Usability Testing: A Real-Time User Experience (UX) For Better Product Design

May 26, 2017

Every business wants a successful product or service. Usability Testing helps companies evaluate their products against the intended goal of ease of usability from an end-user’s perspective in a realistic scenario.

Usability Testing is a technique used by companies to test their product’s ease of use against their planned objective from a real consumer’s viewpoint. The users are given some tasks to complete while being observed, quantitative data collected, usability issues and satisfaction analyzed and recommendations made to improve the product.

Helpful in improving the user experience (UX), it is a key component during design phase. Usability Testing helps understand a user’s perspective, issues, expectations, emotions and experiences towards the overall performance of a product. So, while companies may try their best to come up with the greatest idea or solution for their product development, the real test lies at the usability testing stage where you get a perspective about whether these intentions will be met with the target customer’s expectations or not.

Often confused with marketing research or just a collection of opinions on an object, Usability Testing is more than that. The systematic approach under controlled conditions involves creating a realistic situation; uncovering the difficulties or usability issues which a user might have, aimed at providing a better UX and improving the product. The four main principles behind Usability Testing are – Efficiency (tester measure the time taken/steps required by the user to finish the task); Recall (examines a user’s memory for a particular system/interface, used a while ago); Accuracy (Number and nature of mistakes committed while performing a task) and Emotional response (Analyzes the user’s feelings towards a particular task).

Usability testing involves several methodologies and techniques depending on your base goal.

  • Individual In-depth Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Card Sorting
  • Paper prototyping
  • Expert reviews
  • Eyetracking
  • Usability lab testing and benchmarking
  • A/B testing
  • Participatory Design
  • Ethnographic Field Studies
  • Hallway testing
  • Remote usability testing

Usability testing can be used for evaluating alternate designs against existing competition, enhancement in the current design, in the pre-launch stage and after going ‘live’. Widely used in sectors like consumer products, FMCG, websites or computer interfaces companies, Usability testing helps meet business targets, minimize product failing and provides repeat customers.

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