do you conduct a Usability test?

Here’s a brief outline of how you may conduct a usability test for your new/updated product:

  • Construct a prototype
  • Devise a test plan
  • Find the right target audience/test participants (that may be the potential customers of your business)
  • Complete the test
  • Record results and initiate analysis
  • Comprehend the potential features, usability issues, errors, mistakes, etc.
  • Make Improvements and perform an after-test inquiry

 

Conclusion

Usability testing plays a significant role in addressing the success of a new/updated product or service. Therefore, it subsidizes the work of your user experience and design teams when they are working on the improvement of prototypes.

 

Related Reading:

How to set up your first remote usability test on TryMyUI

Your Guide for Result-Driven Moderated Testing

Moderated Testing Vs. AB Testing – What’s the Difference

A case study in competitive usability testing (Part 1)

A case study in competitive usability testing (Part 2)