The following is a guest post by Cherryl Pereira, Head of Content at Chisel Labs
Every business, big or small, needs to have a website.
This is the first point of contact that potential customers will have with you and your product.
If this experience isn’t good then they won’t buy from you again.
Usability testing can help ensure that the customer has a great time on your site, which means more conversions for you.
With these roll calls in place, you can never go wrong with the process of usability testing.
Before diving deep into the topic, let us learn about usability testing.
What Is Usability Testing?
What Is the Importance of Usability Testing?
The Important Roll Call When You Conduct Usability Testing?
What is usability testing?
Usability testing is a very popular type of testing that ensures a product is easy to use and meets the needs of its users. It provides unbiased information on how real people experience a website, app, or physical product (such as an oven).
The purpose of usability testing is to provide feedback on design decisions through observation and measurement; it helps designers identify issues in designs before they are built into products, which results in improved customer satisfaction levels, more efficient websites with less user frustration, and lower costs for companies.
Usability test sessions need not be complicated: A simple session can consist of one moderator talking two participants through completing some tasks while keeping track of time taken and where any difficulties occurred.
UX teams typically run moderated tests themselves but if you don’t have the resources or in-house expertise, you could always use a third-party company that will oversee the testing process for you.
They typically offer different levels of service so it’s important to pick one that is suitable for your needs and budget.
Several tools are available online which can help with moderating sessions remotely but if video conferencing isn’t an option then phone-based services are also commonplace these days too.
However, face-to-face usability tests still have their benefits over remote options as users often respond better when they feel more engaged during tasks and tend to provide richer feedback than what we get from other methods (although this doesn’t mean there aren’t some pitfalls associated with this approach).
Why is Usability testing so important? Let us look into it now.
What is the importance of usability testing?
Usability testing is a process of evaluating your product to make sure it’s user-friendly and easy for people to interact with.
It helps you in getting feedback from the users who will be using it on their terms, which can then help you build a better product that meets all requirements and needs.
Usability testing is done by recording real sessions between testers and participants while they use your web/app through different tasks given at each session.
This way, results are more accurate as compared to traditional methods of usability testing like surveys or questionnaires, where one has no control over the environment in which questions get asked and answers get recorded (as opposed to watching how someone interacts with an app).
Usability testing is beneficial for both developers and users, as it allows you to see your product from someone else’s perspective. This can help in understanding the flaws that might be present within the app/website at its initial stage of development.
On top of all these benefits, usability testing also helps analysts gain insight into how likely users are to recommend a product or not – which is what companies usually look for when investing their time and money in building something new.
Usability testing helps you to never go wrong with your process. This is because, no matter what you do, if your audience is unable to use it – there’s something wrong.
It also aids you to identify how long it would take for a user to gain mastery over the product – and can tell you whether that is a value proposition or not.
It is because usability testing allows you to perform repetitive tests without being biased while ensuring uniformity across all participants involved in the test, thus, allowing data collected through these experiments to carry more meaning than other existing research methods do.
In addition, it ensures the accuracy of results by controlling variables such as age/gender/culture and other such demographics.
To ensure that the process is not skewed by any specific variables, it is vital to find participants who are representative of your target audience and perform tests in real-life locations instead of a simulated environment.
The important roll call when you conduct usability testing
- The testers should represent the target audience of the app/website (or at least a part of it). For example, if they are building an eCommerce shopping cart, then it would be better to have some customers that shop online regularly as opposed to just having business people try out the test website. This way, they can get more accurate feedback regarding what works and doesn’t work while designing an eCommerce website or mobile application.
- It’s best not to ask users about their thoughts during this whole process so that results are unbiased beforehand. Instead, observations and notes should be taken and then presented in a summary report.
- If the app is still in development, it’s best to make sure that there are no bugs or crashes while testing so as not to skew results (or worse: discourage your users).
- People who represent the target audience for your product/website e.g., customers shopping online instead of regular business people doing this kind of job; unbiased feedback (observations and note-taking) before going into asking questions, etc.; if the application is still under process, making sure there aren’t any bug or crash happening during usability test sessions so you can get accurate feedback; and so on.
- People who are in the loop of what is happening during usability test sessions or involved closely with your product/website e.g., designers, developers, business people working on the project, and more. Have open communication about how things work (or not) during testing to avoid any confusion among testers and observers. Getting all observers together before starting each session for a quick recap meeting so everyone understands what is going to happen next; making sure that they can observe & note down without interference from users or you at all times throughout sessions. Asking questions only when necessary (not every user will be willing to answer everything).
- Having someone who can translate observations into actionable insights afterward e.g. developers, product managers, and so on; make sure you communicate clearly about what needs to happen next. For e.g., who is responsible for doing bug triage and organizing the fixes.
- You should make sure to schedule at least one session per week so that there is time for the team to talk about what they’ve learned and prioritized the next steps.
- It’s also important not to forget about how your app feels in terms of its aesthetics, look, and feel. Because you’re talking with real people who will give you honest feedback on it — and if something seems off or confusing when users are testing out your product then chances are most other people would find that aspect just as challenging too.
- You should make sure that everyone can communicate clearly during sessions (loud enough but does not interfere) and that they can see and hear the user.
- Never go wrong with validating your product before you launch it to the masses. This process will help avoid costly mistakes and improve conversion rates, which means more revenue for your company or app.
- You should make sure that everyone can communicate clearly during sessions (loud enough but not interfering) and that they can both see and hear the user very well.
- You should never forget a bug triage process after usability testing. Communication between stakeholders during the bug triage phase ensures no details are forgotten, which leads to a high-quality product.
- You should make sure that the environment is not overloaded with noise.
- You should make sure that no one will distract or interrupt during testing.
- You should never forget to take notes! Make sure you have a note-taker, and write down everything your participants say, do, touch, and so on. Hence, you don’t lose any data in this crucial phase of development.
- Ensure that any tasks for the participant are laid out and easy to follow.
- Depending on your budget, you should schedule more than one test session with no less than five participants per testing phase. If possible, aim for ten or twelve sessions! You will be surprised by how many insights this method delivers if it’s done correctly. This is a great way to learn from your users what they need and want to stay ahead of the competition as well as perfect an already existing product that needs some tweaking here and there before going to market. All these aspects ensure usability tests help make better products – products people need – which can only mean big profits down the road. Let’s not forget about making happier customers who keep coming back for more.
To sum it up, the process of usability testing is more than just simple observation. It requires a lot of planning, effort, and control over the situation for accurate results that provide you with valuable feedback about your website or product.
You can never go wrong if you follow all steps slowly and carefully so do not rush through them. And don’t forget to always perform tests on real users.
They are the ones who will give you an honest opinion about their experience using your product which might be different from yours as an expert in this field.
Go out there and test everything around you with every user at any given time making sure that nothing goes unnoticed ever again by applying our ultimate guide to effective UX research today.
Cherryl Pereira is the Head of Content at Chisel. Chisel Labs is a premiere agile product management software company that brings together roadmapping, team alignment, and customer connection.