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Getting started with usability testing

By Bjorn

Introduction

Your first steps into the world of usability testing. Tips and tricks about setting up your test, conducting interviews and writing a report.

Bjorn — Lead interaction designer at Valsplat User Experts by day. Hacking things together by night.

Added by Bjorn: “The voice over is a bit boring, sorry about that :-). Interesting part starts at 0:25 and ends at 1:10.

1 What is usability testing?

2 A Business Case for Usability

The key benefits of usability are: Higher revenues through increased sales Increased user efficiency Reduced development costs Reduced support costsHigher revenues through increased salesBecause usability initiatives focus on customer goals, they increase both online and offline sales. Usability boosts online sales in the following ways. Usability initiatives like contextual inquiry and usability testing help identify the information customers need to

4 How Many Test Users in a Usability Study?

Summary: The answer is 5, except when it's not. Most arguments for using more test participants are wrong, but some tests should be bigger and some smaller. If you want a single number, the answer is simple: test 5 users in a usability study. This lets you find almost as many usability problems as you'd find using many more test

5 Seven Common Usability Testing Mistakes

What's the easiest way to conduct a usability test? Well, you could just sit a person down (it doesn't matter who) in front of your design and ask them to do something (it doesn't matter what). If this is so easy, why does a standard usability test contain all that other rigmarole? Because that rigmarole goes a long way to

6 Creating your test script

The other day, I wrote about how choosing the right words in your tasks makes a critical difference to the outcome of your user research. Mike Pauley wrote a comment, asking how to make sure you've got the right words: Great timing on this, as I am dealing with the same issue with a test I'm currently running. Do you

7 Creating usability test tasks that really motivate users

Usability test tasks are the beating heart of a usability test. These tasks determine the parts of a system that test participants will see and interact with. Usability test tasks are so critical that some people argue they are even more important than the number of participants you use: it seems that how many tasks participants try, not the number

9 How to prioritise usability problems

Drinking from a fire hydrantRunning a usability test has been compared with taking a drink from a fire hydrant: you get swamped with data in the form of usability issues that need to be organised, prioritised and (hopefully) fixed. Although it's tempting to use your own judgement in determining severity, this causes a difficulty when a developer challenges your decision:

10 4 forgotten principles of usability testing

Over the last few months I've sat through dozens of usability tests run by design agencies. Clients have asked me to oversee the tests to make sure that the agency really puts their design through its paces. This is a good thing as it shows that usability testing is now becoming a mainstream activity in the design community. But many

11 You won't finish this article: how we read on the web

Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images I'm going to keep this brief, because you're not going to stick around for long. I've already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page, about 61 of you-38 percent-are already gone. You "bounced" in Web traffic jargon, meaning you spent no time "engaging" with this page at all.

12 Eight Lessons in Mobile Usability Testing

So far, I've mainly focussed on mobile testing technology but there are times when I advocate using no technology (with the exception of the user's phone, of course). As I mentioned, I recently conducted testing of a quit-smoking app designed for pregnant women.

13 User laziness = user smartness, and why this is really important.

User research is a funny thing. When you see users rushing through your user interface without stopping to think, or skipping through huge swathes of your lovingly prepared copy, it's tempting to think of them as lazy sods. It's true. Don't feel guilty about it. That's exactly what they are.

Added by Bjorn: “Getting user research into agile teams in a way that is timely, relevant and actionable is a challenge that teams the world over are tackling. Working effectively in agile has recently been the driver of some fairly significant changes to the way our researchers work at GDS.

15 How we do user research in agile teams

Getting user research into agile teams in a way that is timely, relevant and actionable is a challenge that teams the world over are tackling. Working effectively in agile has recently been the driver of some fairly significant changes to the way our researchers work at GDS. In the early days of GDS, the User Research team worked across the

Added by Bjorn: “5 Tips for Writing Better Reports: Be specific, Don't blame the user, Look for the bigger picture, Help identify solutions & Organize and rank findings.

16 Making Usability Findings Actionable

Summary: For usability testing to be valuable, study findings must clearly identify issues and help the team move toward design solutions. If product teams don't know what to do with usability results, they'll simply ignore them. It is up to usability practitioners to write usability findings in a clear, precise and descriptive way that helps the team identify the issue

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