Usability Testing is Easy!

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As part of the EBI Interfaces forum, Francis Rowland and Dado Marcora give a talk to promote rapid, lightweight usability testing, followed by a simple demo of a typical test

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Usability Testing is Easy!

  1. 1. Usability Testing is Easy! <ul><li>Francis Rowland </li></ul><ul><li>EMBL-EBI External Services </li></ul>What, Why, Where, When and How
  2. 2. Usability Testing: introduction Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com Introduction Making things usable is a fundamental part of user experience design Build a system with functionality, but how easy is it for your target audience to use? Peter Morville’s “UX Honeycomb” http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/000029.php &quot;... an approach to product development that incorporates direct user feedback throughout the development cycle in order to reduce costs and create products and tools that meet user needs. &quot; Usability Professionals Association http://snipurl.com/urbff
  3. 3. Usability Testing: what is it all about? Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com What is usability testing? http://www.flickr.com/photos/l-i-n-k/3654390818/ <ul><li>one user </li></ul><ul><li>one moderator </li></ul><ul><li>one set of tasks </li></ul><ul><li>one hour </li></ul><ul><li>test whatever you have </li></ul><ul><li>identify problems that your developers might not notice </li></ul>
  4. 4. Usability Testing: why bother? Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com Why do any testing? <ul><li>test your assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>fix things early on </li></ul><ul><li>highlight unnecessary features </li></ul><ul><li>learn about behaviour, not just attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>users will find things that you miss </li></ul><ul><li>objective evidence </li></ul><ul><li>reassure stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>involve users </li></ul>
  5. 5. Usability Testing: where to carry out tests Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com Where to do usability testing <ul><li>no need for a usability lab </li></ul><ul><li>a quiet room will do, or... </li></ul><ul><li>user’s workplace or office </li></ul><ul><li>conferences and workshops? </li></ul><ul><li>remote testing is possible </li></ul>A customised usability lab... very nice, but no need for this, really
  6. 6. Usability Testing: when to carry out tests Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com When to do usability testing <ul><li>the earlier the better </li></ul><ul><li>formative vs summative </li></ul><ul><li>rinse and repeat </li></ul><ul><li>regular sessions </li></ul><ul><li>parallel with development cycles </li></ul><ul><li>Agile development </li></ul>
  7. 7. Usability Testing: how to carry out tests Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com How to carry out usability tests <ul><li>pre-testing recommendations - user research and a review of your system </li></ul><ul><li>testing with 5 or 6 users is fine (*) and follow your schedule </li></ul><ul><li>introduction, explanation, setting at ease </li></ul><ul><li>recording consent form (if applicable) </li></ul><ul><li>“ paying” your test participant upfront is good </li></ul><ul><li>have the user read the task out loud, and then perform it (thinking out loud) </li></ul><ul><li>record your observations and time task completion </li></ul><ul><li>try not to guide the user too much </li></ul><ul><li>only help if the user is completely stuck, or just move to the next task... judgement </li></ul><ul><li>useful to ask the participant to complete a simple survey about the test </li></ul>This is the bit you were waiting for, right? * T his is dependent on how many user groups you have though... that can add to complexity, and to the number of users you should try to test with
  8. 8. Usability Testing: some Dos and Don’ts of usability testing Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com Dos and Don’ts DO... DON’T... <ul><li>Stick to a schedule and a script </li></ul><ul><li>Run through that script in advance </li></ul><ul><li>Give incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage users to think out loud </li></ul><ul><li>Reassure users that you are testing the system, and not them ! </li></ul><ul><li>Remain detached </li></ul><ul><li>Review and report as soon as you can after the tests </li></ul><ul><li>Know that you can do this </li></ul><ul><li>Miss out key user groups </li></ul><ul><li>Give the wrong task to a user </li></ul><ul><li>Start teaching the user </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t jump in to help too soon </li></ul><ul><li>Bond with the user </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Go nuts when the user “fails” to do something you think is obvious! :) </li></ul><ul><li>Leave testing until the end </li></ul>
  9. 9. Usability Testing: Dado Marcora’s experience Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com Usability Testing Dado Marcora’s experience
  10. 10. Usability Testing: Defining usability - Dado Marcora’s experience Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com <ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>A user's ability to successfully use a Web site to find information and accomplish tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>A user's ability to quickly accomplish tasks with ease and without frustration. </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>How much a user enjoys using the Web site. </li></ul><ul><li>Error frequency and severity </li></ul><ul><li>How often do users make errors while using the system, how serious are these errors, and how do users recover from these errors? </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>If a user has used the system before, can he or she remember enough to use it effectively the next time or does the user have to start over again learning everything? </li></ul>Dado Marcora’s experience Defining usability
  11. 11. Usability Testing: Lessons learned - Dado Marcora’s experience Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com <ul><li>Plan in advance and prepare templates </li></ul><ul><li>Test in a quiet place </li></ul><ul><li>Do it one-on-one </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t intervene or teach during testing </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t get frustrated with participant </li></ul><ul><li>Let the participant make mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>Remain neutral, answer participant's questions with questions (what do you think?) </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate participant's mistakes and expectations </li></ul><ul><li>3 sessions with 5 participants better than 1 session with 15 participants </li></ul><ul><li>Start testing as soon as you have a prototype </li></ul>Dado Marcora’s experience Lessons learned
  12. 12. Thanks for listening. Grazie per l’attenzione . Usability Testing: BioMart + a live usability test Francis Rowland http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com A live demo... Example usability testing session

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