Improve Your Website with Usability Testing Michael Lambur eXtension Evaluation and Research Leader Virginia Tech National...
Usability testing <ul><li>A means for determining how well people use a website for its intended purpose </li></ul><ul><li...
Key usability testing elements <ul><li>How many users to involve </li></ul><ul><li>What needs to be tested </li></ul><ul><...
How many users to involve <ul><li>Quantity is not as important as quality </li></ul><ul><li>“The best results come from te...
Screening users <ul><li>You can screen users to get the appropriate ones for your test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you surf t...
What needs to be tested <ul><li>Should be driven by the intended purpose of the website </li></ul><ul><li>Goes beyond aski...
What needs to be tested <ul><li>Time on task – How long does it take to complete a task? </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy – How ...
Tasks to be performed <ul><li>Tasks should be focused on the intended purpose of the website </li></ul><ul><li>Some exampl...
Questions to ask users <ul><li>Can ask users pre-questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which websites do you most often visit? <...
Questions to ask users <ul><li>During the usability test, questions should be tied to the task and the purpose of the webs...
Observation techniques <ul><li>Can use unobtrusive or obtrusive observation </li></ul><ul><li>Unobtrusive observation  mea...
Observation techniques <ul><li>Unobtrusive observation can be misleading because behaviors that you observe can have many ...
Observation techniques <ul><li>Obtrusive observation  means interacting with the user as they interact with the website </...
Observer guidelines <ul><li>Observers may be asked to record: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Verbal comments (users are often asked...
Observer guidelines <ul><li>Remain distant from the task and do not assist the user </li></ul><ul><li>Answer a question wi...
Observer guidelines <ul><li>Get users to speak in terms of problems, not solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User observation:...
Key usability testing elements <ul><li>How many users to involve </li></ul><ul><li>What needs to be tested </li></ul><ul><...
References for usability testing <ul><li>http://grouplab.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/saul/hci_topics/assignments/usability/ass2_usabi...
References for usability testing <ul><li>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability_testing </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.webcr...
References for usability testing <ul><li>http://about.extension.org/mediawiki/files/c/c3/eXtension_Public_Website_Usabilit...
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Session 1051: Improve Your Website With Usability Testing

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Session 1051: Improve Your Website With Usability Testing

  1. 1. Improve Your Website with Usability Testing Michael Lambur eXtension Evaluation and Research Leader Virginia Tech National Extension Technology Conference April 28, 2008 Raleigh, NC
  2. 2. Usability testing <ul><li>A means for determining how well people use a website for its intended purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Involves observing people using the website to discover what works well and where improvements need to be made </li></ul><ul><li>Can be invaluable in improving website functionality and ultimately its purpose for your users </li></ul>
  3. 3. Key usability testing elements <ul><li>How many users to involve </li></ul><ul><li>What needs to be tested </li></ul><ul><li>Tasks to be performed </li></ul><ul><li>Questions to ask users </li></ul><ul><li>Observation techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Observer guidelines </li></ul>
  4. 4. How many users to involve <ul><li>Quantity is not as important as quality </li></ul><ul><li>“The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.” Jakob Nielsen, Sun Microsystems </li></ul><ul><li>For a one time test, 12-15 users are probably sufficient, providing they are representative of your targeted user population </li></ul>
  5. 5. Screening users <ul><li>You can screen users to get the appropriate ones for your test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you surf the web and how often? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Familiarity with ??? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. What needs to be tested <ul><li>Should be driven by the intended purpose of the website </li></ul><ul><li>Goes beyond asking users “do you understand this” to watching users try to use your website for its intended purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Involves creating a scenario where the user performs a set of tasks using your website </li></ul><ul><li>What needs to be tested is determined by what you want users to do on your website </li></ul>
  7. 7. What needs to be tested <ul><li>Time on task – How long does it take to complete a task? </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy – How many mistakes were made? </li></ul><ul><li>Recall – How much does the user remember afterwards? </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional response – How does the user feel about the tasks completed? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Tasks to be performed <ul><li>Tasks should be focused on the intended purpose of the website </li></ul><ul><li>Some example tasks: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Locate something </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create something </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore something </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use something </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Questions to ask users <ul><li>Can ask users pre-questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which websites do you most often visit? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you usually find information on the web? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you ever go to websites to find information on a particular topic? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How familiar are you with ??? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Questions to ask users <ul><li>During the usability test, questions should be tied to the task and the purpose of the website </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are your first thoughts as you look at this page? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What types of information would you expect to find on this page? Is this what you expected? Anything unexpected? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there anything you especially like on this page? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is anything confusing or hard to understand? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any other specific questions related to tasks </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Observation techniques <ul><li>Can use unobtrusive or obtrusive observation </li></ul><ul><li>Unobtrusive observation means no interaction with the user as they interact with the website </li></ul><ul><li>This limits your ability understand how the user interacts with your website by asking questions </li></ul>
  12. 12. Observation techniques <ul><li>Unobtrusive observation can be misleading because behaviors that you observe can have many interpretations </li></ul><ul><li>For example, if a user didn’t click a link, perhaps the user didn’t see the link or didn’t understand it </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t know the reason without asking the user </li></ul>
  13. 13. Observation techniques <ul><li>Obtrusive observation means interacting with the user as they interact with the website </li></ul><ul><li>Observers must be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonjudgmental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Genuine and transparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptive to each user </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Observer guidelines <ul><li>Observers may be asked to record: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Verbal comments (users are often asked to think aloud as they move through the test) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Errors (number and type) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional responses (confusion, frustration, focus, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If a user is unable to complete a task </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Observer guidelines <ul><li>Remain distant from the task and do not assist the user </li></ul><ul><li>Answer a question with a question: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User question: What does this text mean? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Response: What do you think it means? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User question: Do I have to click here? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Response: What do you think will happen if you click there? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Observer guidelines <ul><li>Get users to speak in terms of problems, not solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User observation: This label isn’t right. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorrect response: What would make it a better label? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correct response: Why isn’t it right? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User observation: This page is dull. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorrect response: How would you improve it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correct response: Why don’t you like it? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Key usability testing elements <ul><li>How many users to involve </li></ul><ul><li>What needs to be tested </li></ul><ul><li>Tasks to be performed </li></ul><ul><li>Questions to ask users </li></ul><ul><li>Observation techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Observer guidelines </li></ul>
  18. 18. References for usability testing <ul><li>http://grouplab.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/saul/hci_topics/assignments/usability/ass2_usabil.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.testingstandards.co.uk/usability_guidelines.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000183.php </li></ul>
  19. 19. References for usability testing <ul><li>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability_testing </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.webcredible.co.uk/services/usability-testing.shtml </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.usability.gov/refine/learnusa.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.interactionarchitect.com/knowledge/article19991212shd.htm </li></ul>
  20. 20. References for usability testing <ul><li>http://about.extension.org/mediawiki/files/c/c3/eXtension_Public_Website_Usability_Test_Protocol.pdf </li></ul>

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