Usability Testing - Adding a New Level to Your Toolbox


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How many times have you seen a website or application stumble or crash once it gets to production, despite meeting the requirements perfectly? Have you felt like there was something missing in the development process? In this presentation, Norm Sun will talk about what usability testing is, why you should be doing it, and how you can start incorporating it into your development process.

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Usability Testing - Adding a New Level to Your Toolbox

  1. 1. Usability Testing Adding A New Level To Your Toolbox
  2. 2. About Me •  Working in the field of User Experience since 2010 •  Secretary for the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA), DC Chapter •  Certified Usability Analyst (CUA) •  Technical Business Analyst background
  3. 3. Agenda •  •  •  •  •  •  •  What Is Usability Testing? Why Usability Testing Is Important to a Business Analyst Components of Usability Testing Types of Usability Tests When to Conduct a Usability Test Usability Test Exercises Questions
  4. 4. What Is Usability? People being able to successfully use a product, system, or service and how they expect it to work. Great usability is invisible. Bad usability…you know it when you see it.
  5. 5. Image Credit:
  6. 6. Identifying Usability Issues •  •  •  •  •  High number of errors Significant time-on-task Low customer satisfaction scores Lots of help desk calls / tickets High abandonment rates
  7. 7. What Is Good Usability? •  •  •  •  •  Simple Easy to understand Recognizable Clear purpose Learnable
  8. 8. The 5 E’s •  •  •  •  •  Effective Efficient Engaging Error Tolerant Easy to Learn Image Credit:
  9. 9. Why Do Usability Testing? •  Aligns the customer’s goals with the business goals •  Ignoring small issues can turn into big problems •  If the user is not happy, everyone is unhappy
  10. 10. Usability Testing vs. UAT •  User Acceptance Testing: o  Process of verifying that the deliverable meets the requirements o  Conducted at the end of the development cycle o  Quality control •  Usability Testing: o  Verifies whether an implementation approach meets the user needs o  Conducted at any time during the development cycle o  Does not serve as quality control o  Increases the quality of UAT outputs
  11. 11. Buying A Suit Online
  12. 12. Buying A Suit Online UAT verifies that I can select a suit style, size, and complete my purchase online.
  13. 13. Buying A Suit Online UAT verifies that I can select a suit style, size, and complete my purchase online. Usability Testing can verify: •  How quickly I can purchase a suit online •  How satisfied I am with the online purchase process •  The intuitiveness of the purchase process is for me •  How much the online purchase process will help me recover from an error •  What unforeseen issues I will encounter in the purchase process
  14. 14. What is Success? •  Reduction in hidden downstream maintenance costs (developer time) •  Reduction in training time •  Reduction in help desk support •  Higher task completion rates
  15. 15. Most Importantly… More satisfied users!
  16. 16. When Should You Test? Research Brainstorm Ideas Prototype Test Usability Testing Process Implement
  17. 17. Usability Testing Cycle Develop Tasks Create a More Usable Product Watch Your Users Report Findings
  18. 18. Components •  What will you test? •  Where will you test? •  Who will you test with? •  How will you test?
  19. 19. Testing Materials •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Wireframes Data Entry Form Screenshots HTML prototype Live or staging site Mobile Apps Competitor’s site
  20. 20. Where Will You Test? •  What is the product? •  What is the context of use? Image Credit:
  21. 21. How Will You Test? Single Usability Test o Laboratory Test o Remote Test o Hallway Test
  22. 22. Laboratory Test •  Traditional type of usability test •  Scheduling participants to meet you at a predetermined location •  Takes course over several days •  Average time: 60 minutes per user
  23. 23. Remote Test •  Virtual meeting held over the phone and a computer •  Scheduling participants to call you on a conference line •  Takes course over several days •  Average time: 60 minutes per user
  24. 24. Image Credit:
  25. 25. Hallway Test •  Attract people in a high pedestrian traffic area •  Can be completed in one day •  Least Expensive •  Average time: Up to 20 minutes per user Image Credit:
  26. 26. Key Players •  Facilitator – Person who conducts a usability test •  Observer – Person who records notes during a usability test •  Participant – Person who is testing the website
  27. 27. Designing a Usability Test •  •  •  •  Open with easy intro questions Ask open ended questions when possible Questions can ask a user to accomplish a task Questions can ask a user to provide their perspective
  28. 28. Qualitative Testing •  Looking for common themes and specific insights from your users •  Testing five users per user type o  o  o  o  Who are your users? Doctors vs Patients Buyers vs Sellers Federal vs. Non-Federal
  29. 29. How Many Participants? “The answer is five…except when it’s not.” Nielsen Norman Group, June 4, 2012
  30. 30. Discuss Your Findings
  31. 31. Document Your Findings! Image Credit:
  32. 32. Usability Test Exercise
  33. 33. Put Your Participant At Ease Image Credit:
  34. 34. Be An Active Listener Image Credit:
  35. 35. Be Unbiased! Image Credit:
  36. 36. Don’t Lead Your Participant Image Credit:
  37. 37. Let the Participant Fail
  38. 38. Thank Your Participant
  39. 39. Facilitator Best Practices 1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  Put your participant at ease Be an active listener Be unbiased Avoid leading your participant Let the participant fail Thank your participant Prompts: •  Can you tell me what you are thinking? •  Do you have any additional thoughts?
  40. 40. Wrap Up