In order to determine how well a product or service meets the needs of its target audience, it must undergo usability testing. During a standard test, participants will attempt to perform standard tasks while observers listen in and take notes. The purpose is to find bugs in the product’s usability, gather qualitative and quantitative data, and gauge customer satisfaction.
You need a well-thought-out test plan, a pool of willing participants, and thorough data analysis and reporting before you can call your usability test a success.
Benefits of Usability Testing
Testing for usability helps designers and coders find issues before they’re written into the product. It will be less expensive in terms of staff time and potential schedule impact if problems are found and resolved as soon as possible. When conducting a usability evaluation, you will:
- Find out if the people you’re testing are capable of doing the things you’ve asked them to do.
- Find out how long it takes to do things.
- Assess the level of contentment that users have with your website or other offering.
- Find the tweaks that are needed to boost efficiency and user happiness.
- Evaluate the functionality to ensure it satisfies your usability standards.
You Do Not Need a Formal Lab
The use of a dedicated usability lab is not necessary for conducting successful usability tests. A usability test can be conducted successfully in any of the following environments:
- A permanent lab with two or three interconnected rooms and audiovisual facilities.
Setup for recording audio, with a focus on portability.
In the absence of recording devices, but with a watchful observer taking notes, the room in question will suffice.
While the user is physically elsewhere (either moderated or unmoderated).
Factors Affecting Cost
The price of your tests will vary according to
- Variety of Examined
- group size for testing
- The total amount of test subjects
- Quantity of time spent testing
It’s important to set aside funds for more than one usability study. Usability testing is an iterative process that must be applied to any product, including websites. When planning a spending plan for usability testing, keep in mind the following factors:
- The usability test preparation process takes time. Time is needed for the usability specialist and the team to learn the site and run through sample test cases. Don’t forget to factor in time for not only test preparation, but also actual test administration, data analysis, report writing, and presentation.
- Think about how and where you will find your participants, as this will affect your recruiting costs. Based on the needs, you’ll need to either schedule time for staff to actively seek out participants or hire a recruiting firm to do so on your behalf.
- The cost of compensating participants for their time or travel should be calculated into the overall testing budget.
- Budget for lab or other equipment rentals if you don’t already own your own monitoring and recording gear. Testing facilities, such as a meeting room, may need to be booked, so plan accordingly.
It’s important to remember that usability testing is more than just another box to be checked off in the project plan. Testing should serve a purpose, and the team should act on the findings.