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Understanding the Usability Testing Methods and Tools

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Introduction to Usability Testing

Usability testing is a kind of non-functional testing used to assess how easy and flexible a website is to use. This testing is performed with the involvement of real users. It is commonly named or called User Experience testing. In this type of testing, a small group of real users explores the developed application and reports the usability issues detected.

This testing is usually performed during the initial design phase of
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to clarify users' expectations.

Why do we need Usability Testing?

  1. To uncover problems in the design.
  2. To discover opportunities to improve the design.
  3. To learn about users behavior and preferences.

What are the categories of Usability Testing?

Following are the categories of Usability Testing:

  • Explorative: This category is usually performed in the early stages of development to measure the user-friendliness of the initial design or mockups and assess the real users' perspective.
  • Assessment: It is used in the middle of the development process as an overall assessment of the user-friendliness, effectiveness, and degree of ease of use of the product.
  • Comparative: As it is clear from its name, in this category, two or more websites of similar nature are compared to get a clear understanding of their advantages and disadvantages, which further helps in analyzing the improvement areas to enhance user experience.
User Acceptance Testing is a process to check the system accepts the requirements of a user or not. User Acceptance Testing Types and Best Practices

What are the following Methods of Usability Testing?

Methods of Usability Testing

Hallway Testing

Compared to the other methods or ways, it is one of the cheapest usability testing methods available. In Hallway testing, a website, product, or the developed application is handed to a group of random people (without any professional knowledge) to use, analyze and test. As this group of individuals does not know the product, Hence they provide honest feedback.

Remote Usability Testing

Individuals residing in various remote locations (different countries, states) with varying time zones perform this type of testing. These days multiple tools, platforms, and software are available to make this process easy. The reports of such kind of testing are usually reported through video conferencing or any other online mode of communication.

Expert Review

This method is a bit expensive as in this method, a company needs to recruit a technical person to review and test the developed application. In this method, the hired professional expert is asked to submit his feedback on the developed application.

It is a reliable method as an experienced professional can easily and quickly detect any flaws, defects, or loopholes in the application in comparison to a non-professional person.

Automated Usability Testing

This type of usability testing involves the creation of Automation scripts. In this, a person with skills in scripting writes and executes the scripts, and the test execution results are recorded in the form of reports.

It is a bit expensive as for this a company needs to hire a well-experienced person for it. But it is one of the most used methods as it is not as costly as the Expert review method and does not involve much human intervention.

User Experience Design focuses on the user-first way of designing products/services and their requirements and how much satisfactory the product for the users who are going to use it. User Experience Design, Tools and Principles

Various Phases of Usability Testing

Explained below are the various phases of Usability Testing.

Planning

Planning is the initial and most crucial phase of Usability testing. This phase mainly involves defining the aims and targets of the entire usability testing process. This phase primarily focuses on the following factors:

  • Identifying the goals
  • Defining the scope
  • Agreeing upon the metrics
  • Estimating the cost of study

Recruiting

This phase involves the recruitment of the right participants for testing the product in the right way. Following factors are considered in this phase :

  • Assembling the resources
  • Explaining the goals and scope to the resources
  • Assigning the tasks to the respective resources

Execution

This phase involves the following steps :

  • One of the most crucial and exciting phases of usability testing
  • In this phase, the recruited participants perform the assigned tasks of testing.
  • After the execution of the tasks, the participants submit their respective feedback.

Data Analysis

In this phase, the feedback and reports are collected from various participants. These feedbacks are then categorized into multiple patterns, and at the end, a conclusion for the improvement of the website is driven from these feedbacks. This phase involves:

  • Categorization of results
  • Identification of patterns
  • Generation of inferences

Reporting

In this phase, the feedback received is circulated across the development team so that they can work on the flaws and loopholes that were reported. This phase mainly involves :

  • Actionable recommendations
  • Stakeholder's Briefing
  • Implementation of action points
People often think that both User Experience and Customer Experience are the same. Although CX and UX are separate and unique. Comparing Customer Experience and User Experience

What are the best Usability Testing Tools?

There are numerous tools for Usability testing but the best of them are below;

Hotjar

  • Hotjar is a recording-based tool that records and tracks the user journeys of the real users visiting the live website.
  • On watching the recorded videos, one can analyze the various design and usability issues the users face.
  • It includes the feature to gather feedback from users.
  • It provides multiple features like heat mapping, on-page interactions, session recordings, etc.
  • It is a paid tool with a cost of $89 per month.

CrazyEgg

  • CrazyEgg is a click-based usability tool and a discoverer of heat map technology.
  • It allows you to analyze user's interactions with your website.
  • It helps you to examine the reasons and causes of lower conversion rates.

Following is the complete list of features provided by CrazyEgg:

  1. Heat map: This feature permits you to view each click made by the user.
  2. Scroll map: This feature lets you know the last point till which the user had scrolled
  3. Confetti: This feature gives the perception of the various words/terms searched by the user.
  4. Overlay: This feature provides the number of clicks a user made during his entire website journey.
  • It is a paid tool with a $9 per month, and it also provides a 1-month free trial.

Optimizely

  • Optimizely is one of the most user-friendly tools that permit the tracking of user visits and conversion rates.
  • It provides a platform for Alpha Beta Testing that helps evaluate the changes made to the product by comparing it to the existing design.
  • It offers features like Cross Browser testing, Geotargeting, Visitor Segmentation, etc.
  • It is cost-effective as it offers free features, but some features are only available with paid plans.
  • It also offers the feature to instantly edit any visuals, content, or color present in the product.

Conclusion

Usability testing is essential as it provides the opportunity for improvement and enhancement of the product before its release. It helps us to know the user's perspective and views on the design. It also allows us to evaluate and assess what the user wants in a website. These improvements and enhancements can significantly impact the visitors to the website. Hence usability testing plays a critical role in enhancing the product's quality and usability. Therefore it should be made mandatory to perform usability testing before the release of any product to improve user-friendliness as the products we develop are for users.

XenonStack offers Product Design Solutions Right from Concept to Execution, Product Design Service offerings for User Experience and Interaction Design, User Experience Strategy Consulting. User Experience solutions and services

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