All About Usability Testing: Part Two

February 11, 2021
Michael Ebako-Hodgson
Michael Ebako-Hodgson

Now that you’ve determined usability testing is a viable method of checking your product for bugs, you’ll want to develop a plan for implementation.

Having an awareness of the typical usability testing framework, along with common challenges that can occur, will help set you up for success and ensure you extract the most value from your testing experience.

The Testing Process

Usability testing has several stages, but every test begins the same way—by defining the goals and desired outcome. We recommend the following process:

  1. Determine the overall objectives of the test: Apply questions from developers as a guide for how the product will work, and for identifying potential issues.

  2. Recruit participants: Ideally, the testers used are very similar to the product’s target audience. For example, if an application is intended to help golfers while on a course, you need  participants with a knowledge of golf. You’d also want the device focus to be mobile, knowing that your users won’t be dragging their laptops out on their golf carts.

  3. Plan the test: Usability testing will be significantly more effective if you have clearly outlined goals, a plan to record session information, predetermined tasks and questions, and a means of reporting feedback. Don’t skimp on the details here, you can never be too prepared.
  • Run the test: The purpose of this testing is to see what real end users do with your product. Identify what works well and what needs improvement. Listen to the feedback from the testers and use that insight to improve the user experience.

  • Analyze the findings: When reviewing results, look for patterns and anomalies—especially as it pertains to the testing goals. Have a clear plan for communicating these findings to stakeholders.
  • Determine next steps: Based on how the test went and what results were collected, your developers need to fix any issues that were identified before the product release. You might have action items for managers or marketers, too.

Challenges in Usability Testing

There are some challenges worth noting when conducting usability testing, such as:

  1. This form of testing only goes so far—it can’t anticipate every single user scenario or glitch.

  2. Sometimes, the testers don’t provide great feedback. Equivocal details or inaccurate reporting isn’t helpful and leaves developers and designers with results that don’t reveal much.

  3. Usability testers may reinforce their own biases or limited ways of thinking. People usually know what they want, but often can’t say what they need (or tell the difference between the two).

Crowdtesting can address these concerns by offering usability testing that enhances user experience, helping you improve and optimize your application, website, or software.

Leveraging the Crowd

By working with a large, diverse pool of crowdtesters, you can get access to a group of experience professionals who don’t fall into the friendliness, familiarity, or social desirability biases that members of your own organization might experience. By using the typical privacy settings and ad blockers they have on their personal devices—along with configured locations—they can provide real-world scenarios. Their broad knowledge of potential problems can inform on those that your developers might not have considered. Since those in a crowdtesting environment come from a multitude of different locations around the globe, they operate as a more diversified user base than traditional usability testing methods.

In test IO’s case, many of our expert testers already work as software professionals and have the acumen to evaluate any aspect of software, ranging from fault identification to elaborate usability cases. They can also provide valuable feedback with appropriate images and supporting documentation, meaning there is evidence to trace back to every bug they identify.

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