Usability Testing 101 - an introduction


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An introduction to usability and why usability is important to business and organizations.

Published in: Technology

Usability Testing 101 - an introduction

  1. 1. Elizabeth Snowdon Business / Web Analyst Consultant
  2. 2. Why does usability matter What is usability Planning a usability test Types of usability studies Q&A
  3. 3. Senior Business / Web Analyst Consultant Over 10 years experience in high-technology companies leading software implementations, usability testing and web site design projects Conducting usability tests since 2003 Contact Info ◦ ◦ Email:
  4. 4. Usability can save time, money and lives On the web, usability is a precondition for survival On commercial off the shelf software applications, usability can determine market share
  5. 5. Signs at the time of the March 2, 2007 bus accident
  6. 6. Usability Professionals Association ◦ Is an approach that incorporates direct user feedback throughout the development cycle in order to reduce costs and create products and tools that meet user needs Steve Krug, author of Don’t Make Me Think ◦ “..making sure that something works well: that a person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can use the thing --- for it’s intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated”
  7. 7. Increased productivity Decreased training and support costs Increased sales and revenues Reduced development time and costs Reduced maintenance costs Increased customer satisfaction Source: web site
  8. 8. Focus on users’ needs, tasks, and goals Invest in initial research and requirements ◦ Identify your target audience and observe them ◦ Let users define product requirements Iterative design process Observe real target users using the system
  9. 9. is a technique used to evaluate a product by testing it on users. test users will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes. Goal ◦ identify any usability problems ◦ collect quantitative data on participants' performance ◦ determine participant's satisfaction with the product
  10. 10. 1. Plan user tests 2. Conduct user tests 3. Analyze findings 4. Present findings 5. Modify and retest designs
  11. 11. Purpose Problem statement/test objectives User profile Method (test design) Task list Test environment/equipment Test monitor role Evaluation measures (data to be collected) Report contents and presentation Source: Rubin: "Handbook of Usability Testing", chapter 5
  12. 12. Paper prototype HTML prototype Live site or application Competitor’s site or application Brand new site or application
  13. 13. test early and test often identify problems before they get coded When validating claims regarding your product or against competitors
  14. 14. during the development of a product to mould or improve the product Iterative Output Usability problems and suggested fixes Highlight videos
  15. 15. At the end of a development stage To measure or validate the usability of a product "How usable is this product" To compare against competitor products or usability metrics To generate data to support marketing claims about usability Output Statistical measures of usability Reports or white papers
  16. 16. Observe user behavior Listen to user feedback Facilitator stays quiet, observes, take notes Test one user at a time Mainly qualitative
  17. 17. Source: Jakob Nielsen 6-8 users per test or 5 users spread over multiple tests little ROI in testing more than 9 users
  18. 18. Moderator / Note-taker ◦ Screen sharing: WebEx or web conferencing tool ◦ Recording: Morae, Camtasia ◦ Speakerphone Participant ◦ High speed internet access ◦ Speakerphone or headset telephone for more info, go to Remote Testing Presentation
  19. 19. Decide what to test ◦ What are your objectives Recruit users ◦ Who is your target audience? ◦ Write a screener Write tasks that meet your objectives
  20. 20. Understand requirements ◦ What do users want to accomplish? ◦ What does the company want to accomplish? Determine the goals ◦ What tasks does the web site or application support? Decide on the area of focus ◦ Tasks that have the most impact on your site ◦ Typical tasks ◦ Most critical tasks
  21. 21. First impression questions ◦ What is your impression of this home page or application? Exploratory task ◦ Open-ended / research-oriented Directed tasks ◦ Specific / answer-oriented
  22. 22. Task success Task time Errors Efficiency ◦ Number of steps required to perform a task Self-reported metrics ◦ Likert scale ◦ Do you prefer A or B?
  23. 23. Tullis, Albert (2009), Measuring the User Experience . Rubin, Jeff (1994), Handbook of Usability Testing. Jakob Nielsen Usability Professionals Association Jeff Sauro – Quantitative Usability STC usability site Nielsen, Jakob, and Landauer, Thomas K.: "A mathematical model of the finding of usability problems," Proceedings of ACM INTERCHI'93 Conference (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 24-29 April 1993), pp. 206-213.
  24. 24. Any questions? Feel free to contact me at if have any further questions or would like to explore the idea of setting up a usability test in your organization.
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