Usability Testing Best Practices
Through usability testing, you can receive the knowledge you need to make a positive impact on your UX design. It’s essential if you’d like to create user experiences that not only satisfy your target audience but also allow you to meet (or even exceed) your goals. To make the most out of usability testing for your website, app, or other digital product, keep the following best practices in mind.
Before You Begin
First and foremost, think about the main purpose of your usability testing. Get as specific as possible so you can design your task accordingly. Maybe you want to test the “schedule an appointment” button on the home page. Or perhaps you hope to find out how easy it is for users to add products to your shopping cart.
Designing The Task
Now, it’s time for the design stage. Start with a simple task so that users can become acquainted with your brand and testing experience. Only give one task at a time to avoid overwhelming them.
Also, follow the flow of your design to mimic a realistic scenario. Don’t forget to use action words while still giving them the freedom to interact with your products as they believe they’re supposed to.
Ask The Right Questions
There are certain open and neutral questions you’ll need to ask before, during, and after the test to ensure the highest quality results. Here’s a brief overview of some of the questions you might want to consider.
Before the Test
- What is your relationship status?
- What is your household income?
- How often do you use our product?
During the Test
- What are your thoughts on the user interface?
- How is the language on this page?
- What do you think this feature is trying to tell you?
After the Test
- What is your overall opinion of our product?
- What did you like most and least about it? Why?
- What features would encourage you to use this product more often?
Run A Pre-launch Test
While you may be tempted to go ahead and execute your test right away, it’s in your best interest to organize a pre-launch test first. To do so, ask coworkers, friends or family to complete your test and provide their honest feedback and insights. This way, you can discover any issues or errors and resolve them before you officially launch.
Analyze The Results
Once you complete your usability test, you’ll need to make sense of the results. A thorough analysis will provide you with meaningful information you can use to improve your product and enhance your user experience. Use these tips below to simplify the process.
The first step is to take a close look at your results. Do this without any preconceived notions which can easily lead to bias and inaccuracies. Simply observe all of the data you’ve generated and avoid taking any notes or diving deep into what you’ve found. Save this for the later.
Review Your Goals
Remind yourself of your motivations for testing in the first place. Since you’ll have countless user insights at your disposal, understanding your main areas of interest will help you focus on the most relevant feedback. If you don’t take the time to assess your goals, you may get sidetracked and steer your analysis in the wrong direction.
Organize Your Data
Look at each testing session individually. As you do, pay attention to the actions users took, the issues they may have faced as they performed the tasks, and any comments they made throughout the process.
Any time you come across an issue or unexpected issue, jot it down. Note the task the user was trying to complete and the details of their problem. Also, add categories and tags like “home page” or “broken button” so you can sort and filter them later.
Quantitative and Qualitative Data
Be sure to evaluate both quantitative and qualitative information. While quantitative analysis will provide you with the hard numbers you can use to discover the presence of issues and their severity, qualitative analysis will reveal why these issues exist and what you can do to resolve them. Keep in mind that the majority of your analysis will likely be qualitative but quantitative data will provide baseline metrics that will come in handy as you make revisions.
Usability testing is only worthwhile if you report your findings to the appropriate parties and take action. If you share your analysis with different team members from your product development team, they’ll each gain a comprehensive understanding of user experience issues and in turn, be able to make the decisions necessary to fix them.
The reality is that some issues you’ll uncover through usability testing are more important than others. That’s why you must categorize your problems based on severity. By doing so, you’ll know how to allocate your time and resources wisely and make the changes that will have the greatest impact on your product first.
Once you’ve created a digital asset, there’s no better way to gain valuable insights on what works and what doesn’t than through usability testing. As long as you follow these best practices, you’re sure to set your website, app, or other product up for unparalleled levels of success. Best of luck with your testing!