Usability Testing, part 1
of three the180 topics on this subject
Why do Usability Testing?
practical changes that will significantly improve the results of your
changes that won't waste your time and money.
impractical change requests that come up at the last minute.
thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
or nothing can be changed before your project is released, usability
testing is still valuable.
better to be forewarned of likely problems.
and documentation can focus on what users need to know the most.
results can feed future improvement projects.
Core principles for usability testing
- Test the most common and
critical uses of the technology.
- Test with people that are
representative of the actual users.
- Make the testers feel that
they can do no wrong.
- Conduct the test objectively
- don't lead the user.
- Use realistic data, user
interfaces, and situations.
- Observe with an open mind.
- Look for underlying issues
from your test results.
Planning the usability test
- Who will work on the planning,
the observing, the testing, and the analysis?
- Why did your organization
create this technology?
- The basic business reasons
- The basic work being
- Answer in non-technical,
very succinct, plain language
- Who will use your technology?
- The most critical user
group or groups
- Important characteristics
of these users
- What are you most worried
- What is the brightest
"happy day" picture the day after your
technology is released?
- What is the worst nightmare?
- Identify what tasks you
want to test
Write the scenarios
- Refer to example.
- A scenario provides a story
and a role for the tester to act on.
scenario might test only one task using your technology, or it might
test several tasks.
- Include motivation - why
someone would perform the tasks.
- Include background information
- what they need to know to get the work done.
- Give them little or
no information about how to use the technology.
- Tell them how to recognize
when they have finished the scenario.
- Briefly restate the desired
action and results.
- Write and re-write the scenario
to make it as short and readable as possible.
Recruit your testers.
the qualifications of the people you want.
that are as reasonably close to the real users as possible.
the right people always involves some compromise.
If a budget
permits, the best resource is a marketing research company who recruits
people for focus groups, etc.
try recruiting strangers on your own.
in your company might be OK, especially customer service representatives.
friends sometimes work as well.
anyone on the project team, especially anyone involved with the
should receive some kind of compensation or gift.
Posted June 14, 2002
Edited July 19, 2002
By Joe Grant
located in metro St. Louis, MO, USA
Columbia, IL 62236
© 2003 by Grant Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.