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Usbility testing
Usability testing is an experimental way to check user attributes of the product and to identify problems faced by users during its application.

The goal of Usability testing is to measure the product�s usability (Efficiency, Productivity and Satisfaction) vs. the products offered by the current of future competitors.

Benefits, compared to Usability expertise, Usability testing uncovers user attributes of the product together with indices calculated in the course of the user�s interaction with the product.

There are several methods of Usability testing:

1. User observation

Usability specialist observes the user-product interaction in real-life environment. At this point, the specialist does not interfere with this process.

This ethnographic method is also known as Field research.

2. Asking the users

At this point, exploring user�s subjective opinion on the product�s application through focus-group discussions, face-to-face interviews, Q-A�s and the �think aloud� methodology etc.

3. Metrics measurement

Recording quantitative metrics of each �user-product� interaction scenario. Based on these results the usability expert makes conclusion on Efficiency, Productivity and Satisfaction and also points out the problem zones.

I recommend to use this method, since it ensures collection of the most precise results of usability testing.

On top of user testing, analysis of technical statistics of the product�s application proves to be fairly effective together with analysis of the ratio of final operations (e.g. sales) and the total number of operations (e.g. the percentage of people, who contacted the company).

The testing falls into the following stages:

1. Brief preparation

Content of the brief:

  • definition of the surveyed product
  • development of the target audience�s profile and the general user attributes typical of a certain TA
  • identification of the product�s usage attributes and testing contexts
  • development of the research hypothesis (the key objectives and issues to be surveyed)
  • development of user scenarios to be applied for the product�s testing
  • description of the testing methods necessary for the data collection and analysis
  • identification of recruitment quota and the number of respondents to participate in the survey the research period
  • timing of the research

2. Respondent recruitment

  • Recruitment of respondents in accordance with the defined criteria

3. Testing process, results recording

  • Organization and conduction of usability testing. Audio- and video-recording (the respondent�s face + the interface screen) is provided together with tracking of the user�s operations / user path.

4. Analysis of testing results

  • Presupposes analysis of user�s interaction with the product and identification of usability problem zones, which are ranked by power of their impact on usability.

5. Testing report

  • Development of the report covering usability problem zones identified during the testing, usability indices and recommendations on elimination / minimization of these problems.

6. Presentation of testing results

  • Development of presentation for the Client highlighting the research results.

Usability testing | Usability theory