Definition: Usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users. Typically, during a test, participants will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes. The goal is to identify any usability problems, collect qualitative and quantitative data and determine the participant's satisfaction with the product.
Learn if participants are able to complete specified tasks successfully
Identify how long it takes to complete specified tasks
Find out how satisfied participants are with your Web site or other product
Identify changes required to improve user performance and satisfaction
Analyze performance to see if it meets your usability objectives
This method involves having real users interact with the design in a controlled or monitored environment. There are many different approaches to this method but most focus on observing a user while they are given a goal or task to conduct. Essential a test session will look like this:
1. The facilitator will welcome the participant and explain the test session, ask the participant to sign the release form, and ask any pre-test or demographic questions.
2. The facilitator explains thinking aloud and asks if the participant has any additional questions. The facilitator explains where to start.
3. The participant reads the task scenario aloud and begins working on the scenario while they think aloud.
4. The note-takers take notes of the participant’s behaviors, comments, errors and completion (success or failure) on each task.
5. The session continues until all task scenarios are completed or time allotted has elapsed.
6. The facilitator either asks the end-of session subjective questions or sends them to an online survey, thanks the participant, gives the participant the agreed-on incentive, and escorts them from the testing environment.
Frequently the user's screen, audio, and face are recorded for future reference and analysis. This method can be conducted in a laboratory but there is no requirement for it to be in such a strictly controlled environment. Depending on resources and funding this method can be deployed in a variety of ways.
EXAMPLE TEST PLAN
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