By Yasser Arafath​

Understanding Usability Testing and Its Best Practices In UX Design

It is natural for everyone to want their product to be loved by the target audience and stand out in the crowd. Attractive and eye-catching design always works like a charm when it comes to provoking the interest of first-time users. Nonetheless, will it ever help you reach the goals you dreamed of with your products without proper usability? 

 

Let’s give it a second to understand, its importance and how to do usability testing. 

 
User experience research is critical and can be determined only through usability testing.

Usability Testing and What Makes It Important? 

Before we get into the details, firstly and most importantly, usability testing is not equivalent (or even close to being similar) to user experience research. However, it is an important part of it. Usability testing is a way to see how simple a product is to use by testing it with real users. It involves testing and monitoring a user’s behaviour with a product as he completes specific tasks. One of the biggest benefits of usability testing gives a clear vision of how a product must be tweaked or fixed to your aims for it. It is often conducted repeatedly, right from the product’s early development and after the product’s release. This enables us to identify the usability problems with a design right at the beginning to minimise the cost. 

 

Usability has a tremendous impact on the user experience. Good usability in UX is a marriage of multiple factors such as intuitive design, ease of learning, efficiency of use, memorability, error frequency, error severity, and user satisfaction. 

 

Usability Testing: Best Practices

Here is a step-by-step process that will give you a better and deeper understanding of the Usability Testing process. 

 

Step One: Preparing a Plan 

 

The essential elements that form the very first step towards a successful test is chalking out the scope, the purpose, the timing and location, the equipment, the participants, and the scenario of the test. 

 

Step Two: Defining Roles 

It is crucial to define the roles of every person involved in the usability testing process, or else it is hardly possible for one person to manage and monitor the entire process all by themselves. Compiling a list of team members and defining their roles will make things a lot easier and more organised. 

 

Step Three: Focusing on Metrics

 

Identifying the metrics that are going to be collected during the session is also an essential step. There are two types of metrics: 

 

    • Quantitative Metrics: These depend on the purpose of testing. For instance, it is better if you know how many people achieved the task goal, how much time they spent on a task, how many errors they made, etc. 

    • Subjective Metrics: These are participants’ answers to questions about their satisfaction, ease of tasks, likes, dislikes, etc. Asking for recommendations about the usability of the product can also be helpful at this step. 

 

Step Four: Recruiting Participants 

 

Recruiting participants belonging to the product’s target group is just not enough. There can also be more than one potential user group. Therefore, ensuring representatives from all these groups participate in the session is important. 

 

Step Five: Running a Pilot Test 

 

A pilot test is essential before running the actual one. This should not be skipped under any circumstances, as it will help you observe whether you are well-prepared or not. Based on these, amendments must be incorporated into your scenario: tasks, equipment, timing, etc. 

 

Step Six: Conducting a Real Task 

 

Now, the real test must be conducted following the scenario, moderate sessions wisely, and be attentive to participants but however not leading them. Careful attention must be given to observing, or else it may end up deriving inaccurate results. 

 

Step Seven: Analysing Findings 

 

After the session is finished, analysing the findings must be done. It is the most important part of the entire process to get the information you need. Summarising the gathered data must be then interpreted with analytical and logical reasoning. 

 

Step Eight: Reporting and Discussing the Results 

 

Writing a summary report and organising the results in a digestible format is the next step in the process. This gives a clearer idea to the team. Presenting the same to the team also falls under this step. Discussing the results is very important as it brings up great ideas about how to improve the product and can come to light. 

 

Step Nine: Improving the Product

 

Nothing can be perfect, and testing reveals the weaknesses of the products. Working on these weaknesses can improve the product, increasing usability and ensuring it meets the goals originally set. 

 

Usability testing plays a major role in all stages of product development, especially in user experience. Here are some of the best practises in usability testing that we use to show how our user experiences work. 

 

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